One Positive Effect of U.S. Government Shutdown October, 2013

While Much of the U.S. Government was Closed Down, Congress Still Played Games

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"It's an ill wind that blows no good...."


Like the majority of Americans, I was appalled when Congress allowed the closure of most U.S. government services at midnight October 1, 2013 after an extremist faction forced its party to try to hijack the Affordable Healthcare Act. I hope there are some saner heads within the GOP and that moderate Republicans will wrest control of their party from that small bullying group. Our country needs bipartisan cooperation and compromise for the good of the country and all of its citizens.

Every day this issue remained unresolved and our government departments were shuttered weakened us as a nation. This type of political impasse, increasingly common in a government where certain groups ignore the good of the country and all its people, can irrevocably harm our economy and our international standing. Because this is a volatile issue, I hesitated before I wrote the title to this hub and included the words, "positive effect." Now I will explain why I used them.

This is my first political topic hub, but it is not, as you may think, a hub about the government shutdown. Instead, my focus is on one aspect of that situation that may be seen as positive, even though the overall action of government closure was negative. Hence that old saw, "It's an ill wind...."

I refer to the continuing resolution that was passed in March, 2013 with a rider sneakily attached at the last minute--the Monanto Protection Act. This abominable and unprecedented protection for a huge biochemical company originated with the Senate Appropriations Committee in 2012, and its language was perfected to Monsanto's liking by Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blount working with Monsanto personnel. Missouri, you see, is Monsanto's corporate home.

The Monsanto Protection Act, when it became known, sparked outrage among Americans who are against GMOs, tens of thousands of whom signed a petition against it written by the nonprofit Center for Food Safety. Groups protesting the insertion of this rider without Congressional hearings or public input via a letter to Capitol Hill included 129 food retailers, farming organizations, organic food companies and consumer organizations.

This unpopular legislation would have prohibited courts from preventing Monsanto's sale or planting of any GMOs challenged by organic or other non-GMO farmers, public health groups or anyone concerned about the health and environmental effects posed by those GMOs.

In effect, chemical giant Monsanto would have been given carte blanche to plant GMO crops even if their legality was challenged. Even though there are no long-term studies showing their health and environmental effects. In spite of independent study results showing GMOs are harmful. With no recourse to anyone through the country's court system because it would be hamstrung by such legislation.

Can you believe this? Citizens who recognize the stranglehold deep-pocketed and powerful corporations such as Monsanto have on the country through their donations to Congressional campaigns could believe it...and they didn't like it. There was a firestorm of dissent across America.

Senator Barbara Mikulski, who succeeded the late Senator Daniel Innouye as chairperson of the Appropriations Committee in December, 2012, worked hard to kill the Monsanto Protection Act during budget battles preceding the government shutdown. She included language in the Senate budget bill version that would have caused its demise. That version is a moot point at this stage, but the original resolution expired and, with it, the Monsanto Protection Act.

It isn't likely this overwhemingly unpopular rider will reappear in any future budget or farm bills before Congress. The people spoke...and this time they heard us in Washington. There's a lesson here for American voters that "We, the People" do have power. We simply have to use it.

Grassroots efforts build strength from numbers of citizens who become actively involved. Get involved. Sign petitions. Make phone calls or write letters to your Congressional representatives and let them know where you stand on issues. Protests didn't have to end when the decade of the '60s ended. "We, the People" have voices...we have votes...we can make our wishes known. Let's continue to do so, in increasingly large numbers. Congress is supposed to work for us. Every senator and representative of the House needs to be reminded of that fact because they appear to have forgotten their duty. Any politician who was voted into office can be voted out--no matter how full his or her campaign chest is with money from big corporations. "We, the People" have that power. If we don't use it, we are giving away our country and our rights.


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© 2013 Jaye Denman

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Comments 39 comments

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 2 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Lisa - The government shutdown did adversely affect many businesses and individuals, a consequence that did not seem to bother the politicians who used the situation as a weapon to further their own agenda. The U.S. government has, unfortunately, deteriorated into an entirely bipartisan body of politicians who will not attempt to compromise or work together for the good of the nation and all its people. And yet...voters continue to keep these people in office to cause more harm. This is something I do not understand.

Thanks for reading and your comment. Regards, Jaye


lisavanvorst profile image

lisavanvorst 2 years ago from New Jersey

The shut down of the Government affected so many businesses. It is a shame that bi-partisan politics gets in the way of what is right for this country. A very informative article.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 2 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Thanks so much, Shyron, for sharing this hub again. You're so right--memories are short about the disasters perpetrated on the country and the American people by politicians with their own agendas.

Have a great weekend....Jaye


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

I hope everyone reads this around election time. Memories are to short, and People should never forget what these tea partiers came dangerously close to doing to our country, and they just might vote them back in.

Voted up, UAI, pinned to Awesome HubPages and shared.

Blessings to you always my friend


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 2 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Hi, JoeDolphin - I'm glad you read the article to discover that there was only one positive aspect of an otherwise disgraceful Congressional episode. Here's hoping Congress learned that 'We, the People" didn't like their shenanigans one bit! Hopefully, that will deter them from a repeat. Thanks for reading and for your kind words.

Regards, Jaye


joedolphin88 profile image

joedolphin88 2 years ago from north miami FL

Happy you could see the positive honestly it seemed all negative to me. However, you have an enthralling choice of words when you write and I have to say this article pulled me in


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Hi, Aunt Jimi - It was a tiny bright spot among the dark clouds of a government shutdown (not to mention the cost), but I'm glad the Monsanto Protection Act got shot down.

Jaye


Aunt Jimi profile image

Aunt Jimi 3 years ago from The reddest of the Red states!

The Monsanto Protection Act was detestable, so it's nice something good came of it all, but at a very high cost. 24 Billion $. That's what the shutdown cost, and Tea Baggers and Republicans call themselves conservative? They certainly don't mind wasting money if it will harm people do they? Or spending when it will cause death and destruction (war).

An excellent article Jaye! Glad someone could find a bright spot in it all. Voted up and awesome!


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

I'm glad to see an end to the standoff--at least, as you said, for a few months anyway. One of the online articles about the last-minute agreement stated, "It’s been reported that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell secured language in the new government funding bill that includes nearly $3 billion for a dam project in his home state of Kentucky." Apparently, the dam is years behind schedule and millions over budget. This is probably his reward for helping get the agreement voted in. In Washington D.C., no one (politician or lobbyist) does something for nothing. Unfortunately, the "something" is not usually to benefit all Americans.

Thanks for the read and comment.

Jaye


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 3 years ago from USA

This is really interesting. I just heard on the news that a deal has been reached, at least temporarily, and we will not be shut down for a few months. It will be interesting to see what extra entitlements have been thrown into this deal.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Thanks, Shyron, for sharing this hub and for your endorsement. (I wonder what those tea partiers put in their tea???)

Jaye


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

I had to come back and share this hub again. This need to be read by everyone, including tea drinkers.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Thank you, Denise - I worry because so many of the voting base in this country continue to be uninformed and malleable. I believe much of the poverty, despair and hopelessness can be traced directly to a faltering education system in this country. If good education isn't a priority with politicians, why should we expect average citizens to care enough to press for it?

Thanks for the vote, feedback and sharing.

Regards,

Jaye


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina

What an informative hub, Jaye. You explained it very well and I appreciate this. I think there are so many uninformed people in America, partly because of the despair and hopelessness ... the feeling of 'what's the use'; and partly because of the illiteracy and poor education rate, that the slick ones can (try to) pull a fast one. UP/I /U and shared.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Thanks, tobusiness - I appreciate you're reading this article and your comments.

The entire world is watching the foolish stalemate in Washington, D.C., and the USA is losing credibility as a strong nation because of it. The most recent polls show the majority of Americans fed up with both parties and ready to vote all incumbents out of Congress in 2014. There are not likely to be any victories in this situation, no matter what happens, particularly for average Americans.

Regards,

Jaye


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

We on the other side of the pond, are watching with interest what is happening in Washington.

Politics is a dirty business, especially when large companies think they can ride roughshod over everyone else. What ever happened to "ask not what your country can do for you...?" politicians these days are only interesting in what's in it for them. This is an interesting and very intelligently written article.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

WriterFox - Thanks for reading, the vote and your comments. Yes, the shutdown is a disaster that grows worse with more potential damage every passing day. I keep hoping for some type of resolution that will allow both parties to save (some) face and get the government running again. It's difficult to believe that supposedly intelligent adults--so-called leaders-- could allow this to happen, isn't it?

Regards,

Jaye


Writer Fox profile image

Writer Fox 3 years ago from the wadi near the little river

The Monsanto inclusion was upsetting because the politicians that pushed that through got away with it. But the government shutdown is a disaster to the country and hurts the very people the government is meant to serve. Interesting article and voted up!


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Thanks, Deb. Unfortunately, Monster Monsanto is spending billions of dollars to convince voters that GMOs and Roundup are helpful rather than harmful to people and the environment. Those of us who don't believe the GMO propaganda must keep spreading the truth.

Jaye


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Thanks for saying what you said about Monsanto. It is a horrid way to preserve farming. Mark my words, it will literally and figuratively, be the death of us. Just knowing about chemistry explains that loudly and clearly.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Au fait – Thanks for the vote and sharing. The behind-the-scenes machinations in Washington are anything but simple. The word “evil” comes closer to describing some of these deals, which harm the American people while enriching corporations. JAYE

PegCole – I am glad there is something positive on which to focus as we enter another day in this foolish stalemate. I am very disillusioned by the game of Congressional chicken being played out for purely political reasons, to the detriment of the USA and its people.

There is a revolving door connecting Washington D.C. and Monsanto, and it’s used going and coming by those who work to further the biochemical giant’s interests. Vote in Monsanto’s favor, and you get a lucrative seat on the board when you leave the nation’s capitol. It is beyond disgusting that so many “public servants” (a term I use only in sarcasm) are bought and paid for by the dirty money of Monsanto and other big corporations.

As for the Supreme Court, I ceased to believe in the justices’ impartiality a long time ago. Their Citizens United decision elevating corporations to the status of persons was the last straw. As for Clarence Thomas, I consider it a travesty that he’s allowed to sit on the bench in any court, much less that he was appointed to the highest court in the land (nominated by the first President Bush).

Thanks for the read and your comments. JAYE

Shyron – Thanks for the vote, feedback and sharing. Yes, our government has been hijacked by a few extremists, who are playing a very dangerous game with our country’s economy and international status. I, for one, would like to dump all those tea party politicians into Boston Harbor! JAYE

Mperrottet – Thanks for reading, for the vote, feedback and sharing. I read an online article about GMOs yesterday that was followed by a lengthy reader forum. One of the posters was obviously a paid shill of Monsanto who kept trying to convince the others of GMO safety and their necessity to feed the world. The “facts” spouted by this person so obviously originated in a Monsanto PR department, but they were repeatedly refuted by other readers. No one else was buying the propaganda. However, it was evident the other posters were people aware of the real threat to food safety.

It is frightening that Monsanto and its allies are spending billions in the attempt to defeat the upcoming Washington state proposal for GMO labeling. Anyone who is not educated about the dangers of GMOS (especially the results of independent research) is vulnerable to the lies emanating from this greedy corporate giant. Monsanto has already done irrevocable harm to many small organic farmers. The realization they came so close to being given carte blanche to do it universally (through the now-expired Monsanto Protection Act) makes me cringe. The very name of that proposal seems un-American to me! JAYE


mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

Thank goodness that the Monsanto Protection Act has expired. The fact that the people were heard shows that we do still have the power to change things. Great article - voted up, interesting and useful - and sharing.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

Jaye, this if a fantastic hub, and your title is fine, makes perfect sense.

Voted up, UAI, and shared. I would pin it but don't see where I could do that.

Our government has been hijacked, and is now being held for ransom, and I guess the Republicans have the Stockholm syndrome. I just hope they don't drink any more tea.

Wonderful hub Jaye, I hope everyone reads it!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Jaye, Great article here. It is good to take a look at the positive aspect of this even though it is, as you've said, an embarassment to us as a country. I found it interesting what you said, "Unfortunately, our Food and Drug Administration is run by a former Monsanto attorney/employee."

Did you also know this about one of our Supreme Court Justices? "When Danforth was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1976, Clarence Thomas left to become an attorney with the Monsanto Company in St. Louis, Missouri. As a Supreme Court Justice he "served" in a decisive case in favor of Monsanto? (Bowman vs Monsanto) That doesn't seem exactly right either.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

What a great article and everyone should read it and learn how business is done in our government. So often things aren't as simple as many people like to believe. Voted up and sharing!


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Gypsy Willow - Thanks for the read and your comments. At least Monsanto will not be above the law and out of reach of the courts with the failure of this rider to go into effect.

However, the continuing debacle in Congress is not only hurting our country in many ways and harming its citizens, the U.S. is losing respect worldwide. I only hope that a majority of voters will still be angry about it the next time the opportunity arises to vote for Congressional candidates. There are people in Congress (I almost slipped and typed "serving", which is not true, but should be) who deserve a pink slip.

Regards,

Jaye


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 3 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

So glad there is a chance of stopping Monsanto before so many crops are contaminated. This government shutdown is beyond belief. USA is turning into a third world country. A friend who lives in a national Park has had her access road shut down except for a few hours in the morning. Scary and dangerous.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Joe - Thanks for the read and your feedback. I still wonder if I couldn't have crafted a better title, but writing titles is the most difficult aspect of writing for me. I'm glad it made sense to you after you read the article.

Have a good weekend...JAYE

Jodah - The Australian healthcare system seems to be a good plan. Waiting for elective surgery is not a big deal if emergency procedures are immediately available. Dentistry is very expensive in the U.S. , and I don't really know if healthcare benefits under the Affordable Healthcare Act will cover dental services. As a retired senior citizen, I have Medicare insurance, but dental benefits are not included in the coverage. This doesn't make sense because dental neglect can have dire physiological consequences.

I agree wholeheartedly that Monsanto is evil and corrupt. Unfortunately, our Food and Drug Administration is run by a former Monsanto attorney/employee. I no longer trust the FDA about anything!

Thanks for reading....JAYE


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

Very interesting hub Jaye

Even though I am in Australia and don't know much about 'the affordable health care act'. I imagine Obama wants to introduce something like 'Medicare' that we have here, where everyone is entitled to free health care and will be treated free if they can't afford or choose not to have private health care. You have to go to a public hospital and can't choose your surgeon but at least you get treated. Most doctors bulk bill pensioners anyway, meaning the government pays. Our health care system works well although there are waiting lists for elective surgery. However it is our dental care that needs an overhaul. Many people can't afford that.

As for Monsanto, I think they are widely seen as one of the most evil and corrupt companies on Earth(hence the March Against Monsanto protests that have been taken place everywhere).


hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

Your title, Jaye, compelled me to read your hub. Honestly, I was expecting something else. That said, what I did read was very engaging. When I put it all together, your title and body really did fit quite well. Congratulations on a brilliant way to expound upon the theme, power of the people. Thank you, and aloha, my dear friend!

~Joe


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Thanks, Cam - When American citizens really get fired up about something, they (we) are motivated to take action. I only wish it happened more often. At least, Congress knows now that the Monsanto Protection Act is hated by the voters, so they aren't likely to renew it.

JAYE

Jack - Oh, I don't think there's anything good about the government shutdown, either, and was afraid that my title and this article might imply that I do. I hope the impasse leading to the shutdown will be quickly resolved and the government back to normal (or as "normal" as it ever is) very soon...before more harm is done to everyone affected, as well as the economy and the country's reputation. Every day the shutdown continues is bad for the U.S. and for those people who aren't getting their paychecks or badly-needed services. I hope moderates will prevail and get the government back "up and running", perhaps tomorrow.

When I realized that the expiration of the continuing resolution also meant the expiration of the Monsanto Protection Act, I felt that at least something positive came from a very bad situation. You can probably tell I feel quite strongly that Monsanto has already been given too much of a free hand with GMOs, to the detriment of many organic farmers. I'm glad they didn't get a free pass to ruin those farmers.

I just watched a news video about the shooting incident at the White House. Surely that will provide more incentive for lawmakers to end the stalemate and prevent more chaos. I fervently hope so.

JAYE


Jackwms profile image

Jackwms 3 years ago

This is at least interesting. I can't think, that a governmental shutdown is ever a good thing as people will be hurt by it. But, your point is well taken and I strongly agree. Great hub. Voted up, useful, and interesting.


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 3 years ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

Jaye, I always enjoy hearing how American citizens make a difference by letting their voices be heard. It is a bonus when Washington actually listens. Very well written and informative.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Flourish - I'm glad you found this piece valuable. Thanks so much for the vote and feedback. (My ego thanks you, too.)

Bill - Thanks for your encouragement and kind words. Perhaps I will become more brave in this topic area, though "rants" will likely be the operative word.

Leah - Thank you for the read and comments. "Messiness" is a good word to describe what's going on in Congress right now.

THANKS TO ALL ... JAYE


thebiologyofleah profile image

thebiologyofleah 3 years ago from Massachusetts

I happily clicked on your article hoping to see there is something positive to all of this messiness going on. Glad to see we can find one good thing in the shutdown. Thanks for sharing this information!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Right on, Jaye, and power to the people. We have power if we only stand together and use it. I hope to see more political rants from you; you have a world class mind and a great writing voice. We need more of this type of article from you.

bill


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

Jaye - You are a brilliant writer and thinker indeed! I loved reading this and learned something valuable. Thank you for the lesson! Voted up and more!


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Thanks, Crafty, for your encouraging comment.

Regards,

Jaye


CraftytotheCore profile image

CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

Very enlightening and well-written! Thank you for this interesting Hub!

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