THE BLOG
10/06/2013 06:24 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Republican Shutdown: Believing Your Own Propaganda

House Republicans shut down the federal government in a last-ditch effort to deny health care insurance to millions of Americans. Defunding Obamacare was the only reason -- not the deficit, not government spending -- only denying healthcare insurance to millions. The blow back from the people was immediate and intense. Thus began House Republicans' obscene dance to blame everyone else.

As usual, veterans were the first partners Republicans pulled onto the dance floor. How did Republicans come to this absurd position of claiming their shutdown was defending veterans? A cadre of extremist Republicans actually believed their own propaganda that no one needed the federal government. The reliably absurd rightwing media chimed in to feed this conservative delusion with claims of 'slimming' and jokes implying nothing of importance was affected.

In fairness, Republicans and conservatives in Congress successfully extorted President Obama and congressional Democrats in the past. Republicans appear to be in shock that President Obama is not again making a deal. However, shutting down the government only to deny health care to millions of Americans offended most citizens. Now, Republicans are attempting to deny why they closed the government.

Keeping the government closed, Republicans dragged out funding bills to support veterans; when that only served to incite citizens over cancer research and then reserve forces pay, the end result brought Republicans right back to their original position of shutting the government down only to deny millions healthcare insurance. By rolling out their well-worn words praising veterans, House Republicans reminded me of the role veterans play in government at all levels and why.

Sebastian Junger needs no recommendation. His accomplishments as a writer and war reporter are legendary. What military, veterans and their families need to know is that Mr. Junger is an outstanding speaker who doesn't hesitate to tell 'how it really is' in an emotional and entertaining way. If you have any opportunity to hear him, do not miss it.

Mr. Junger views the intensity of mission as both the strength and weakness of young men and soldiers. His words reminded me that many veterans and their families chose continued lives of service. The military family knows the randomness of life. They know even more the value of service to others and improving that life while we have it. Many men and women departing the military return to continued service. Often, veterans find positions in the emergency response fields; many enter professions as varied as medicine, science and education. Their motivation is service to others. A mission and effort toward a worthy goal motivates the majority of veterans.

By closing the government, Republicans made good their continuing denigration of government workers and their service. Consider examples like Texan Congressman Randy Neugebauer bullying a female Park Service Ranger and Fox Business' Stuart Varney's comments concerning government employees as reported by Craig Harrington in a Media Matters blog

"...No, I don't think they should get their back pay, frankly, I really don't. I'm sick and tired of a massive, bloated federal bureaucracy living on our backs, and taking money out of us, a lot more money than most of us earn in the private sector, then getting a furlough, and then getting their money back at the end of it. Sorry, I'm not for that. I want to punish these people. Sorry to say that, but that's what I want to do."

Contrast the attitudes above with those of the military. Military culture, continued well into civilian life by veterans and their families, is much different. We know service and cooperation builds better personal lives and better societies. A lesson in real 'military values' and an example that this government shutdown is not slimming but rather hurting those who serve is told by Gabriel Russell

"...By Monday the shutdown will have cost me enough from a plane ticket change fee and a lost weekend of National Guard wages that it will sting. But I won't miss a meal, or even skimp. I won't miss a mortgage payment. I won't fear for my phone or electricity being shut off. I have friends that may. I'm grateful for all that America has given me. I'm glad my wife has a good-paying job.

Not everyone is so lucky. We have young National Guard soldiers here in Washington State that rely on their drill pay for food and lodging and on military tuition assistance to pay for college. They won't be getting either due to the shutdown. Each of them volunteered to serve in their nation's military during time of war, uncertain of the cost. ..."

Follow the link; read Mr. Russell's entire blog. It is well worth it.

House Republicans should immediately vote a clean continuing resolution and raise the debt ceiling. Then Congress must get on with addressing the country's real needs which are far more than Obamacare.

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