Sat | Jul 30, 2016

Dysfunctional America

Published:Sunday | October 13, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Ronald Mason

The United States of America is made up of four layers of government: municipal, county, state and federal. All have clearly identifiable governance distrust and are apart from each other. All of them have typical leaders, referred to as mayors for the municipal, county executives of the county, governors for the state. The uniqueness of the federal format is to be found in the tripartite of executor, legislature and judiciary.

The US federal government is still shut down as I write. Congress, comprising the Senate and House of Representatives - 535 persons - has refused to fund the entire federal budget since the start of the fiscal year on October 1. They have become obsessed with a number of perceived wrongs, as identified by one-half of one-third of the government.

The Republican party has the majority in the House of Representatives. The Democrats have the majority in the Senate, and Barack Obama is president and head of the executive.

The Republicans hate the president. Yes, that is the term. He is a leader who seeks to embrace some policies the Republican just plain hate. Health care for all Americans is the current issue at front and centre of the shutdown. The Affordable Care Act will alter the delivery of health services. Pre-existing health problems will no longer bar Americans from affordable health insurance. Children up to age 26 years old could remain on their parents' policies and persons would be obligated to get coverage or face a monetary penalty.

Here come the Tea Party Republicans, the most rabid of the dysfunctional groups. Their cry hearkens back to the days of 'freedom' - the unfettered kind. Hate you. They don't care about your health, educational access, and, most galling, Barack Obama is a black man. Some even express disbelief that he was born in the US, and therefore not eligible to be president.


It was bad enough that he won re-election with a comfortable Electoral College margin. He must be brought down, and to hell with the world opinion or the consequence of their action. Persons like Ted Yoho, Michele Bachmann, Eric Cantor, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are leaders of the cabal. They are very well-funded and aided by Fox network, which has a platform to spread hatred and venom. They have captured the speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner. The US is in such a sorry state.

The scene since the October 1, 2013 shutdown has been surreal. The Tea Party activists have this stranglehold on the Republicans and the US government. They do not care that the US dollar is the world's reserve currency.

Just do not pay the American debt and the world will be delighted that the US is managing its own debt. Put a stranglehold on the US military and threaten security readiness. Close down the Internal Revenue Service.

They are a sick group.

In contrast, President Obama, Senator Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have stood up to the Republicans while fearful of a worst-case outcome. The policy of the USA being a people-centred society with directed governmental intervention is ridiculed. The Tea Party does not care if poor people's lives are cut short because they cannot access health care. Pregnant mothers cannot access nutritional help. Cut out the food stamps programme. Go beg your church, says the Tea Party. America will not become a 'socialist' country.


Now is the time to hear from Mr Yoho, a veterinarian who is also a congressman. He states that if you just pass a balanced budget, stop incurring debt, and prioritise who the government pays during their limited cash flow, that would be great. Pay the interest on the USA bonds, and do not pay social security benefits. What wisdom! Ah, the constipated bovine's friend.

The US's total debt is only US17 trillion in a US$4-trillion-a-year economy. It's just amazing what the Tea Party ideology will embrace. Now the United States Senate, a body of 100, has a first-time (10-month) member who is from Texas. A man who answers to the name Ted Cruz. Born in Canada of Cuban and American heritage, he peddles an extreme-Right ideology. He declares that it's time to stare down the president. His policy: Do not blink. He who blinks first will lose. Hold steadfast to irrational policies.

Cruz and his cohorts are seeking to disembowel the Afford Care Act, stifle Obama's presidency, and take control of the legislative process. Cruz stubbornly refuses to face reality, and what is more frightening is the alleged Jamaican connection in the person of a roommate at law school. This alleged roommate returned to Jamaica and began a political career. Thank God we never had to endure him for long.

This ideological battle is far from over, even when the federal government is reopened. All of this to undermine the black president. How stupid, Ted Cruz et al?

On a broad view, this highlights the arrogance of America. People do not count; only money does. The world be damned. Onward and forward with contemplating regime change, extrajudicial drone killings, violation of territorial integrity (ask Pakistan, now Libya), Helms-Burton, and FATCA.

God help us all. The Tea Party is a threat to the world.

Ronald Mason is an immigration attorney-at-law, mediator, and talk-show host. Email feedback to and