Gang warfare in Congress
Throughout the nation’s history, gangs fighting over territory, income sources, pride, or whatever, have unleashed blood and fear on an innocent public.
From the St. Valentine’s Massacre of the early 20th century, to the Bloods and Crips conflicts of out West, to the motorcycle clubs who war against each other, innocent people are often caught in the crossfire and pay the price for the gangs’ activities.
In places where such mayhem occurs, decent people wring their hands and wonder why somebody doesn’t do something.
And now the current gang warfare featuring the Democrats and the Republicans threatens to topple the economy, humiliate the nation, and cause grief and suffering to innocent bystanders.
The current topic at the heart of the mess in Washington is defunding Obamacare, which is not going to happen anytime soon, while, on the near horizon, a proposal to increase the debt ceiling fuels the fires.
As of a few days ago, no one is talking, no one is negotiating, no one wants to be the first to show weakness and blink. The goal here seems to be to win over the opposition and the public be damned.
The situation is so absurd that China is publicly lecturing the United States government. China — that bastion of freedom that killed as many as 50 million of its own citizens — dares to wade into the fray and attempt to seize some sort of moral high ground.
Currently, the U.S.A. owes China some $1.3 trillion while it is reported that China holds some three times that amount in dollars. China, of all nations, is trying to raise a rational voice that it hopes will be heard. China doesn’t want to lose as a result of the fighting in Washington.
The citizens of the United States, who are the folks who actually pay for everything and anything “government,” are also paying a price in this gang warfare. Because the two gangs are protecting their own interests and territory, the government is shut down.
Well, not all of the government is shut down. The IRS website is open and accessible. The congressional gym is open. The people paid to fawn over the president, senators, and congressmen still, presumably, have their jobs. The White House chef is collecting a paycheck. Camp David is still open. The presidential golf course is open. One assumes that the members of the two gangs are still being paid. But some people are being caught in the crossfire.
A number of federal agents are not receiving a paycheck but are still on the job. They have been told they will eventually be paid but promises of future payment does not put food on the table, pay the mortgage, or provide gas to get the kids to school.
Other citizens, who are paid by the government but are not officially federal employees, are out of work, not being paid, and have no promises of receiving back pay.
While the nation may not be aware that NASA TV is off the air, those employees, too, have to wonder how their bills will be paid. The families of soldiers killed in combat are not receiving death benefits.
Some people don’t care. They have theirs, they aren’t worried about the future, and they feel no sympathy for those who are caught in the crossfire. But they should.
Certainly the gang members don’t seem to care and this lack of caring reaches all the way to the White House. A senior administration official said, “We are winning ... It doesn’t really matter to us how long the shutdown lasts because what matters is the end result.”
Spoken like a true thug.
A growing number of Americans are getting sick and tired of both gangs. The president, who is supposed to be the president of all Americans, is only contributing to the problem.
Somewhere, perhaps, there are some saner, cooler, thoughtful heads in both gangs that can come together and try to plan to end the warfare and bring the current foolishness to a close. It’s not about winning ... it’s about serving the people and finding solutions to problems.
[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Sharpsburg, GA (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese which consists of Georgia and Tennessee (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and the Associate Endorser for the Department of the Armed Forces, U. S. Military Chaplains, ICCEC. He may contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]