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Fwd: Extremism in Defiance of Democracy is Unacceptable: A "rant" from the VUU Legislative Watch

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  • Leila Pine
    Please forgive me for forwarding this from a contact in Phoenix, but it s so well-written and it relates to so many low-income workers, Latinos and people of
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2013
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    Please forgive me for forwarding this from a contact in Phoenix, but it's so well-written and it relates to so many low-income workers, Latinos and people of color, who will be most victimized by the shut-down of the federal government. 


    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Anne Schneider <Anne.Schneider@...>
    Date: Tue, Oct 1, 2013 at 8:38 PM
    Subject: Extremism in Defiance of Democracy is Unacceptable: A "rant" from the VUU Legislative Watch
    To: Anne Schneider <annes@...>
    Cc: "LLEOKC@..." <LLEOKC@...>, "lindalarason@..." <lindalarason@...>, Tim Larason <tim@...>, Mary Edmondson home <maryedmondson@...>, Amber Niblett <niblett@...>, Tim Schmaltz <tschmaltzhome@...>, "paul.gpnp@..." <paul.gpnp@...>, Marilou Coy <lulucoy@...>

    If you would like to be taken off this e mail list, please contact me:  anne.schneider1941@...


    Extremism in Defiance of Democracy is Unacceptable

    MC900389220[1]By Anne L. Schneider, PhD

    October 1, 2013


    A special report from the Legislative Watch project of the Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation.  Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not reflect official positions of any organization. 

    Contact:  anne.schneider1941@... to be added or taken off this e mail list.


                I first drafted a thoughtful, calm, “look at all sides of the issues” for this brief report, but hated it.  So I put that aside, and here is my rant!

                The partial shutdown of the federal government may last a day or so or it may last a month or so but we can be sure that its impact will be felt first and most dramatically on ordinary people, especially the most vulnerable among us.  And we can expect that the impacts will spread upward through the income ranks and outward to services such as air traffic control that more advantaged people use the most.  Finally, when enough people are impacted, will Congressional tea-party Republicans be told “NO”  or will the Democrats and President Obama decide to “save the nation” by reaching one more bad compromise?   It is time to say “NO” to extreme ideologues.  




                Extremist ideologies  can ruin a democracy because extremist ideologues violate the principles of democracy:

                The House and Senate are supposed to agree to a budget, and if they don’t have time yet, they are expected to pass a continuing resolution to permit the government to fulfill its responsibilities.  Instead, tea-party Republicans are blackmailing Congress by trying to repeal a law that has already passed.

                Imagine if the shoe were on the other foot, and if we had a Republican President and a Republican-controlled Senate, and a small faction of extreme leftist Democrats in the House insisted on defunding the INS budget and closing all the immigration detention centers in exchange for agreeing to even a continuing resolution?  Or insisted on closing Guantanamo before they will agree to a budget?  Or insisted on repealing the “defense of marriage act” or the restrictions on stem cell research?  And what if more moderate  Democrats who could join with Republicans to reject these extremists simply refused to do so?

                The moderate Republicans could fix this problem in an eye-blink.  In Arizona, we know how this is done.  House Republicans could tell the current Republican leaders in Congress to step aside and let moderates present the “clean” continuing resolution for a vote and it would pass with all Democratic votes and 100 or so Republican votes.  Or, if the current Republican leaders refuse, they could recall them from their positions and joining with Democrats, they could elect moderate Republicans to the leadership positions who would play by the rules. 

                And President Obama – instead of thoughtfully and gently trying to minimize the harm done to the country by the shutdown – he could choose cuts that are not so invisible (which is consistent with his kind and thoughtful personality).  Instead, he could close almost everything, cut off Congressional salaries and benefits, direct closures specifically at districts where he needs votes to get a budget passed, recall all foreign-based soldiers. 

                What might this accomplish?  It would demonstrate to all voters and political leaders, that extremism in defiance of Democratic principles is unacceptable. 

                What democratic principles am I talking about?

    ·         These are budget negotiations (or debt ceiling negotiations a few weeks from now); and it is blackmail for tea party Republicans to try to get their way on issues where they have already lost through a legitimate democratic process. The Affordable Care Act is a law that has been passed, signed, and upheld by the Supreme Court. The House Republicans have voted more than 40 times to repeal it and by the democratic processes we have in place, the Senate has not passed that bill and the President has not signed it.  The tea party group has lost.  They have to wait until after another election to try again.  For now, they are truly being “spoiled brats.”  Worse, they are holding their own leaders hostage. 

    ·        It is time to “just say no” to unacceptable political behavior.


    In Arizona

    ·         Signups for the Affordable Care Act opened as expected and anyone who is eligible (and that is a lot of people) can check it out here:  https://www.healthcare.gov/

    ·         Many departments receive federal funds and will be impacted eventually.  Department of Economic Security, for example, receives 80% of its funds from the federal government programs.  These impacts will be slower, however, because the government may already have provided the money for the first quarter of the year.

    ·         TANF payments (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) will not have funding after Oct. 3.  TANF covers 16,300 AZ families @ $207 per month (Arizona Republic).

    ·         Social services block grants will be delayed starting Oct. 1, according to the Arizona Republic.  These provide services to elderly, domestic violence shelters, homeless housing, etc.

    ·         National Parks and Campgrounds in BLM and National  Forests will be closed.

    ·         Furloughs for many federal employees who live in AZ will   take place now and increase as the shutdown continues.

    ·         Social security, Medicare, and Medicaid are reported not to be impacted because these funds are in separate earmarked accounts, as are the funds for the Post Office.


    Democracy is a fragile system, and extreme ideologues who have no respect for the principles of democratic governance are a serious threat. 

                Extremism in defiance of democratic principles is unacceptable.


    Yours in kindness, civility, and (yes) democracy


    Anne Larason Schneider

    Political Science Professor (retired) and Dean Emerita at Arizona State University


    Never do something routine of you can do something truly special”




    “The world in which you were born is just one model of reality.  Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you; they are unique manifestations of the human spirit.”

    --Wade Davis, anthropologist and ethnobotanist

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