Obstruction Junction- What’s Your Function?
As a grammar teacher, I love showing my classes those old school Schoolhouse Rock videos that informed much of our knowledge in between Scooby Doo cartoons in the 1970’s. In fact, if it weren’t for Schoolhouse Rock, I’m pretty sure I, and many of my late 40’s/early 50’s brethren, wouldn’t know much of anything. Those cheaply-animated ditties taught us all the subjects we blithely ignored during actual school hours- everything from parts of speech to U.S. History to environmental science (Yes, that was actually a thing in the 1970’s when we still indiscriminately chucked McDonald’s wrappers out our car windows). Among all those classics, two have stood the test of time and are perennial favorites to this day. The first, of course, was the song “Conjunction Junction”, which taught us all the lesson of how to use conjunctions, though none of us seem to have digested the actual knowledge involved as much as that catchy lyric, “Conjunction junction- what’s your function?” Meanwhile, there was also the short entitled, “I’m Just a Bill”, which was supposed to teach young American children how a bill becomes a law. Unfortunately, with Republicans taking control of the House in January, that lesson is beginning to seem like a delusional fantasy from a long bygone era of when government actually used to do some shit.
I am old enough to remember when the Republican Party actually used to stand FOR something. Granted it was lowering taxes for the wealthy and crapping on the personal freedoms of anyone who didn’t look or act like them, but hey, at least these were values they championed. These days the Republican Party is defined not by what they stand FOR, but what they rally AGAINST, which is pretty much everything. This Republican Party has no desire to govern; they are simply intent on obstruction politics, and that, my friends is where the trouble all begins.
Not sure you get where I am coming from on this one? Well, let’s just take a look at how this new Republican majority in the House started this legislative session, shall we? These pig-headed buffoons couldn’t even come to a consensus amongst themselves in regards to who they wanted to represent them as the Speaker of the House. It took fifteen votes over the course of several grueling days just for them to elect Kevin McCarthy as the next Speaker, and even then with a slew of caveats so encroaching that they left McCarthy more subjugated and marginalized than a Victorian-era housewife. And just what were these Republican hold-outs trying to achieve? While you might have heard them throwing down aspersions of McCarthy conservatism (code word for not kissing Trump’s giant ass enough), when many of them refused to capitulate even when called on to do so by Trump himself, it became clear that what these conniving dirt bags were really angling at was prime assignments on choice committees. That’s right- these assholes held the American government hostage ad nauseam all for their own personal betterment. Marjorie Taylor Greene, for example, was given a seat on Homeland Security? Are you fucking kidding me? The same Marjorie Taylor Greene who thought that California wildfires were being caused by Jewish space lasers now has a hand in determining our nation’s international terrorism protocol? That’s like hiring Deputy Dawg to be your Chief Security Officer.
And just what did McCarthy say upon finally overcoming these half-hearted obstructions to his candidacy? “It’s time for us to be a check and provide some balance to the president’s policies.” Not a damn word about positive changes Republicans wanted to initiate, agendas they wanted to promote, or legislation they wanted to sponsor. No, the only intention McCarthy could muster was to serve as a roadblock to the policy initiatives of Biden and the Democrats. Love them or hate them, at least Biden has been putting forward bold policy initiatives aimed at bettering the lives of the American people. Republicans have no idea what they stand for. They just know they need to stop that.
But don’t be fooled into thinking that Republicans’ seeming political atheism is merely benign posturing. The notion of conservatism, by its very definition, lies in keeping things exactly the way they already are. After all, those who are already profiting from the system as it currently exists, do not want anything to upset the apple cart of their personal well-being. Manipulating the injustices and bureaucracy of a game rigged in their favor, they don’t want to allow for reforms that might right the imbalances that afford them their privilege. When McCarthy suggests he wants to serve as a “balance” to the president’s policies, what he really means is that he wants to serve as an obstruction to the passage of the economic and social reforms Democrats have tried to sponsor that would equal the playing field for all.
Sowing chaos and division, perpetuating the ineffective bureaucracy where nothing ever gets done- this is the precise Republican game plan where they laugh all the way to the bank of their own prosperity and leave regular Americans holding the bag. They don’t have to accomplish a damn thing in order to further their agenda. They simply have to keep anyone else from doing anything that would shake up the fundamental socioeconomic hierarchy that benefits them. By making sure our good friend Bill doesn’t become a Law, they maintain the status quo for the elite, blocking social progress. When was the last time Republicans actually passed a meaningful piece of legislation that didn’t involve tax cuts for corporations or the wealthy? I’ll give you a minute. No, they’ve blocked more legislation than an offensive tackle, but they haven’t done a damn thing themselves. And now, we can expect much of the same for the next two years until voters decide they actually prefer legislators who, you know, legislate.
Steven Craig is the author of the best-selling novel WAITING FOR TODAY, as well as numerous published poems, short stories, and dramatic works. Read his blog TRUTH: In 1000 Words or Less every THURSDAY at www.waitingfortoday.com