Jack Tame: All sorts have a say in shutdown

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Call it quote of the week. Brilliant only in its blatant extremism. Short and yet wildly excessive. Delusional, anarchic and wholly irresponsible.

Yes, live on CNN, Congressman Paul Broun had one for the ages. "Obamacare," he said, "is going to destroy everything we know as a nation."

It's a great nuance of proper-functioning democracy that everyone gets a say. From pocket-mulching-and-left-of-communist spaceheads to ultra-right-and-all-government-hating, rainforest-incinerating lunatics.

Anyone with so much as an internet connection or a crayon, has - at some level - a voice.

Even Congressman Paul Broun.

Of course there's a difference between allowing whack jobs to run for office and allowing them to run a country, and a great strength of proper-functioning democracy is the general ability of a society to at least choose a party or leader who best represents its greater interests.

So even though Paul Broun has a seat in Congress, he and his Tea Party mates don't run the Oval Office and don't by any means represent the greater interests of America or even the Republican Party as a whole.

First they caused a government shutdown by refusing to acknowledge the result of a comfortably-won general election.

Secondly they had the cheek to push bills to reopen selective and self-serving parts of the Government they'd just closed.

Thirdly, they refused to hold a democratic vote in Congress, knowing full well that even the majority of their Party didn't support their stand.

"Lemmings with suicide vests," one fellow Republican congressman once famously described them.

The irony of the ongoing impasse now is that by giving in to the Tea Party extremists, President Barack Obama would in some ways realise Rep. Paul Broun's ludicrous prophecy. Handing them any tangible benefit might not "destroy everything we know as a nation," but it would certainly strike a blow to America's proper-functioning democracy.

I hope Obama, the Democrats and the greater Republican moderates stand firm. Let the lemmings run free.

- Herald on Sunday

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