The Mitterhoff Address: #GOPShutdown

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Matthew Mitterhoff

Every other week, Matt Mitterhoff ‘16 will give his take on political issues facing the country.

Over the past two days, the federal government began procedures to shut down its operations, due to Congress’ inability to pass an appropriations bill to fund the government for the coming fiscal year, or at least for part of it. Specifically, the shutdown is due to conservative distaste for the Affordable Care Act, which went into effect yesterday. Republican representatives and senators refuse to agree with the Democrats on a continuing resolution that does not contain provisions to defund Obamacare or delay its mandates.

I’m not usually one to say this, because I think that when people say it they’re expressing misunderstood anger at the way that politics in this country works. But, in this case, its applicable, so here goes.

To Congress, and specifically the Republican Party: Do your damn job.

Let’s have a quick civics lesson, aimed at those currently serving in Congress. This country was built on the principles of majority rule and minority rights, meaning that the majority of representation in this country has the right to pass the legislation they wish as long as they don’t infringe on the rights of the minority. In 2010, the majority passed Obamacare, pushing it into law when President Obama signed it. The minority’s rights, in my opinion, are not being infringed on. The minority, and even the majority, are benefitting from Obamacare, giving them the healthcare they rightly deserve.

The majority wanted Obamacare to pass almost three years ago, and it does not discriminate towards those in the minority. Republicans need to get over it.

As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) so rightly pointed out in a letter sent to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) today, when he disagreed on the subject of the Iraq War he did not stagnate the government until he got what he wanted.

“I could have taken the steps that you are taking now to block Government funding in order to gain leverage to end the war,” Reid wrote. “I faced a lot of pressure from my own base to take that action. But I did not do that. I felt that it would have been devastating to America. Therefore, the Government was funded.”

I’m sure Boehner has the reasonability to see Reid’s point.

This isn’t the only issue facing party politics and the nation as a whole. Internally, the Republican Party is having its own ideological conflict. They are trying to figure out whether they want to be a radical party, one that holds that government at a standstill when it does not get its way, or a moderate one, one that can compromise with an opposing political party that is backed by many voters in this country.

By the end of this shutdown, that decision must be made, or else the future of the Republican Party looks bleak. Hopefully, there won’t be a repeat of the last few gridlocked years facing the two houses of Congress, and there won’t be a repeating shutdown under these same circumstances.

Without a minority following in rapidly growing urban areas and with a lot of their current serving members kicking the bucket soon, Republicans need to figure out what the future holds for them or they’re bound to fall apart.