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Sunday, October 06, 2013

Government shutdown fills Congress’ coffers – not yours

War brings camaraderie. The men and women who fought World War Two, what Tom Brokaw called America’s “Greatest Generation,” came together to fight a war, and taking care of your buddy in a foxhole taught them that we all have to watch out for each other. It’s how we achieved victory, and when the war was over, it’s how we became a hard working and strong democracy, a leader in the world’s economy and, for a while, at least, the global standard for human and civil rights.
But a nation at war with itself finds its comrades-in-arms with blinders on, seeing only the side of the road those like them choose to toe. It doesn’t matter that politicians of all persuasions have tried to build bridges across the divide. The stubborn perspective of Republican hardliners ignores, disavows or buries any outreach as if it were an apple from Eden’s serpent. The foxholes where they have planted themselves for this battle are dimly lit gutters, and their comrades tend to be the rats in three-corner hats that scamper through the flotsam of rotten, old ideas.
World War Two veterans, politicians and journalists enter the memorial, on the Mall, in Washington, DC, Wednesday. (Photo by Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes)
World War Two veterans, politicians and journalists enter the memorial, on the Mall, in Washington, DC, Wednesday.
(Photo by Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes)

That’s why it was particularly galling to see the Republican National Committee use a group of aged World War Two veterans as props when they “forced” the reopening of the memorial to that war, Wednesday, less than 48 hours after they refused to budget the National Park Service and allowed the government to shutdown.

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