Who is [really] responsible for the U.S. federal government shutdown?

Before I say anything on this issue, I want to make it clear that I have no bias or interest in Obamacare. My medical provider is the VA, and because of my age, I also qualify for Medicare if I wanted to leave the VA medical system. No matter what happens to The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, I will still have healthcare.

The easy answer to the title of this post came from Calvin Woodward and Jennifer Agiesta writing for the Associated Press, but to discover what it meant in more detail I had to do some fact gathering.

Woodard and Agiesta said, “More than 4 in 10 Republicans identified with the tea party and were more apt than other Republicans to insist that their leaders hold firm in the standoff over reopening government and avoiding a default of the nation’s debt in coming weeks.”

There it is—the answer to who is really responsible for the shutdown.

A Pew research poll in 2012 found that about 35% of registered voters are Democrats, 28% Republicans and 33% are Independents.  I’m one of the Independents. I can’t stand either party so I refuse to register with either one.

That means 11.2% of registered Republican voters are in control of the shutdown due to what they think is true about the national health care program known as Obamacare that has been plagued from the beginning with claims, rumors, lies and exaggerations.

If we crunch the numbers, we soon discover that there are more registered voters than the number of people who vote.

In 2012, the US Census reported that there were 206,072,000 Americans eligible to vote, but 146,311,000 were registered and 131,144,000 voted in the 2008 Presidential election.

That means about 16.3 million Americans are yanking the rest of us around because they want it all their way based on faulty, mostly misleading information. Subtract 16.3 million from the total population of the United States and you get a better idea of how small this group is.

Obamacare may not be the best national healthcare program for some Americans [since Americans that already have health care can just keep the same health care plan and change nothing], but I’m also sure this national health care program will not destroy America.

Meanwhile five-percent of the U.S. population is making sure the shutdown continues by using blackmail against the leaders of the Republican Party. This blackmail works because the leaders of the GOP fear losing too many votes in the next election.

And the GOP is counting on the short attention spans and worse memories of most Americans—the independents like me who vote—to have forgotten all about who was responsible for this shutdown by the next Congressional elections in 2014—more than a year away.

So, how about a summary profile of those 16.3 million Americans responsible for the pressure that led to the federal government shutdown.

“The Tea Party movement is best understood as a new cultural expression of the late-20th century Republican Party,” said Steven J. Tepper, associate professor of sociology at Vanderbilt and associate director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy at the university. “Compared to the Republican Party, Tea Party supporters are more likely to support libertarian principles.  But virtually every other characteristic of Tea Party supporters – from demographics to political and social attitudes – matches the profile of Republican supporters.” Source: Vanderbilt.edu

In addition, A new analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that Tea Party supporters tend to have conservative opinions not just about economic matters, but also about social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. In addition, they are much more likely than registered voters as a whole to say that their religion is the most important factor in determining their opinions on these social issues. And they draw disproportionate support from the ranks of white evangelical Protestants.

Conclusion, a few Americans think they have the right to dictate how the rest of us should live. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God,” and “It is the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins.”

The Founding Fathers of the United States despised democracy. In the beginning and for more than a century the United States was not a democracy—it was a republic ruled by a political system known as a plutocracy. But in the early 20th century, changes in voting laws and the structure of the U.S. Senate turned the United States into a democracy from the plutocracy the Founding Fathers created.

Do you think the tea-party movement should be the tail that wags today’s American democracy?


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy that started life as a memoir and then became a fictional suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

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