Tag Archives: Congress

While Rome Burns Fiddles are Tuned Up

For the most part I try to steer clear of discussing politics.

It is not that I do not follow the political system. Quite the opposite, I am rather informed and involved in the government process and try to stay on top of current events as much as possible.

I am also a big history buff and believe that one must learn from history in order to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.

The government is a lot like a puzzle. It takes a lot of pieces going together to work but it only takes a single piece to be missing to make the whole thing fall apart. Photo R. Anderson

The government is a lot like a puzzle. It takes a lot of pieces going together to work but it only takes a single piece to be missing to make the whole thing fall apart.
Photo R. Anderson

The reason for steering clear of political writing is simple. Were I to write about conservative topics that appeal to the right side, I am leaving out the left side. In the same manner if I write about liberal  ideals that cater to the left side of the spectrum then I am alienating the right.

And since Triple B is for people of all political factions I do not take sides.

Unfortunately recent events have made me feel the need to break the rules and write about some politics.

As I am sure most people are aware the United States government has been in a partial shutdown since October 1. The shutdown is the result of the failure of the Congress of the United States to approve a budget before the start of the fiscal year.

Now, I am not here to point fingers or place blame on either side since both sides share the blame equally. What I am hear to question is how a country like the United States can fail to pass a budget when one of the biggest jobs of Congress each year is to do just that.

Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center is one of the many government facilities being impacted by the partial government shutdown. Photo R. Anderson

Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center is one of the many government facilities being impacted by the partial government shutdown.
Photo R. Anderson

But for the first time since the Clinton administration the government is in a partial shutdown where only critical functions of the government such as the Military and the Postal Service are open while the rest of the federal assets including National Parks and NASA are idled.

While negotiations continue to stall and reflect a governing body that is firmly entrenched along party lines around 800,000 Americans who work for the federal government are home without pay.

Now, the lawmakers in Washington will be quick to point out that once a budget is passed the furloughed workers will receive all of the back pay that they are due.

Of course, no one knows when that will be and in the meantime bills continue to pile up for the federal workers.  The last government shutdown lasted a little under a month.

It should be noted that the leaders in Congress responsible for the shutdown continue to receive their salaries.

So in the midst of the finger pointing and back and forth discussions and blame gaming one would think that the President of the United States would be solely focused on finding a resolution to the stalemate that allowed those aforementioned 800,000 workers to return to their jobs and start earning money to pay those bills.

While I want to believe that Congress really is trying to find a solution that allows your furloughed friends, family members and neighbors to return to work, recent events have me a little concerned as to whether the President is focused on the true priorities during these tense political times.

I am of course talking about the President’s remarks about the Washington Redskins.

As I have written about before there is a small but vocal minority of people who have made it their mission to change the name of the Washington Redskins claiming that it is an offensive term to Native Americans.

The fottball team that plays in Washington D.C. has been called the Redskins for around 80 years. The President of the United States recently joined a small minority of voices calling for that to change. Photo R. Andrson

The football team that plays in Washington D.C. has been called the Redskins for around 80 years. The President of the United States recently joined a small minority of voices calling for that to change.
Photo R. Anderson

Only one percent of Native Americans surveyed find the term offensive. In fact, there are teams on Native American reservations that use the term Redskins for their mascot.

For their part the Washington Redskins have stated time and time again that they have no plans to change the name that the franchise has had for 80 years.

So by now you are asking yourself why I am bringing this up in the middle of a column about the partial government shutdown?

It is being brought up because in the middle of the partial government shutdown where those 800,000 federal workers are home with no income while Congress plays the classic finger pointing heels dug in the sand game, the President of the United States found time to weigh in on the issue of the Washington Redskins name.

That’s right, instead of focusing on the big picture and solving the debt crisis the President is quoted as saying words to the effect of the Redskins need to change their name.

Now, I am sure that the President is able to multitask and am confident that he is focused on trying to end the stalemate and not just focused on things like the names of NFL teams which fall well outside the job description of Commander in Chief.

After all, the President was elected to lead the country regardless of party affiliation. We are all Americans and with 800,000 of those Americans being held out of work as bargaining chips it is time for Congress to act in the best interest of the country and do the job they were elected to perform.

Despite the questionable timing of appearing to care more about a team’s name than fixing a budgetary impasse I want to believe that the President and other elected officials are trying to find a compromise and let the political process work and not hold on to flawed ideals that there is no room for compromise.

And while the Washington Redskins may be the home team that serves the Nation’s Capitol worrying about their name during a government shutdown is a little like playing the fiddle while Rome burns.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a model of the White House to assemble.

Copyright 2013 R. Anderson