Carlyle Fielding Stewart III

Writings on Democracy, Social Justice, and Religion

Beyond the Politics of Resentment

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The “act” of Congress holding hostage representative democracy and shutting down the government to satisfy some primal urge for revenge is rooted in their deep-seated resentment of Obama’s Affordable Care Act – the landmark law which will medically enfranchise millions of people currently living without health care. The political rancor unfolding in Washington is symptomatic of the politics of resentment that will go to great lengths to attempt to repeal policies that help the working poor and middle class, even if it means paralyzing democracy by shutting down the government.

What elected representatives would be so foolish as to play the politics of Russian Roulette with their own government, to rescind a law that has already been passed? Who in their right minds would imperil the “wheel work” of their own country and risk the financial crash of global markets in a fiendish quest to punish Americans? What do you call this? Child’s play? Sandbox politics? The politics of suicide?

I call it politics bloating by the anti-virtue of selfishness, rooted in the inanities of insanity – our system of government a log in the bonfire of their vanities.

I’ve talked with numerous people since the disaster began and many are angry and numb and resentful of such careless, childish political adolescence. Why would a minority of politicians want to force their selfish world view on the majority of Americans by fouling up and foiling their own government? The Affordable Care Law has passed. Let’s get over it and move on!

My question is what other steps will they take to thwart democracy if they find they can’t have their way? American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr was again correct in observing, “Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.”

It seems that resentment is at the heart of it all. Is it hatred toward the president? Displeasure that the economy is progressively making a slow upward turn? Disdain that the deficit is slowly diminishing and  that poor and middle class people are being helped after their mortgages have been foreclosed, their jobs shipped overseas and their lives virtually destroyed and trampled underfoot? Is it regret that not enough everyday Americans are feeling pain, suffering and dispossession? Is it anger at the empowerment of women, black people, and other ethnic and racial groups, envy at the enfranchisement of the LGBT community? Are these shutdown objections to the rising tides of protest against the mistreatment and oppression of those “other people”? Are shutdowns the result of the spade of the government enforced “profitization” and privatization of virtually everything that breathes – and fears that it is not moving fast enough? Is it righteous indignation that warrants pummeling and blockading the dreaded “big” government that these politicians so hate, even as they heap scorn upon those who work for and depend on that very government? Is it a discontent that’s leading to the evisceration of the rights and powers of the American people so that scorching the earth and bringing the government down becomes the “just desserts” that those poor, persnickety malingerers really deserve because they are not even worthy of the styrofoam cups they drink from?

Or is this a political ploy to divert our attention from the forthcoming Trans Pacific Trade Act, which may threaten our national sovereignty and may further set back the revitalization of manufacturing and labor in America?

The issue is not big versus small government, but good government for all of the American people.  When politicians state that government is the problem, and they are the elected representatives of government, it really makes me wonder how we keep from going under.  What universe are we in? What planet do we inhabit? Is the aim to abolish the American government as we know it? Is temporarily shutting the government down a test case, a dress rehearsal for something even more egregiously outlandish in the future? Who cares if people are out of work?  Who really cares if suffering is multiplied exponentially in this “I got mine but I’m going to take all yours” face off? Using government of the people, by the people for the people to punish, beat down and diminish the people, is doing harm to America and undermining the basic purpose of the government –  to protect the people and to vouchsafe the virtues of our Constitutional republic so that every living being can have the life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness they deserve as citizens of America.

When resentment becomes the motivation for politics, the primary result will always be taking value away from the people most deserving, rather than adding the value that will enhance the quality of their lives.  The resentment mindset guarantees that helping those who are in need will always be viewed as subtracting from the bottom line of the “haves,” by giving to “those moochers and slouchers” who have already taken more than they deserve.

By the way, who makes the determination of who is deserving of food and health care and a quality education? Who decides for the rest of us what shall rightfully come to us? What gives an extremist minority the power and audacity to take away the majority’s rights and then silence “government for the people”? Who is really behind these maneuvers?

When resentment is an impetus for public service, there will always be a lack of compassion and empathy for those truly in need. Hurting innocent Americans by shutting down our government harms America and the rest of the world who look to us for leadership and depend on us for charity during times of austerity, uncertainty and crises. Those who should be strengthening the hand of government by helping the people are cutting off the hand, arm and torso of government through the politics of resentment.

Let these politicians grow up and take responsibility for helping their country! Enough of this political side show. When we have no government, we have no future. When a few of us loses, all of us lose and ultimately all America loses.  God help us beyond the foils of resentment politics which is dividing us further and slowly destroying our representative democracy!

God help us as we move toward the cliff and the abyss because of the selfishness and myopia of a few elected representatives! God help us and God help them to finally and permanently come to their senses.


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