MCCULLOUGH: The real risk to our country

Nate McCullough

Nate McCullough

This whole shutdown thing perplexes me.

First of all, I can’t figure out if the Republicans are doing this because they really believe Obamacare is going to herald the end of the republic — or because they’re afraid it might work.

Think about it: You could make a case either way.

If you’re a Republican who really fears this law — a law very few average citizens actually understand anyway — is going to be the death knell for our economy and way of life, then of course you’re going to fight it until the bitter end.

But politically, if you’re afraid it might work, then of course you’re still going to fight it until the bitter end because if it works, Republicans end up with even more egg on their faces.

There’s a whole year until congressional elections. If Republicans think Obamacare is going to be a disaster then why not just let it be a disaster? And then a few months from now everyone runs on how bad Obamacare was and the GOP maybe takes back the Senate and repeals it.

Whatever their strategy, they believe it enough to shut down the government.

At first I thought, so what? What did they really shut down? OK, they closed some parks. NASA’s Robonaut had to hop off Twitter. The CDC had to stop some research. But with each one of those things came the caveat that hey, if we have an emergency of some sort, we’ll be able to rally the troops because we’re keeping the essential folks around, although they might not get paid on time. (And speaking of our actual troops, they’re still on the job, because what politician in his right mind is going to support not paying soldiers, although apparently the National Guard is not getting paid.)

But then I looked it up, and there are a lot of agencies shut down, like financial regulators, the EPA, Immigration, Housing, Health — the list goes on. And I know we all like to make jokes about how having the government closed for awhile could be a good thing, but wait until some of this stuff starts to back up in the system.

And back to those troops again, while they’re still on duty, the thousands of civilians who help support them logistically are not. So don’t think this doesn’t have an effect on the troops.

I try not to write about politics much anymore because I don’t think either party has our best interest at heart, and the schism between the two is just too wide. Both sides’ supporters are so entrenched, so rabid and so stubborn that I wonder if they’re even physically capable of considering compromise anymore. And that tells me something.

The greatest risk to our republic is not Obamacare, and it’s not a government shutdown. It’s the state of our politics. Our system is broken, and no one is willing to fix it because the people who could fix it are the ones who broke it in the first place. And like hogs at a trough, they just can’t pull themselves away even for a moment lest they risk another hog swilling up some of their money and power.

Like I said, a lot of this stuff perplexes me. But of that last paragraph, I’m certain.

Email Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.