Fast Focus: 'Who do you blame for the recent government shutdown?' We did this to ourselves

October 27, 2013 

After much thought, I believe that the blame for the recent government shutdown rests squarely with "We, the People."

Americans are sick and tired of government paralysis. Every poll taken shows this conclusively. But, we also do not like change. This country was founded on a system that would make radical change very difficult to accomplish. Except for unique moments in our history, we have managed change in a slow and steady manner. Even our current paralysis has come upon us relatively slowly, for the seeds were planted decades ago.

A group of Republican conservatives, frustrated by their seeming ineffectiveness at the national level, began to assert themselves ever more vociferously back in the 80s and 90s. They did this on both the national and local levels. At first, it seemed nothing unusual. Washington, D.C., does not move quickly. But momentum was gathering. Speaker Gingrich arose in the House. Redistricting, that time-honored method for both parties to keep themselves safe, continued to accelerate the electorate into polarized camps. (Did we hear any grumbling about that, other than from the side taking short shrift? I think not!)

The politics of "righteousness," whether holy or secular, were taking hold. Yes, throughout our history, we have had those claiming right through God, or equality, or whatever. But never before have we had a system where the majority of one party in Congress consistently fears to vote their conscience -- or the good of the country -- for fear of what their districts will do to them later, despite having averted government default and gridlock.

So, are the politicians to blame? Or are we? The collective, We, the People. After all, we are right, aren't we? At least I am right. And you are right. And you, and you, and...

-- STEPHEN GARINGER, Kennewick

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