Furloughed and flustered

When I was growing up it seems as if I always heard the word “furlough” associated with someone in the military. “So and so is on furlough from the Marine Corps.” Furlough seemed synonymous with “leave” or perhaps “liberty,” the latter term is used by the Navy to mean a short time away from one’s duty station. For instance, an overnight liberty might commence once work for that day has ceased. The sailor wouldn’t have to be back on board or to return to their base until 7 a.m.

It seems like only in recent years have I heard the word furlough associated with unpaid leave or time off. I bring the word up, as many Americans might suspect, because nearly 800,000 federal government employees were on furlough today because of a failure of Congress to pass a spending bill for the new fiscal year. I am one of those persons who is furloughed.

If you have followed the news in the United States you will know the stated reason for members of Congress failing to pass a concurrent resolution, or a bill to keep the government running financially in lieu of a budget. Why no budget? Oh, budgets are so last century.

The short reason for this fiscal and internecine legislating is that a minority, though significant enough in congressional rules, of Republicans say they want to “de-fund” the Affordable Health Care Act, or Obamacare,” which took effect today. This law ensures all Americans have access to health care and can be fined if they don’t have some sort of health insurance plan.

Obamacare has been a deceitfully unpopular law. The Republican party continue to remind everyone of that. However, those who approve of it plus those who didn’t think it went far enough make up a number of folks that is larger than those who just don’t like it. ┬┐Entiendes?┬áThe fact that the law has gained a nickname taken from that of the President, and who is the chief proponent of the bill, is another reason for the unpopularity of the law. Unwisely perhaps, President Obama has taken up with the nickname. This unpopularity underscores that the so-called “Tea Party” faction of the GOP probably dislike the president as much or more than the law itself. The deep hatred for Obama is probably as much rooted in the dislike of his complexion than for his party or ideas. I would think many of those who do not like Obama because of his race may more often than not deny their intense dislike for people of color. Over the years, after knowing many people who feel this way, I don’t believe such feelings are driven by overt racism as much as something from inside their own heads. Maybe it is just from a prejudice that is so deeply-seated that it is hard to pinpoint.

This legislative drama that has played out over the media, especially that of cable news stations, has become so convoluted that it is hard to remember the initial premises. A Republican House member will be asked something, realize he has no case, and then shifts blame. It’s typical tyke …

Mom: “Jimmy, did you break the vase on the table?”

Jimmy: “Well, yes. Well, no. It’s not really broken.”

Mom: “Jimmy, it is clearly broken. There is glass all over the floor.”

Jimmy: “Well Mom. But it wasn’t being used.”

Do I blame the Republicans? Yes, but primarily those minority of GOP members who are ultra-right members who are mostly of the “Tea Party” faction. But the Democrats involved are not exactly doing all they can do, being all they can be.

Furloughed. That’s right ladies and gentleman. My ass is furloughed and Congress is acting like a bunch of little kids trying get themselves extracted from a series of lies. At least I know that many members of Congress will be furloughed when the constituents get their next chance to speak from the voting box.