Let me preface this diary by saying what this diary isn't. This is not GBFW. This is not TTFN. I am not packing my bags for Canada even though they have many of the things that I as an American have been fighting for over the past decade. I'm not going to be a doomsday prepper. I don't want to be involved in a pie fight though if someone wants to send me a Boston Creme pie, I'm not going to complain. They say a journey starts with a single step and I've tried hard along this journey to make this country better, step by step. But what I saw happen in Congress today has made me so sad, so disheartened, it's made me think about my efforts for change. It's more than about policy, it's about the human condition. Let me explain below the orange squiggle...
I've been following all the debate about the fiscal cliff, slope, bunny hill, etc. Last night, the deal got done for better or for worse. Since I'm a Kossack, there's little doubt where I stand on it. Protect social security, Medicare, Medicaid, make the wealthy pay more including myself, and so on. There were some wins, some losses. It's what happened next which made me reconsider who I am as an American.
Sir John Boehner (Of Orange) promised members of Congress from the ravaged states from Superstorm Sandy along with the state's governors that he would bring up a storm relief bill to the floor. After the cliff vote was passed, Beohner sent congress home.
The response was anything but partisan. By now you've probably heard many of the responses from Democrats and Republicans alike. Just a few samples:
Governor Chris Christie (R-New Jersey), "There is only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims: the House majority and their speaker, John Boehner," he said. "This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. Natural disasters happen in red states and blue states and states with Democratic governors and Republican governors. We respond to innocent victims of natural disasters, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans. Or at least we did until last night. Last night, politics was placed before oaths to serve our citizens. For me, it was disappointing and disgusting to watch."
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), “I am angry because we were this close to getting this done. And the rug was pulled out from under us by the leadership in the House. The bottom line is very simple. Now we’re gonna have to start all over.”
Peter King (R-N.Y.) "I'm saying right now, anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to congressional Republicans is out of their minds," he said.
Michael Grimm (R-NY), "“I feel it’s a betrayal and an indefensible, an indefensible error in judgment on the Speaker’s behalf".
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), "Shame on Speaker Boehner for choosing not to act on Sandy relief for the Northeast. This is a betrayal of the millions of Americans who are struggling after Sandy and a trivialization of the loss of more than 100 American lives. Not taking up the $60 billion Sandy funding bill will mean that many Americans could remain homeless, the rebuilding of homes and businesses across the Northeast will be delayed, and the coastal infrastructure of the region will remain damaged and vulnerable to the next storm... I am appalled - and mystified - by a total collapse of leadership on the part of Speaker Boehner."
And it goes on and on.
We were not always this way. Congress found over $60B relief for victims of Katrina in just 10 days. They also found relief for victims for Hurricane Ike in less than two weeks. It's been over 60 days since Sandy came through killing over 200 people, leaving thousands homeless, our infrastructure a wreck, small business devastated, and people who we as a nation elected for better or worse still can't get their acts together to pass a relief package for one of the worst disasters in our nation's history. It's easy to put all the blame on the Speaker. He's got the gavel. He can decide what should come to the floor. Or one can say that's it's punishing those darn northeast libruls for voting fer that socialist fascist Indonesian Kenyan. (Yes, that's snark so save the pies).
I might be able to swallow any of that. We're a deeply polarized nation and there's little sign things will get better anytime soon though I wish that wasn't so. But what I absolutely cannot understand is how anyone can justify the suffering that so many in the Northeast must continue to endure. What kind of sick government do we have to let this go on? Even if you're a redder than red Norquist conservative, surely they must realize that people who can't even find a place to live has a devastating impact on our economy. If you're an evangelical religious person, do you have any feelings about the poor and hungry not getting any help from your own nation? What the heck is going on here?
I guess I can't pack things up and runaway. In fact I know I should be proud for the opportunity and grateful to live in America. But when I see what people who we as a nation elect to support who we are not just as a nation but as a civilization, all I can feel is shame. If we can't unite as people, Democrats and Republicans, Northerners and Southerners, blacks, whites, Asians, Latinos, liberals and conservatives, to look at each other and say to help others is to help ourselves, it's disheartening. It's more than embarrassing. It's shameful. And again, I'm not saying a pox on everyone in government. Clearly there are people in both parties who give a damn. But until there's more in the higher-ups that do, I don't think my expectations have ever been lower.
So it's not TTFN or GBCW. It's an exhausted WTF.