All hail Presidents Day, known for automobile sales and bearable traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway. It’s not really a day for thinking about politics. Yet here’s what I was mulling over on Monday on my day off from work:
Imagine that every day, when you went to your job, you spent the entire time thwarting everything your co-workers and your boss did. Imagine that you took every opportunity possible to undermine them: You badmouthed them to the media, you interfered with their projects, you didn’t show up for meetings, you even stole their lunches out of the office fridge. Imagine that when they came to you for help, you shouted at them and called them names. Imagine that when they came up with new ideas, you shot those ideas down, said, “What, are you crazy? That will never work.” When they issued press releases about the great things your company was doing, you issued press releases that said your company was doing crappy.
How long do you think you’d last, working for that company and that boss?
You would have to be an idiot to be so dismissive of the company that’s paying your salary, so counterproductive when it comes to new ideas and innovations, so downright ornery in the workplace. And yet that’s exactly how Republicans are behaving in President Obama’s second term.
Consider John Boehner, who sat stone-faced during the State of the Union address a week ago when the President honored a 102-year-old black woman who’d stood in line for hours to exercise her right to vote. Because, you know, what Americans could possibly be in favor of the right to cast one’s vote in a timely, unimpeded way?
And then there’s gun control. Americans think it’s more important to control gun ownership than to protect the right to own guns. And they favor banning semiautomatic weapons and requiring background checks for all gun purchases. Yet even an assault-weapons ban has little to no Republican support. Boehner and just about all of his party faithful are content to stall while American citizens die.
Abortion. What can I say about abortion that hasn’t been said? Less than a third of Americans believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned. Only 18 percent believe abortions should never be legal. Sixty-one percent say abortions should be legal through the first trimester of pregnancy. And 40 percent of American women have had an abortion.
So I challenge you again: Imagine what would happen if you went to work every day determined to thwart the will of your employer. The American people employ our politicians in Congress. They work for us. And every day—well, on the few days when they’re actually in session; they’re scheduled to have 239 days off this year—Republicans are refusing even to vote on vital legislation that the American people have said, loudly and often, they want. Now they’re stonewalling again, having voted to go home for nine days on Friday rather than take serious steps to avoid a sequestration that nobody favors. Can you imagine what this country would look like if the rest of us behaved this way?
UPDATED: This post was edited to remove a reference to an AP story about Rand Paul that has since been retracted.