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10/15/2013 10:42:00 AM
Pitchforks/torches anyone?
Catholic News Service
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, listens to President Barack Obama.
Catholic News Service
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, listens to President Barack Obama.

As the Catholic Sentinel goes to press this week, the Senate is nearing a deal to end the government shutdown and head off a default. The House is considering its own bill. We are hopeful agreement can be reached.

Americans’ regard for the job Congress is doing is at a new all-time low, just 10 percent. This is not particularly surprising given the circumstances.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Republican John Boehner of Ohio, is responsible for the partial government shutdown. He is so scared to cross Tea Party colleagues in their bitter opposition to the Affordable Care Act that he is refusing to hold a no-strings-attached vote on government funding.

Beyond the symbolic closings offered up by the folks who operate our government, the longer the government shuts down, the more this affects people who depend on the government — workers and the poor. Many of these unfortunates are asking how members of Congress continue to be paid while they are unable to pay their bills.

The 40 or so ultra-conservative Tea Party House members came to Congress after the mid-term elections, most elected from districts where legislative districts are drawn in such a way to guarantee them job security. Many of them dislike everything about government. Compromise to them is an obscenity.

They should instead draw a lesson from the Church, which deals with worldwide diversity on a daily basis by focusing on those less fortunate and on the common good.

Strong leadership is called for. Tragically, this is unlikely to happen given the current political leadership line-up.

Do conditions have to deteriorate to the point where citizens grab their pitchforks and torches and march on Washington?

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