Donald Trump proved one very important truth with the government shut down. Not only is he out of touch with the common man, but those in his administration are as well.
It was laughable the suggestions government officials had for the furloughed workers they put out of work. Funniest of them all was US Commerce Secretary and multimillionaire Wilbur Ross' statement that he could not understand the hardship of furloughed employees since they could use future pay as collateral for temporary loans. He forgot that the average American is not entitled to a loan just because they asked for it. Some may have poor credit because of exploding healthcare cost among many other legitimate reasons. Then, of course, the government likely would not pick up the service fees for the said loan anyway.
These people hurt many Americans under the pretext of the need for a wall for border security. But the undertone was the continuation of the deconstruction of government. Fox News started promoting the narrative that no one even noticed the government was closed.
The willful ignorance of Republicans may turn out to be a blessing in disguise to remind Americans of the importance of government.
Esquire's Charles S. Pierce got it right in his article "Government Has Been 'the Problem' Since Ronald Reagan. Except, Maybe, Until Now" where he wrote the following.
It was said by more than a few people that the shutdown would prove to be an alpha test for small government. Instead, it became a demonstration that 40 years of that kind of thinking may finally have run out of energy. Without necessarily meaning to do so, those thousands of Americans made the opposite case by standing in all those lines. Without necessarily meaning to do so, those thousands of Americans decided that government was the solution, and not the problem, at least as far as getting from the ticket counter to the jetway.
Pierce then reminds us of the history that go us here. He implies something that I have always said, Trump isn't the problem but a symptom.
I'm stressing the whole air-traffic business because that's where the long slide toward Trumpism began. When Ronald Reagan broke the controllers' union, he signaled that the federal government was a) open for business, and b) on the side of management, and therefore on the side of capital and not labor, and the Republican Party committed itself to that equation as a matter of faith. Simultaneously, it adopted supply-side economics as its only real policy in that area. And that's where it's been since 1981. Until, I suspect, maybe, now.
He then points out the tenuous nature of now; a tipping point?
This particular moment can go either way. It is tenuous and there still are pretty good odds that it may be an evanescent one. It may even be a kind of mirage created by a preposterous president* who seems bound and determined to bring the temple down on his own head. Or he may be the inadvertent catalyst for a renewed faith in our political commonwealth. It's not often in our history that we have had this kind of chance to see what we shouldn't ever be. (The last one may well have been the Confederate States of America.) A teachable moment, as it were.
Will we take this opportunity and run with it or will we squander it as we did after the 2008 Great Recession when we refused to take the opportunity to break the back of unfettered capitalism. Will we take this opportunity where Americans are focused on the need for government to revolutionize our healthcare system with the only logical and mathematical provable answer, Single-Payer Medicare for all? We can't leave it to chance. We must activate and engage.
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