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Leland Waldrip

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10/7/2013 10:54:57 AM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]

Cheaters never win -- well, they shouldn't win, but sometimes they do. Whatever our view of the ACA we can't allow our democratic process to be hijacked. It only invites everyone to use the same tactics for their own special interests.

We've all known cheaters. Whether it's on school tests, bike racing, major league baseball, college basketball recruiting, politicians gerrymandering voting districts to garner advantage at the polls, or some other competitive endeavor, we've seen a lot of people try for unfair and unethical advantage over their fellow competitors. And it seems that there's been an incredible uptick in such activity in recent years.

Perhaps we know about it more because of the nature of social media and instant communication about such things, but there’s probably more to it than that.

Some reasons for cheating are identifiable and probably are more that are not so readily apparent, but we can be sure that underlying it all is one motive: the ends justify the means and ethics be damned – I’m going to win and I don’t care about ethics or fair play or rules or anything else.

It’s something akin to the action taken a few years ago by one set of government workers, the air traffic controllers. They decided to withhold their services until they got their (perhaps) legitimate demands met. They tried to hold hostage the nation’s air transportation system and those of the public who were networked into that system. They did make their point, but guess who put a stop to their cheating? President Ronald Reagan. He fired them all.

There was a time when the stakes were not so high for winning at all costs, but now major league players and college football coaches are paid more than the president of the U.S. And having a winning record seems to be all that counts. The odds of being caught and exposed for transgression of the established social or sports rules are relatively low as compared to the rewards of winning. But, I suppose we shouldn't be surprised to find that some of our beloved sports individuals and programs are corrupt when the very governing of our country is being sabotaged by cheaters.

I refer, of course, to the current mess we have with regard to the partial shutdown of the Federal Government. Now, some will say (mostly Tea Party Republicans) that they are well within the rules of the Constitution to demand that The Affordable Care Act (ACA) be scuttled as the price for funding the Government. After all, the Constitution gives the U.S. House of Representatives the responsibility for initiating spending bills, and the ACA will only add to the debt.

No, that’s not it. They simply don’t want the ACA to succeed. They don’t like that it was NIH (not invented here. Oh, but something very like it was invented and implemented by their last standard bearer, Governor Romney of Massachusetts.) Mostly they don’t like that it was sponsored by a President that they cannot, will not befriend, cannot, will not tolerate.

But the ACA was legitimately passed by the House of Representatives, the Senate and signed into law by the President. It was then tested in the Supreme Court and found to be Constitutional. So, it has met all Constitutional requirements to be a law on the books of the U.S. But any law can be amended or repealed as a regular order activity and is supported by the Constitution and established law, and many laws have met such treatment over the years of the country’s existence.

Let’s go back a few years to when Republicans gained control of a number of state legislatures and governorships and began to gerrymander (draw voting districts along demographic lines to obtain advantage at the polls) their way into electing a set of Representatives whose allegiance was to that narrow interest and not to the public at large. This process in effect was set up to cheat other voters from of their share of political powerin their lives.

So these cheaters in the H.R. have determined that the ACA is so onerous for the country that they will use any means whatever to end it. To them, as with all cheaters, the end justifies the means. The Government will not be funded unless the ACA is defunded. They have unsuccessfully tried some variation of this gambit some fifty times now. Plainly, they want the law repealed and will do anything, even outside the regular order of the Congress to get their way, ethics and rules be damned. And damn the fact that throughout our history we have changed laws when enough voters align with the change sought.

One more point about this fight: The media doesn’t help bring the conflict to a close when they fail to call out irresponsible “talking points” – from either side -- repeated ad nauseam in response to any question.

Okay, so let’s see how this scenario might play out if we extend the TP Republicans attitude to other aspects of our laws. Suppose that the Democrats decide that they want, for example, immediate amnesty for all immigrants illegally residing in the country. And by the way, banning Republican leaning PACs and AR 15 type guns, or for that matter, putting restrictions on activities that Republican members find near and dear would be nice too. So, they attach a rider to the budget or a Continuing Resolution or whatever critical legislation is needed at the time. All Democrats -- House, Senate and President -- refuse to allow the budget to become law without these ideas of dubious merit being accepted along with it.

We can see where this leads. If (any) cheating becomes big and widespread enough, everyone will want to obtain the advantages of doing the same thing. If this happens the country is in dire jeopardy of disintegrating into a mire of anarchy. By the way, the vehicle being used by the TP Republicans is a rider attached to the critical Continuing Resolution Bill. Most extraneous riders used in this way actually increase the debt – the very thing that the TP Republicans are complaining about in the first place. We need to have whole legislative bodies in both houses vote on riders independently of the main bill they are attached to – a step that would force consideration from a much wider view than the narrow special interests that typically sponsor riders. In this case they wouldn’t be called riders, they would be “bills” that must stand on their own merit – a reform that is long overdue.

It would be nice if everyone considered the consequence of their actions on all their fellow citizens and moderated their actions accordingly. But, as we can see, it isn’t going to happen in such a serendipitous way. So, before this madness gets totally out of hand, let’s nip it in the bud and stop or punish the cheaters. As with the robber barons of the early twentieth century, we need to exercise policing action to countervail.

Now, by policing action, I don’t mean going in with guns blazing. As with our time-honored ways of correcting extreme political aberrations, we could mount a coordinated social media effort to drill into the “safe” districts from whence the cheaters come and unseat them in coming primary elections. If they feel safe in not playing by the rules because their enabler majorities in their district support their actions, or if they feel they may be unseated in their next primary election by someone more to the Right than they, then the country at large needs to put resources into their districts to find and support more moderate candidates at that level. At least we need to make it very uncomfortable for them and their enablers.

There are a number of online organizations equipped to mount such actions, so when asked, we as orderly and concerned citizens need to respond positively. We need to put teeth in the adage that “cheaters never win”, for if they get away with this gambit, it will be an American crisis of unpalatable proportions.

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More Blogs by Leland Waldrip
•  Cheaters - Monday, October 07, 2013  
• Bye Bye Internet Explorer - Wednesday, October 15, 2008
• A Mountain of Nuclear Waste - Tuesday, September 25, 2007
• Amnesty By Any Other Name - Wednesday, May 24, 2006
• The Roving Vote Machine - Wednesday, May 17, 2006
• Their Faces Were Gone But Not Missed--an awful lot - Monday, May 01, 2006
• Frederick (II) the Great -- quote - Tuesday, March 07, 2006
• Moving The Ball - Sunday, March 05, 2006
• Saint Augustine (354-430) quote - Friday, March 03, 2006
• Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914) quote - Thursday, March 02, 2006
• Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) quote - Wednesday, March 01, 2006
• Will Rogers (1879-1935) quote - Tuesday, February 28, 2006
• Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826) quote - Monday, February 27, 2006
• Another) Albert Einstein (1879-1955) quote - Sunday, February 26, 2006
• Elizabeth Lucas-Taylor quote - Saturday, February 25, 2006
• Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) quote - Friday, February 24, 2006
• Plato (427-347 B.C.) quote - Wednesday, February 22, 2006
• Albert Einstein (1879-1955) quote: - Tuesday, February 21, 2006
• Paul Valery (1871-1945) quote - Sunday, February 19, 2006
• Louis D. Brandeis - Saturday, February 18, 2006
• Quotable Quote - Friday, February 17, 2006
• Mark Twain’s Writing Goals - Wednesday, February 15, 2006
• Milk of Human Kindness - Tuesday, February 07, 2006
• Bush and Liberty - Sunday, February 05, 2006
• Didn't See It Coming (Again) - Friday, February 03, 2006

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