We the People: Ship of fools

We are blessed to live in the world’s greatest democracy but our ship of state is off course and in danger of becoming a societal Costa Concordia. The pilot and the crew deserve censure but the passengers deserve the greatest share of blame for the present state of affairs.

Our representatives fail us because we fail ourselves as citizens. Special interest groups and wealthy parties exert a disproportionate and undemocratic influence in America. They do so because the people allow it to happen.

Gun manufacturers can prevent popular gun law reform by paying for ads and giving money to politicians. Don’t expect politicians to be real leaders when we can’t call, write or text them about our opinions. We must call, write and text them just like the film “Network” — “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.”

A cabal of Republican congressmembers holds the nation hostage in order to amuse the Koch Brothers and the Tea Party! John Boehner, the Republican House speaker, told the nation that he and the president had “a nice polite conversation” about the national government shutdown. He must explain why it is right that his party, including Michael Grimm, has shut down our government.

The refusal to fund legislation passed by the full Congress and signed into law by the president is anti-democratic. The Republican minority must believe that a law passed by Congress and signed by the president may be vetoed by any small group of lawmakers who lost the debate over the law.

They have put a torch to the ship of state because they failed to win the support of the majority. This is extortion and the American people are doing nothing about it.

An assembly that takes collective action, like Congress, must abide by the rules of debate or it will accomplish nothing. When members of a deliberative assembly have a difference of opinion, eventually one side of the debate must yield to the other side.

It is democratic tradition for the minority side to yield to the majority side. After a full, free debate of both sides of an argument, the minority that fails to win over the majority of the body must yield and recognize the action adopted by the assembly. Republicans who disagree with the Affordable Healthcare Act can work on its repeal but they should be gracefully implementing it instead of causing a government shutdown.

Reasonable people strike a balance between taking a stand on a principle and taking a stand on a landmine. Americans must become better informed and active in the political process or politicians will continue to act on the command of special interest groups instead of in the interest of the American people.

Ignorance and apathy empower politicians to do as they please. The responsibility to make politicians act responsibly rests with the American people. Call John Boehner (202-225-6205), Michael Grimm (718-630-5277) and Peter King (202-225-7896) and tell them to stop blackmailing America.

The shutdown of government harms our reputation, economy, national security and the lives of countess American workers. Rest assured, Al Qaeda has not suspended operations in sympathy with the Republican shutdown.

The Ted Cruz gang should take a cue from the Washington D.C. Capitol Police who responded, although unpaid due to the shutdown, to a madwoman who drove a car into a White House barricade. They placed duty over self-interest, unlike the legislators they serve and protect.

Meanwhile, a 21-year-old shooter, arrested 13 times, killed a young mother while firing his illegal gun at another thug in Fort Greene. I’m sure the NRA will place the blame for the tragic death on poor marksmanship caused by his unconstitutional lack of opportunity for target practice. If they pay enough lobbyists, Congress will appropriate money for shooter education. It is time to set sail in a different direction.

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