Carol Anne Costa: Fables, Foibles and Fools: Can DC Be Fixed?

Thursday, October 03, 2013


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Congress's inability to work together is already costing families across the countries dearly.

“One hot summer's day a Fox was strolling through an orchard till he came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening on a vine which had been trained over a lofty branch. ‘Just the thing to quench my thirst,’ quoth he. Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just missed the bunch. Turning round again with a One, Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success. Again and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: "I am sure they are sour." —Aesop, around 500 BC

The moral is: It is easy to despise what you cannot get. Well, Mr. Aesop, I am here to confirm your fables are indeed timeless, rooted in human strengths, weaknesses, and temptations. On September 30, 2013, my eyes beheld the shutdown of my government, brought to me in real time complete with countdown clocks. I am not particularly surprised, but nonetheless unnerved, as throughout the week the possibility of the shutdown appeared to be becoming more real.

At the end of the countdown

After staying awake into the early morning hours watching the coverage of the disingenuous back and forth in Congress, I awoke to learn of the message sent to all government agencies after the final attempt by Congress to work this out, “please begin government shutdown protocol.” The message sounded like it came from the deck of the Starship Enterprise (I could practically hear the loud sirens that usually accompany such a dire warning). I know the 800,000 people immediately furloughed heard them loud and clear. Families across this great nation and our fragile economy are sure to suffer a terrible blow.

At the crux of this showdown is the attempt to take down the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The folks in Congress who simply can’t stand the ACA have taken, over time, 41 unsuccessful leaps at “Obamacare” which is the law of the land. And like Aesop’s fox, they seem to have a nagging case of sour grapes. But unlike the fox of the fable that merely walked away mad, the losers in our nation’s Capitol have stayed underneath the vine and taken to an ideological campaign of pure obstruction and intransigence.

Is This Really the Battle?

In a time when we face gigantic problems among them; immigration reform, farm bills, winding down Afghanistan, NSA surveillance issues, percolating foreign policy problems, much needed infrastructure and highway funding, and job creation packages which require thought, compromise and action, we are instead saddled with the 113th Congress by all accounts a miserable failure. The 113th is a Congress heavy laden with brinksmanship, narcissism (Ted Cruz), and a small band of merry men waving the Gadsden flag on a fool’s errand to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by any means necessary. The empty talking points and repeated misstatements permeating the air like oxygen are tiresome bluster. What we know is that the ACA is settled law. Listening to sustained whining is akin to enduring a spoiled child who, when they do not get their own way repeat and talk louder as if it will change the outcome. Or, dare I say like the kid that played no score tee ball. Sorry kid, sometimes you lose. Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show” take on the eve of the shutdown is on point. Apparently, the facts are as stubborn as their heads. It is time to trudge ahead. it’s done. Like a hunter to a good setter, “DROP”. By the way, the dog usually listens.

Double Standard

I have had a job since I was 15—carhop, busgirl, server, hostess, retail clerk, teacher, coach, athletic director, trial clerk—I have happily toiled in the private and public sectors and have done my share of volunteer work. I have worked along side people I adored, tolerated, and could not stand. Guess what? I learned early on; it doesn't matter. A job needs to be done. So, if it is good for me and so many other working people, what's with these prima donnas, divas and, crybabies in Congress? Get on with governing. Stop checking your poll numbers and worrying about primaries and move on! Every person I know has had to work under difficult circumstances and with awful co-workers. What typically happens is an argument and a solution, as everyone likes to be employed and put food on the table. Imagine going to the chef owner of the restaurant in which you work and badmouthing the specials. “I hate potato leek soup. I won’t serve it.” Yeah ok, don’t let the swinging door hit you in the can on your way out. All I can say is do your job, Congress, the rest of us have to. And who suffers for this dysfunction? We do! I don’t know about you but I have had it.

Face Off at the Shut Down

It is a bleak day when our nation’s most iconic symbols of the republic and our system of government are shuttered and go dark. This just in…in defiance of the shutdown veterans have broken down the gates and are occupying the WWII Memorial. They keep proving that they are still the greatest generation. I stand with them!

What an image our nation with a big “closed” sign hanging from the gates of the Smithsonian, Lincoln, Jefferson and War Memorials, The National Zoo, The Statue of Liberty, Yellowstone, and on and on and on…This is what they fought for, this is what men and women have given their lives for? This whole unfolding episode is an insult to the country. Is what is happening now a case of sour grapes? Is it stubbornness? Is it Obama derangement syndrome? I am not certain. What I do know is this: This is depressing, costly in human and financial terms, unnecessary and dangerous. As I write this, there is no end in sight. I only hope the madness ends soon. Blue, red and purple...fix it DC, fix it!


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Carol Costa is a public relations and community outreach specialist; she has experience in both the public and private sectors. She is the Chairwoman of the Scituate Democratic Town Committee and has extensive community affairs and public relations experience. She previously served in the Rhode Island Judiciary for nearly 17 years. Carol also enjoyed a successful development stint at the Diocese of Providence as Associate Director for Catholic Education and is currently a public housing manager for the Johnston Housing Authority. Her work has been published in several local outlets including GoLocal, Valley Breeze, The Rhode Island Catholic, and Currents Magazine.


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