I was still living in the National Capital Region when the government last shut down 17 years ago during one of these politically-driven “budget crises” but was not in Washington when it happened. I was in Manilla in The Philippines and read about the shutdown in the local papers.
A meeting scheduled at the time at the Amercian Embassy was cancelled.
“The embassy is closed,” the caller said when she left a message at my hotel.
Pundits in the Manilla Bulletin made fun of the American government, comparing it a third-world country where insurgents had overturned normalcy and rationality. While on assignment there I interviewed a warlord from Mindanao Island who compared the actions of the Republican Party to shut down the government to terrorism.
“It is obvious their goal is to overturn the government of America,” he said.
I laughed at the time but now, after watching the recent posturing in Washington by the same party, I now wonder if he may have been right.
When outright hatred of a President or one of his laws — which was passed by Congress — drives the agenda of the party controlling the House of Representatives and that hatred is used to shut down the government, one has to wonder if those supporting the actions are putting their own selfish interests above what is best for a nation.
While there are legitimate questions that can — and should — be asked about the questionable health care “reform” law that went into effect today, those issues should be raised as part of the normal legislative process and not used as a means to shut down the government or threaten the shaky economy.
I spent six of my 23 years in Washington working on Capitol Hill as a Congressional staff member to three Congressmen — all Republicans — in positions ranging from press secretary to chief of staff and learned the hard way that too many political agendas are driven not by service to the nation but by lust for power and personal greed. This latest action smacks of political terrorism that has nothing to do with love of country.