The “Where You Fit” quiz classified me as a solid liberal, which quite honestly surprised me since I’m labeled as being part of the 14 percent of the population that is “highly politically engaged.” I always thought of myself as more of a passive liberal, as a typical white college student who holds progressive viewpoints on the environment and racial equality but doesn’t go as far as to protest or obnoxiously tell everyone (who will listen) my opinions. But it was a simple quiz, and I had to be marked down somewhere, and I feel as though the heart of the government shutdown and the debate over Obamacare is exactly the same principle: it is a crisis between Democrats and Republicans fighting to act in the way they think they should based on political identity.
Rich Lowry’s article “The Fight Goes On” is an excellent example of the influence of Republican identity on the battle over Obamacare, since he advocates that Republican obstinacy and the ability to fight the general idea of the bill are expected and encouraged (just look at the title). Lowry believes that a dialogue between Democrats and Republicans resulting in “minor improvements” essentially equates to “surrender” of conservative values. Republicans believe that “resistance is not futile” and eventually the Democrats will lose, and they are content with prolonging the government shutdown since, according to Byron York, it is only a 17 percent shutdown and the military pay act is naturally still receiving full funding.
While I believe both parties are acting unhelpful and almost childish in their persistence to simply fight back for the sake of fighting, the both parties are just as guilty of being stubborn because they think it is their duty as members of that party. Lowry’s article and other right wing sources demonstrate that, regardless of political view, it is extremely easy to find a plethora of flaws and stupid decisions in both parties. I don’t believe Obamacare is a good system, but it has become an amorphous cloud of problems and revisions that Democrats advocate for because they understandably like the concept of accessible healthcare, and Republicans fight against because they think it is a waste of everyone’s money.
Moreover, the specific cause of the government shutdown is not extraordinarily relevant in this case, and continued disagreement between parties is a result of refusal to meet in the middle since political identity is so crucial to our system.
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