Enough Already: S.T.F.U.

Observing the political machinations of Republicans has become a tedious chore lately. After Barack Obama’s initial election as the 44th US president -and the first person of a mixed racial background to hold the position- it appears as though Republicans have gone bonkers. How else can one describe their collective behavior since Obama’s 2009 inauguration? 

Had it not been for the gravity of the issues facing our country today, I would have found contemporary Republican actions rather amusing; but alas, I can’t. There are too many pressing needs facing this country: especially a need for governmental responses to this sluggish economy. The lethargy of too many of our standard economic indicators -for more than a decade now- pronounces without ambiguity that there are major structural issues within capitalism as we practice it. These issues include -but are not limited to- the sickening and widening gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots”; the unfathomable insensitivity and greed of CEOs and CFOs in general;  income inequality and the attendant plebian demands for redress; the lopsided power-distribution scale brought on by this inequality; the reduced currency-value of the US dollar as an international staple; the uneven development capitalism throws up; the measurable rise of poverty in the USA; the complexities behind the “invisible hand”; and the false assumptions of the “market place” in general.  

Thus any sober observer might assume that Congress would be engrossed in serious debates and discussions, as to how we go about addressing some of these theoretical constructs, plus the many other conundrums the field of economics keeps churning out.  And were we to depart the field of economics for a second, we could still find enough work for the members of congress to occupy themselves with: immigration reform; an assortment of environmental issues; tort reform; infrastructure (re)development; needed reform of the taxation laws; tweaking the recent health reform laws; issues around education reform; homeland security; foreign affairs; and so on; and so on. 

Yet, despite this compelling list of unaddressed legislative tasks, the last two sessions of Congress have been amongst the least productive in the country’s history. 

Given that control of Congress is split between Republicans (House of Representatives) and Democrats (Senate), we the people, surely expected a certain amount of tactical sparring between members of both parties: given their priorities and competing political philosophies. But do we as US citizens, deserve the stupidity that has emanated from Republican leaders? 

My using of the term “stupidity” was done in order to incorporate the many lies, missteps, deceptions, contradictions, idiocies, distortions and generic misinformation which Republicans seem intent on perpetrating: all being done in an attempt to undermine Barack Obama’s legacy. The irony in all of this is the fact that history will judge Obama’s presidency in the context of organized republican obstructionism. And with that as a backdrop Obama will make out well.   

Look; you don’t pass the same legislation over forty times in the House, knowing full well that even if it were to somehow miraculously get through the Senate once, President Obama will then veto it. I am talking about all the assorted frivolous pieces of legislation aimed at overturning the Affordable Care Act (aka: “Obamacare”).

 Republicans know that the votes for an attendant override just aren’t there. They also know that they are nowhere close to garnering enough votes for such; thus these symbolic legislative pieces have been foolhardy to say the least. All they have done is waste the precious time and money of taxpayers. I say: enough already! 

You don’t shut down government just to prove a point to the die-hard ideologues in your party. You don’t hold the executive branch to ransom by demanding the reversal of legislation deemed “constitutional” by the Supreme Court: there are standard procedures and valuable protocols to uphold, maintain and perpetuate.

Can we ever recover the time wasted by the redundant congressional committee-hearings, which claimed to be seeking the “truth” behind the 2012 terrorist attack on the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya? Between these hearings and the incessant “Benghazi” chatter on the Fox News Network, there is an inclination to again shout: ENOUGH ALREADY; S.T.F.U.   

For those like me, who hardly ever indulge in profanity; let me explain the abbreviations (“S.T.F.U”) for you. In four simple words: “shut the fuck up”.  

Look; let me break this down for one time and hopefully for all time: Benghazi was just another terrorist attack -like countless others before- on a US embassy, consulate or compound.  It was horrific. It was unfortunate. It was tragic. However, it was not some special kind of terrorist exercise. Furthermore, the reasons behind why we were attacked are moot. They are totally irrelevant, relative to finding the “culpricks” who carried out this dastardly deed. 

This is the backdrop: on the 11th September 2012, the US embassy in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked. Four people -including the US ambassador- were killed. Given that the US presidential campaign was well underway -with less than two months to go before the general elections- it wasn’t surprising to see Mitt Romney try to make hay of this unfortunate event. He claimed the perception around the world was that “the US is weak”. This was as silly a statement as could possibly be aired by a modern-day Republican presidential nominee. At the present time, the USA is the number one military power in the world. This isn’t even disputable.    

Donald Rumsfeld, the Defense Secretary during the Bush 2 administration, chimed in with this remark:”attacks on our embassies and diplomats are the result of perceived American weakness. Mr. Romney is right to point this out”. 

Hello? What did you just say? 

Now you would think that the immediate contradiction in Rumsfeld’s words would not be lost by the folks at the Fox News Network; given the vast archives at their disposal. You see, during the Bush2 administration, there were at least thirteen acts of terror on embassies, consulates and compounds all over the world.

 Let me list these attacks for you: (1) The US Consulate at Calcutta, India, on 01/22/02, wherein five died. (2) The US Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, on 06/14/02, wherein fifty-one lives were lost. (3) In Denpasar, Indonesia, on 10/12/02, the US diplomatic offices were bombed. Fortunately there were no fatalities. (4) The US Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, on 02/28/03, wherein two more lives (at least) were taken. (5) The US compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on 05/12/03, wherein thirty-six lives were lost. (6)The attack on the US Embassy at Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on 07/30/04, possibly took seven lives. (7) The US Consulate at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 12/06/04, wherein nine lives were lost. (8)  During the Bush2 administration, there was a second attack on the US Consulate at Karachi, Pakistan. This happened on 03/02/06. At least four people were killed then. (9) The US Embassy at Damascus, Syria, on 09/12/06, wherein four more people died. (10) On the 12th January, 2007, the US Embassy in Athens, Greece, came under a grenade rocket attack. There were no fatalities. (11) The US Embassy at Sana’a, Yemen, was attacked on 03/18/08: at least two lives were lost there. (12) The US Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, was attacked on 07/09/08: at least four people were killed. (13) Then on 09/17/08, there was a second attack on the US Embassy at Sana’a, Yemen, wherein twenty-six people died.   

The reason I couch my numbers somewhat is because some people succumb to their injuries long after the glare of media has shifted from the tragic event. If you add it all up you will find at least one hundred and thirty lives were lost in these attacks. The numbers on those injured are hardly ever publicized but they are surely larger. 

So the next time you hear some Republican go up on the Fox News Network and mention “Benghazi” as some major failing of the Obama administration, please use the abbreviations exactly as I earlier listed: S.T.F.U. 

Tell them to honestly examine all that occurred under Obama’s predecessor before they start casting stones. And until they do, just tell them to shut up: politely please (lol).  

Stay tuned-in folks.