Stockholm Syndrome

Stockholm syndrome:  “A psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy or sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them.”

Every single person in this country has been taken hostage by a minority political faction which the House leadership no longer knows how to separate itself from, which is doing long term damage to the party as well as the government. And that makes all those that cheer for the shutdown, John Boehner and the majority of republicans in congress included, victims of Stockholm syndrome.

It’s frustrating to see ignorance from people you respect like friends or family, or from authority figures you’d think would know better. There must be something in the air that makes one smug about the government shutting down or burning to the ground entirely.

The folks exclaiming how this is a chance for everyone to see how little government we can get on with are self-defeating, advocating a harm not just their fellow man, but also their own long term interests, whether they realize it or not.

Over 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed. That’s a huge number of families suddenly receiving no or significantly reduced income. Those people aren’t paying bills or spending in the local economy. Businesses in towns centered on government parks, museums, and agencies have had their income intakes drastically reduced, halting increased hiring that might have taken place. And those would be employed aren’t spending either, repeating the cycle. The effects are compounding and multiplicative the longer this goes on. The smallest damage is still unacceptable when it’s clearly avoidable.

Military families aren’t getting death benefits from their fallen family members. New Veterans benefits can’t be processed. Environmental cleanup has been ground to a halt. Small businesses can’t get government backed loans processed. Important government research has been put on hold, including clinical cancer trials.

And Congressmen smile. Conservatives cheer. “Look! The world still stands!” For this is a cause; a fight for limited government.

These, however, are the characteristics of narcissists, of human beings unable to feel empathy unless it directly affects them or a loved one.  These are the same kind of people in my high school that held open contempt for their teachers during the budget protests in Wisconsin, calling them lazy and overpaid.  Similar to when a coworker getting taxes taken out of their check complains about having to give to help others who clearly are just too lazy, since they saw a food stamp recipient with an IPhone. If we just take a buzz saw to the government, a balanced budget can be formed in no time—no taxes the cherry on top.

Where’s the compassion? Where is the egalitarian sense of shared sacrifice and fairness? Where is the empathy for the human condition!?

And Republican members openly flirt with the idea that a debt default wouldn’t actually be that bad. One member was quoted as saying something to the effect of “Economists say it’ll be bad, but I don’t think we should listen to them, they aren’t always right”; a Republican not following economic doctrine as closely as he does his bible? What world have I stepped into?

Undoubtedly these are the same deniers of science, climate change, and evolution. The people pressing for the shutdown follow a dogma where facts contrary to their perspective are vehemently, if not violently, rejected. There is no compromise, there is no middle ground. It’s an unprecedented militant shakedown, unproductive as it is destructive.

But this isn’t a joke. Playing with peoples livelihoods, holding up our shaky economic progress, and trying to fund the most noticeable parts of governments piecemeal to reduce political fallout isn’t governing, let alone practical. These tactics are literally tyranny of the minority; pure extortion. And it isn’t even working.

In no way does anyone benefit from the shutdown. Our government is becoming a deafening vacuum in a crisis of leadership. Things still aren’t getting done. Long term problems aren’t being solved.

Instead, the longer this shutdown and the prospect of financial ruin loom, the Republicans are making a case that Democrats have been too inarticulate to make on their own. They are turning the country against their cause and undermining limited government philosophy by exposing the most desirable components of our government often taken for granted.

Hostage crises rarely end up in favor of those holding the captives. When was the last time you saw a hostage crisis end with the captors riding into the sunset with a bag of money and all their demands met? There’s usually collateral damage in a sudden loss of control, and those whom exhibit Stockholm syndrome have a tendency to fall into that category.

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