By Anna Daniels
“Do you like the government shutdown?” host Laura Ingraham asked a caller to her program Tuesday. “I’m beginning to enjoy it.” Laura Ingraham
The tiger springs in the new year. Us he devours Gerontian, T.S. Eliot
It is easy to imagine that the Republican hostage taking in Congress is little more than a great deal of sound and too much fury that signifies nothing to ordinary people living ordinary lives outside of the Beltway. The words “shutdown” and “default” don’t enter into conversations very often here, John Boehner is an unknown and that is perfectly fine with the madmen and madwomen who are much more concerned about being disrespected, waiting for the end time and the perfect photo-op.
The people who live here on 45th Street keep talking about the same things they have been talking about for the past five or six years– they are looking for full time work that pays a livable wage, affordable housing, health care and enough money to get the car fixed and buy school clothes for their kids. There is also an urgency for the children who were brought into this country without documents to receive legal status through the Dream Act.
It is easy to imagine that these two worlds don’t intersect, but that is not the case at all. This morning I picked up a piece of paper lying on the sidewalk. Poised to throw it into a trash bag, I read the following:
The notice was written in four different languages. I don’t know which property is being foreclosed upon. It may be a single family residence, but the majority of properties on the block are apartments. In either case, there is an immediate destabilizing effect in a community which has sustained the third highest rate of foreclosures in the city of San Diego. The number of properties being bought with cash is even more troubling. It reflects the relentless transfer of wealth from the middle class to investors who continue to amass cash reserves.
The lack of insufficient stimulus funds at the beginning of Obama’s first term of office, the continued bleeding of jobs in the public sector and the sequester have resulted in a drag on the local economy that is experienced most directly as a lack of jobs. All else follows–the foreclosures, the inability to pay property taxes or rent or get the car fixed. This imposed austerity is not without remedies, but despite the re-election of Barack Obama, the Republican fringe in the House of Representative and the Senate offers nothing but legislative sabotage, intransigence and more austerity.
The Twelve Year Anniversary of the Afghanistan War It is remarkable that the anniversary of the longest war in the nation’s history has occurred during the government shutdown. It speaks to the invisibility of that war to our legislators in Congress, Wall Street financiers and even to the the majority of citizens. The men and women who serve in the military do so on a volunteer basis in places half way around the world which are deemed essential to our national security at the same time as those very volunteers are absent from public consciousness.
Yesterday’s news included the headline “San Diego Soldier Killed in Enemy Attack.” Twenty-five year old 1st Lt. Jennifer Moreno was killed in an enemy attack in Afghanistan. Jennifer graduated from San Diego High School in 2006 and then graduated from the University of San Francisco to become an Army nurse. The article includes a photograph of her in uniform and smiling in front of an American flag.
It serves little purpose to provide oxygen in the form of print space to handsomely paid conservative entertainers like Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck and Ingraham with their well honed schtick of rage and victimhood. Laura Ingraham’s recent radio program is instructive, however, offering insight into the gratuitous cruelty and ignorance that has migrated from the conservative fringe and become central to Republican ideology.
Ingraham maintains that if you are working for the federal government, made a decision to work for the federal government, you should be willing to take your lumps for signing on to a government that is $16.9 trillion in debt and an inherently “unstable, unreliable organization.” Twenty-five year old 1st Lt. Jennifer Moreno was deployed by that same federal government to Afghanistan, paid by that same federal government, and died carrying out her responsibilities.
It is not hyperbole to state that Ingraham includes Moreno in the group of “entitled” individuals who should be willing to deal with the shutdown. It is worth noting what that means, beyond the death of Moreno.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that families of troops killed in action would not receive death benefits because of the government shutdown. Family members usually received a $100,000 “death gratuity” within 36 hours.
According to the Pentagon, other family benefits– including burial expenses, travel expenses and a year-long housing allowance– will also not be paid during the shutdown. NBC7.com
We are watching an epic battle in the public sphere in which a small group of conservative nihilists and insurrectionists are attempting to dismantle that very public sphere. The American people are shuttled from one manufactured crisis to another.
Another soldier loses her life. Another piece of property in City Heights is foreclosed upon.
Us he devours.