More Unseemly Sideshows
From Margaret Talbot's Talk of the Town piece, “Washington Dramas,” in The New Yorker:
There was a rather unseemly sideshow at the memorial to the Second World War, where Republican representatives turned up to personally inform elderly visiting veterans that it was President Obama’s fault that the memorial was closed. The chair of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, later offered to use R.N.C. funds to open the memorial, claiming that the Administration was keeping “the Greatest Generation away from a monument built in their honor.” You could deny eight hundred thousand federal employees their paychecks, you could cripple entire agencies, but close the war memorial? The National Park Service declined the offer, because, as a spokesperson explained, “we are a national system.” The park service could hardly pick favorites—opening the memorial for the Second World War but not for the Vietnam War, opening Yellowstone but not Yosemite—and it shouldn’t be asked to.
What the Republican intransigents were willing to deprive of funds, besides the Capitol police, included the following: The Centers for Disease Control, which said that it would have to stop its seasonal flu-prevention program and would “have significantly reduced capacity to respond to outbreak investigations.” The Environmental Protection Agency, which would close down almost entirely, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which would stop most of its inspections. The WIC program, which provides healthy food supplements for millions of pregnant women, new mothers, and babies, and could run on temporary federal funds only through the end of the month. The Food and Drug Administration, which said it “will be unable to support the majority of its food safety, nutrition, and cosmetics activities,” and would have to halt “the majority of the laboratory research necessary to inform public health decision-making.” The National Institutes of Health, which announced that it would not be enrolling any new patients in ongoing studies or clinical trials.
The fringe elements of the GOP have created even more unseemly sideshows at our national monuments. Today, huge crowds turned out at the World War II memorial, whose closing is still blamed on Pres. Obama rather than (rightly) on the GOP, and several took the baricades there and moved them to the White House as a kind of symbolic gesture. They waved a Confederate flag outside the White House. Other flags were unfurled, including a “Right to Heaven” flag, which an Andrew Sullivan reader reminds us is an invocation to righteous rebellion and revolution.
These are people who don't recognize that they are what they accuse others of being. They are antidemocratic, anti-American fascists.
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