Enough Is Enough

I would respectfully like for everyone on Capitol Hill to shut the $%&! up already.

If you’re a regular reader, you know I actually really like politics. That said, this whole debt ceiling debate has driven me to the brink of showing up on the steps of the Capitol and throwing shoes at the doors. Really hard.

Let’s establish something right away: none of you people in Congress have any idea how to fix the economy. You don’t. Nobody does. It’s an indescribably huge and complex beast that nobody can decode. It’s an animal of its own creation, and none of you knows what to do to get it back where you want it. So stop acting like you know, and stop acting like it’s as simple as doing what you want, if only the other side wasn’t so petulant. Just stop it.

Now that that’s out of the way, let me say this to you: you are annoying the crap out of me, and I’m one of the few people who isn’t continually disgusted by everything you do. If you’re losing me, you’re losing everybody. I know you don’t know who I am, but I should matter to you for a few reasons:

  • As previously mentioned, I actually like politics.
  • I’m old enough to know a substantial amount of history and young enough to still have lots of elections left in me.
  • I’m a woman.
  • I’m a registered independent.
  • I’m well-informed.
  • I give a damn.
  • I’ve got chutzpah (pronounced recently by Rep. Michele Bachmann with every bit of the C… oy vey). Which means I am completely capable of calling you on your BS. Not because I’m smarter than other people, but because, as my parents can tell you, I have zero problem speaking truth to power. Zero.

I was away from these shenanigans for ten days – four of them on the Mickey Boat and the rest by self-imposed news exile – and when I came back, I swear to Buddha, not a single thing had changed in this debate. Not a thing.

You’re all a bunch of feckless punks.

Alright, maybe not all of you. Maybe just the ones who keep showing up on television.

My job requires me to be well-informed (except when I’m on vacation). So I’ll grant that I might be more up on what’s been going on than the average American. It’s not that I’m better or smarter; it’s just that I have to be informed. So I realize, Mr. President and Mr. Speaker, that you probably weren’t talking to me when you carved out 30 minutes of time on every network Monday night. But let me talk to you for a minute, ‘kay?

KNOCK IT OFF.

This is crap. You go on television in prime time, which was a time during which people used to have metaphorical or actual coronaries if the president broke in because clearly it meant lives were at stake in some immediate fashion… and you spend that time, essentially, spouting absolutely not one new piece of information. Not. ONE. These prime time, East Room appearances used to be for announcements. Major announcements. Wars. Resignations. Deaths of global significance. That’s what they’re supposed to be for.

Instead, Monday night, you gave the American people, who are already sick of seeing your faces and hearing your voices, what amounts to 30 minutes of campaign ads.

This makes me furious. I’m not kidding; I’m angry, and that rarely happens when it comes to politics. Usually I’m bemused at worst, because I find the machinations so eye-rollingly predictable, and I tend to make a poli-sci wonkish game out of predicting what you’ll do. But frankly, even with my incredibly high level of cynicism, I never thought you people would push it this far.

You’re all idiots, you know that? Are you trying to piss everybody off?

And yes, Mr. President, I’m talking to you right now just as much as I’m talking to anybody on the Republican side that irritates me far more often. Because you took Monday night as an opportunity to condescend to the American people. It was the first time I’ve seen you behave in a manner not above the fray. I have no problem, sir, with you holding meetings with the leadership and trying to get people to do what you want them to do; you’re the president- that’s how it works. I have no problem with you acting like you’re above them, because by virtue of your office, you are, and those who don’t respect it should go home. I respect that your position is always a difficult one, even on the easiest jobs. I understand that you are the leader of your party and sometimes that means you have to poke everybody and get them in line. But do not, sir, talk down to me. The debt ceiling is not that simple. I know it. You know it.

As for you, Mr. Speaker: most of the time I try to give you the benefit of the doubt. Despite the ridiculous rancor that permeates every freaking thing that comes up on the Hill these days, and the fact that I blame the Republicans for about 80% of it, I think you’re probably a good guy and you want to get things done, but you’re held hostage to some degree by some wackaloons who don’t understand how the world works. And I admire that you are respectful enough of them that you don’t call them out. However, I am not seeing much respect from you, in a public forum, for the Office of the President. You don’t have to like the man holding that office right now. But you are not a patriot, sir, if you do not respect the Office, and neither are your colleagues. You come across as arrogant and difficult and immovable, and sir, that will not get you re-elected at this point, and having several members of your party declare that their mission is to make Mr. Obama a one-term president will not get you re-elected, either, because it misses the point and looks to all the world like you’re just schoolyard bullies. And I will tell you right now, Mr. Speaker, that your party is the one that has not given an inch. And the American people do not take kindly to suits who walk out of meetings.

There is a point at which digging in your heels and insisting that you, and you alone, are standing up for what the American people want becomes less heroic and more arbitrarily, unproductively contrarian.

So I would like to propose this to you, sirs:

Stop talking.

Do not go on television or the radio, do not give quotes to newspapers or magazines or blogs, until you get. This. Done.

Stop inflaming the rhetoric and stop, for God’s sake, using the phrase “kicking the can down the road.” I honestly don’t even care if it’s an accurate metaphor at this point – it’s tired. Get over the talking points and get the job done. And listen well to this point: I’m not some cute, quaint girl who acts on emotion and doesn’t know what she’s talking about. I love this country and I respect your offices and the work you do. I do not in any way respect the way you’re doing it.

As for my fellow Americans, I have a few messages for you as well.

You know how we got into this mess? You’re not innocent. Stop believing that you are entitled to more than what you need. That goes for houses, cars, income levels, new-every-two smartphones, material goods, food, fuel, energy, designer coffee and everything else you’re hogging. You’re shameless, greedy gluttons. You always want more, or better, or bigger, and you expect your government to make it easy to get it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting something rewarding or reflective of how hard you’ve worked. That’s the American Dream, and it should stay. But the American Dream that was once about owning one’s own home is now about owning one’s own home that’s at least 50% larger than what one needs, with a three-car garage and at least one luxury SUV, financed 103% and oh, by the way, brand new. So much of what you do now is about status and impressions. Get over yourselves. Your selfishness contributed mightily to this. Maybe somebody sold you a false bill of goods, but baby, you bought it, and it’s time to come to Jesus.

Now. This next message might be difficult to hear, but I’m going to say it because I believe it’s true: You need to get informed and stay that way. I know you’re sick of hearing stuff, but trust me, I’d wager dollars to doughnuts that I hear far more of it than you do, so there’s room for you to max out a little. It’s not that hard.  You have more information at your fingertips than any of your ancestors ever did. You do not get to live your life oblivious to the decisions that are being made and expect there to be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You do not get to use the excuse that you need to focus on your children and don’t have time for the things you deem unessential to your livelihood and theirs. Wake up. Teach your children well by knowing that there are 537 people in Washington, DC (I’m counting the president and vice-president, and not counting the cabinet) who are making decisions that will affect their lives. Taxes, tuition, interest rates, international affairs, education policies. It’s all related. It matters. Get on it.

Next: vote. No excuses. Get informed, and get to the voting booth. Do it. This country asks nothing from you. Pay your taxes and be a decent human being and you get to live here without going to jail. Everything else is up to you. Most of my readers had mothers or grandmothers born in a time when women were not allowed to vote. We all have an immediate connection to a time when African-Americans were not allowed to vote. They had to fight for the right you throw away. We’ve got thousands of kids fighting three conflicts on the other side of the world right now, and exactly what effect has it had on your life? Unless you’re related to one of them: not a single thing. Step up.

Now: when you’re informed, and you vote, do not vote for any person who represents you if he or she has spent any time trying to blame the other side for something he or she should just shut up and fix. The only way politicians learn lessons is through elections. Congressional representatives are elected every two years. Senators every six. (Yes, six.) Presidents every four. They work for you, but if you’re a lazy, bad boss, you can’t expect them to do anything.

It’s everyone’s fault, and it’s everyone’s job. Shut up and get to work.