Living in Society

Nothing Matters in Government

Iowa Capitol

At 11:21 p.m. yesterday the U.S. Senate Finance Committee voted to pass a tax reform bill on a partisan vote, according to Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia). Note well, it was during the dark of night.

No Congressional Budget Office scoring, no hearings, no nothing. It was an indication that nothing we once thought mattered about legislating matters. Wealthy donors have an agenda and through the Republican Congress they are having their way with the American people.

My spouse and I were discussing the situation a few hours later and I concluded my part of the conversation by saying, “They are all a bunch of assholes.” I’ve calmed a little since then.

It is probably just as well the Congress rip the bandage off this live wound of a government, exposing its interest in perpetuating narrow views of governance and increasingly becoming a voice for the richest Americans. They go on because few citizens are engaged beyond headlines in the news.

While the federal government set me off this morning, Iowa Republicans are waiting to see if the Senate’s tax bill gets 50 votes plus the vice president and goes to reconciliation with the House version. If the president signs a tax bill into law, that will set the stage for the Iowa legislature, now controlled by Republicans, to take their own, reflective actions.

Here’s the exchange between Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) making news this morning. I watched it twice and can’t do it again.

In the meanwhile, I’ll go to work at the home, farm and auto supply store where I’ll take home another $54 after deductions for a day’s work and try to sustain our lives. It’s clear nothing matters in our politics. That is, nothing except our own engagement to repair the wound and protect the commons.

It’s tough going but we can’t give up.