Thursday, October 17, 2013

A dramatic plan for change

In case you've been living under a rock, here's the good news. Yesterday, a deal was finally made and the US government is open for business. Additionally we've also put off the possibility of default and upped the debt limit for a short while longer. Of course, this Boston Globe front page summed it up best. As you'll see, all this agreement has done is postpone further crises for a few months. But this presumes that somehow in a few months, we can all reach a reasonable agreement, because that's been working so well for the past three years. It seems far more likely that in three months we'll be here again. And next time we could even lose more than just 0.6% points of our growth or $24 billion.

The absurdity of the situation in this governing body is only becoming more obvious with time. The bill that finally ended this shutdown and averted fiscal calamity through default passed the Senate with a broad bipartisan support, 81-18. The President was more than happy to sign it. But what happened in the House of Representatives? It passed 285-144. While this seems like a large victory, it's a sad state of affairs when you actually break it down. While all the Democrats happily came out supporting a solution (albeit an imperfect and temporary one), the majority of the Republicans in the House voted against the bill 144-87. This victory was won only through the alliance of some moderate Republicans and every single Democrat. But such an alliance is always fleeting, despite the fact that the Tea Party and their ilk present a problem for both groups. But what if the alliance was made more serious?

I've been wondering lately how low we have to go before something changes. Given the gerrymandered districts that push every Republican further and further to the right, I haven't been feeling an abundance of hope for any upcoming electoral change. But at some point there comes a time, where society can simply take no more. So maybe it's time for something new.

So here's my radical suggestion. Across the country, it's a time for a truly bizarre alliance to be made. Moderate Republicans and Democrats need to come together and change the electoral math. Even in the most Republican of districts, odds are that moderates and democrats combined still outnumber Tea Partiers and other strict conservatives. So moderate Republicans need to take a stand against the hard line elements of their party, and get back to a position of governing. And if they continue to do that, Democrats in Republican districts need to register as Republicans. We need to spend the primary season fighting tooth and nail for moderate Republicans.

I know this can be a hard pill to swallow. I know that even the moderate Republicans say things that most Democrats find hard to stomach. But we need a true opposition party. We need REAL debate on issues that matter. For too long we've been hoping that we can sit out the oncoming Republican Civil War, and remain to pick up the pieces when its over. But the collateral damage being done on the country doesn't allow us to sit this out. It's time for us to take a side. It's time to make a dramatic change. It's time to create an opposition party that is worth fighting. Because when that happens, America can be great again. We can stop being the laughing stock of the world. And most importantly, we'll be able to pay our bills without setting the world on fire.

So in 2014, I plan to register as an Indiana Republican. I don't know who's name will be on the ballot in that primary. Odds are that my choices will be limited. But even if I have to write in a candidate, I'll know that I voted against Rep. Jackie Walorski in a primary (in case you were wondering, she was one of the Nays), and stood against irresponsible governing in the only election these people really seem to care about. I hope you'll join me.

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