- Leeth named UAB School of Medicine assistant dean for strategic planning
- Coping with holiday grief
- New water plan saves big money
- Campus police offer holiday safety tips
- Alys Stephen Center Screens Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago
- Hospital feeds underprivileged new moms
- UAB’s Alys Stephens Center presents Yo-Yo Ma Dec. 6
- Southern Miss tops Blazers, 62-27, in season ending game
- Henry Panion selected for 2014 Alabama African-American History Calendar
- Enjoy Christmas at the Alys Dec. 2, “The Season’s First Jingle”
- Engineering’s Ning wins ASTM International award
- Collat School of Business unveils sign at celebration
- Heudebert elected master by American College of Physicians
- Anti-aging strategies can improve more than looks
- On campus ‘blackout’ taken in stride
Viewpoint: The End of an Era
The federal government reopened recently with the passage of a spending bill, set to expire on January 15th. Reflecting on the chain of events that led to this, those of us who can vote need to, urgently.
For me, I have never felt connected to government the way many people around me seem to be. I understood what government was, took US history courses, and never thought that my voice was especially important to the national dialogue. I held and still hold, opinions on the current issues within the national government. I have voted a sum total of twice in my life. Both times, the state I voted in went opposite my candidate and I felt like my vote was wasted.
I have never stayed informed on the issues of state or local politics. Equal parts apathy and location influence this. From what I understand, the political nature of both Birmingham municipally and Alabama on the state level are less than ideal. I had no intention of putting time into systems so broken.
As young voters, our generation is inheriting a mountain of problems. A social security program that is broken, a foreign policy that has been complicated by two wars we could not afford, an immigration problem without any real solution, more debt than we can ever hope to pay off, and worst of all: a governmental structure with cracks in the foundation.
If I were a congressperson, I would feel ashamed no matter what my party affiliation. The basic function of Congress is to set the budget each year. If these same congress men and women were in non–governmental jobs they would have all be fired. Congress failed the American people in a very big way.
The argument, however, is more nuanced than that. Congress did not fail, the House failed. The House as a whole did not fail, the Republicans failed. Beyond that, my argument is that Republicans did not fail, the Tea Party failed.
My point being that several members of the far right in the Republican Party of the House are destroying us as a nation. These people tend to call themselves Tea Party–ers. This is a small number of members, and they are using political tactics and maneuvering, in order to push a far right agenda on the entire nation. In the process of this, they have shook to the core our ability as Americans to have a functional government and called to question globally our place in international economic affairs.
This is important because things could become worse. There is a possibility that these same tactics could be used in mid-January and this saga replayed. This must stop if nationally, we want to start to solve the hard-problems facing our nation and furthermore, our globe.
What is most clear to me as a young American is that the global geo-political climate is changing in new and complex ways. What is equally clear is that the role of America in shaping that development matters. Sometimes, the mechanism can be debated, and hopefully by smart men and women coming from different perspectives. I want to believe that Congress is the union of these smart people and that they have rational discourse on topics that affect our nation. This is not how our system works. The Tea Party-ers and their sympathizers almost destroyed the financial structure of our nation because they do not like how the democratic system works. I think we can do better.