The most recent continuing resolution expires today, meaning our federal government will begin to shut down tomorrow if Congress takes no action. But the Republicans are already looking ahead to the next drama -- in mid-October, when our government hits the debt ceiling. If you remember how much fun the last one was, brace yourself: the New York Times reports that Republicans have put together a list of demands to which Democrats must accede so the debt limit can go up again. Take a gander at the eleven-count-'em-eleven demands the Republicans make in paragraphs 12 and 13. How many of those have an army with pitchforks at the waiting? I mean, sure, people are a bit antsy about the Affordable Care Act, and maybe a lot of folks think an "all of the above" energy policy must include tar sands oil, but how many good Americans would put our government into default over either of these items? And where's the popular groundswell against coal ash regulations or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or limiting medical malpractice lawsuits? Outside of corporate boardrooms and Glenn Beck's viewership, who'll run through a wall to get this laundry-list enacted?
Now, we're not just about saying "no" all the time, though Congress gives us plenty of reasons to say no -- we're all about putting solutions forward, too. Remember our list of revenue-raising ideas from right after the last debt-limit debacle in 2011? Well, Congress ain't done any of 'em, so we should feel free to bring them up again. Remember our list of spending-cutting ideas from early January? Congress can't be bothered to enact any of those, either, since creating more drama is so much easier, for them as for the "liberal" media, so we can bring those up, too. You can look over the Republican ransom list, then look over the two lists from this paragraph, and use them to write your own list -- and then, using the tools in the upper left-hand corner of this page, find email addresses and phone numbers for your Reps and Senators, and then call or write them, whichever makes you more comfortable. (You can always write something and then refer to it during a phone call.)
Now, since our government is supposed to do things on our behalf and at our behest, I oppose a government shutdown, even if I despise most of the folks in Congress who are running things. But I'd rather have our government go into default, with all the mayhem that'll cause, than ever play this game with Republicans again. What else will induce them to act like civilized human beings? Not our President, that's for sure -- I know, I know, he's talked a good game this time around, but I bet he gets his Grand Bargain itch again and his I-have-to-look-Presidential itch again and gives away more to Republicans than he ever has to. And when push comes to shove, the Senate will work with the House on something no less awful for being a "compromise." Whom does that leave? That leaves us; that leaves our voices; that leaves our will, sacrosanct in this democracy, and when our elected leaders hear us, when they realize that we're not "scared," that we're not "threatened," they'll finally get what years of losing elections and nonexistent popularity ratings haven't already helped them figure out. But first, we've got to speak out.