The government shutdown has proved Alexis de Tocqueville wrong: the worst part about America isn’t the potential for a tyranny of the majority, it’s that a vocal minority could take over and steer the rest of us into a black hole.
And now that we’re in day 9 of this toboggan race to nowhere, and the cost of the government shutdown to taxpayers has reached $2.5 billion, at a rate of almost $4,000 a second, there are 32 so-called conservatives who are standing in the way of sanity.
A majority of us are reasonable people that want the federal government re-opened and elected officials to act like adults. But this majority is being held hostage by the 1 in 5 Americans who are so rabidly, vehemently anti-Obama and the Affordable Care Act that they put a greater priority on destroying the new health care system than ensuring, literally, that some patients get cancer treatment, trash is picked up, food gets inspected, and counter terrorism efforts are in full operation, to name a few things the federal government does.
The fear and anger of these Americans is matched only by their borderline-crazy representatives in Congress. There are 435 House districts in the nation and about 32 of those are represented by hardliners who don’t want to fund the government unless the president is willing to gut parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) -- which, by the way, was a piece of legislation that passed Congress, we voted on again in 2012, and was upheld to be constitutional by the conservative, George W. Bush-nominated Chief Justice John Roberts.
These 32 members are the core group that stands in the way of our government functioning. Speaker John Boehner won’t allow a vote on a clean spending bill (that wouldn’t take down parts of the ACA) unless a majority of Republicans publicly support it. The 32 members who refuse to pass such a bill are pressuring other Republicans to do the same, using the small but active Tea Party base as their cudgel. Their threats against mainstream Republicans, and Boehner’s speakership, are by extension threats against the rest of the country.
It’s time to hit them with the power of the majority. It’s time we showed them what reasonable, pissed off Americans sound like. It’s past time the 32 need come back to the table, pass a clean spending bill that pays for the debts Congress has already incurred, and then negotiate as aggressively as they may. It’s time they #stopthemadness and get back to work. It’s time these 32 had their Road to Damascus moment, especially the ones that are still getting paid.
Every day until this madness stops, I’m going to be calling the D.C. office of each of these representatives, demanding that they put the interests of our country first and “pass a clean bill.” I’m going to bombard them on Twitter with this message: “#DearCongress, it’s time to pass a clean spending bill and #endtheshutdown @[insertrepresentative].” Check the chart below for each of the 32 representatives, their phone number, and their Twitter handles, because enough is enough.