Surprise — the party that hates government can’t effectively govern.

Last month, the federal government shut down over the weekend of Jan. 20, due to Congress’s failure to pass a budget resolution. At the end of this week, we will have an encore presentation of the American government’s ability to perform its simplest task: governing.

There is a clear delineation in this country between the two major political parties, that’s been brewing since the Reagan years and was only exacerbated following the infamous Citizens United decision and 2016 Presidential election. If you are in favor of the federal government governing, you’re a Democrat. If you are in favor of them hobbling and dismantling the government down to a skeletal structure, with the exception of the Department of Defense, you’re a Republican.

Almost every month since Trump took office, the Republicans have looked to cut the Achilles tendons of major federal government functions. This includes everything from the most serious recent event, the Nunes Memo, looking to discredit the Department of Justice, to the very beginning of government website censorship, to refute the validity of climate change. The Republicans don’t just want less government, they want a weakened and incompetent shell of the current government. There is no vision, no plan, no magical conservative elixir to the nation’s problems and, currently, we are seeing how hard Republicans are willing to defend the Trump presidency and its accompanying far-right goons to achieve these ends.

Instead, weakening the government with tax cuts, eliminating Obama-era regulations with no plan of how to fill the void they will leave, and continue to leave vital administrative leadership positions empty, while blaming anyone — the Democrats, the media, whomever — for their own government’s ineffectiveness is their plan. They can’t make a budget or bipartisan deal on DACA, and they can’t even agree on the repealing of the Affordable Care Act, their signature complaint for almost a decade. They can barely agree to pass the “historic” tax cuts without their donors breathing down their necks.

The Republican Party currently controls a majority in the House, Senate, state governments (just over half), and, of course, the White House. We, as a nation, and supposedly they, as a party, have been waiting since 2012 to be in the position they are in right now, for their ambitious conservative agenda to solve the nation’s myriad issues. Unfortunately, it looks like we will continue to wait while they sit on their hands.

This is a time when domestic government services are under the most stress we’ve seen in decades. Opioids are killing our neighbors, infrastructure is crumbling, oceans are rising and there’s a complete lack of action from a president who, potentially, colluded with Russia in the 2016 election. Still, Republicans refuse to execute simple constitutional checks on the three branches of government.

This November, all Americans ought to send a clear message at the ballot box. We must admit to our mistakes, reject politicians’ lies and demand decisive, bold, courageous public leadership from all of our elected officials, but especially from the party of Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and even their beloved President Reagan. If the government shuts down again this week, or a deal on DACA and immigration is not reached, the Republicans are to blame.

kenniccd@miamioh.edu

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