Congressional Bullies Have No Right to Lead

| By Justin Nelson
I have been in Washington, D.C. for almost 20 years and have never been more disgusted with the partisan gridlock than I am today. Every single member that has an “R”,”D”, or increasingly “I” behind their name should be ashamed of this continued brinksmanship that damages our national psyche and hurts our economic recovery. 
 
I lay the lion’s share of the blame for the current government shutdown squarely at the feet of House Speaker John Boehner and Washington’s latest “golden child," Senator Ted Cruz. These are the same Republicans that tax LGBT Americans at the same rate as every other American, yet would deny us the right to marry the one we love; to pass along our businesses and wealth upon our demise to the one we love; or to work free from discrimination. These legislators have now chosen to close down the government.
 
Sound like a great idea? Sure, until the public and many of the fringe followers understand what it means. Social Security payments? Delayed. Medicare enrollment? Delayed. SBA loans processed? Nope. Help for U.S. small businesses to export? Nope. Job growth? Unlikely. 
 
And what else? Double or triple the wait in security lines at the airport. National parks, monuments and Smithsonian museums all closed (costing over $200k/day in tourism to DC alone). And hard-working, federal employees who are far too often the budget punching bag of these fights going without pay? That's happening, too. All of that, and I could go on.
 
I must also observe that only two weeks after 13 people lost their lives in a mass shooting in our Nation's Capital, the Democrats keep using the proverbial "gun to our heads" reference in their arguments. While there is no disputing Republicans are trying to extol political ransom, using gun references is in extremely poor taste as a talking point, and it does not solve the problem. Our legislators, whatever their party, have lost the art of making relationships that go past prejudice, and it's simply unacceptable. 
 
Bottom line, this choice—and it was a choice—to shutdown our government is nothing more than partisan posturing that hurts everyday Americans like you and me. It will take people like you and me to say enough to these Congressional bullies. We need to tell them to cut the nonsense, pass a clean Continuing Resolution, and fund the government. Only then can we have a real debate about what needs changed or amended and come up with the best solutions for all Americans.