Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — I read Facebook all day long because I have no one to talk to. That is not as pathetic as it sounds. It is my choice to work by myself in my home office and I rather like it that way. But having the entire country connected is a pretty dangerous proposition. Mostly because people do not get facts before they form opinions. And after developing those uninformed opinions, they feel it necessary to insult anyone who opposes them.
I’ve met a few people who follow the popular lines of thought on big issues, and they’re scary. They detest the question “Why do you feel that way?,” acting like it’s an un-American thing to ask. You either do what everyone else does, say what everyone else says, or you are un-American. In my day, they used to call you a commie. These days, they call you a terrorist. Same mannequin, different costume.
The thing that concerns me is the complete lack of understanding that the average American has when it comes to government. I’ve spent the past week reading comments like, “Let the government stay shut down, it doesn’t affect me!” or “Now that they are shut down, maybe they will shut up.”
House Republicans need to realize you cannot hold something hostage that does not realize it is being held hostage. The American public, as a naïve and ignorant collective, has no idea it is being held hostage; it sees this shutdown as a good thing.
So while a small group of radical Republicans continue to think that they are bringing pressure on Democrats to give up whatever it is Republicans want, the radicals are wrong. There is no pressure because no one understands what is going on.
The shutdown directly affects less than 10 percent of the American workforce. Approximately 1 million government workers were furloughed, but some of them are being forced to work without pay. To those poor people, this shutdown is very real and a huge problem. But since our culture espouses “me first” and “gimme”, anyone who is not a government worker does not care about government workers because everyone else kept their job.
But there is a ripple effect that will be felt by millions of Americans, soon. Government contractors will start to shut down because the government is no longer functioning. Businesses that are near government office buildings around the country, such as restaurants and hotels, will see a significant drop-off in business. It’s the same ripple effect that crippled small communities around the country in 2008, and it is happening again.
This shutdown is embarrassing. How can the United States government ever tell any other government what to do if it cannot get its own act together? How can the “greatest nation in the world” retain its title when the government of the people could not care less for the people?
On Oct. 17, the United States will default on all of its debt if there is no budget in place. Anyone who does not feel directly affected by the shutdown so far certainly will feel affected by Oct. 18. Everyone. Not just some people, everyone. The sky may not fall, but the bottom will certainly fall out. If we don’t start caring now, by the time we do it’ll be too late.
Here is my message to my fellow citizens: Our government is filled with self-centered, narcissistic, egotistical, greedy and poisonous politicians who have absolutely no regard for their constituents (that’s you). Any American who votes for an incumbent in 2014 should be ashamed of themselves. Any American who votes for an incumbent in any government position in any election between now and 2016 should be stripped of the right to vote.
I like living in this country, but this mass stupidity that I have to live with is getting old. The American people get what they deserve when they re-elect incumbents who have crippled the government for their own gain.
Mark my words, fellow Americans. If there’s still an America around when congressional mid-term elections take place, in late 2014, you’ll have a huge responsibility. You’ll have to show the world that this is still is the land of the free and the home of the brave. Vote out the incumbents, all of them, and give some new blood a try. If you don’t, you will regret it.George N. Root III is a proud American who is counting on the people to do the right thing. His column appears every Wednesday, so long as we still have a country that will read it. He can be reached at email@example.com.