One of the favorite words of the Chicano Movement was “basta” (enough already) used to trigger actions to defend the Latino community. If you look at photos of that time, you will see young and old people carrying the placards that proclaimed “Basta” in reference to treatment deemed to be unjust.
Use of the term usually led to radical actions on American streets led by Latinos looking to energize efforts for change. DREAMers, immigrants and supporting activists that are getting impatient with progress on immigration reform, are currently displaying that same kind of energy today.
The United States Senate has passed immigration reform, but it continues to languish in the House. One could say that the term “Basta” could very well be applied to the recalcitrance displayed by Congressmen who find comfort in denying Latino immigrants the ability to come out of the shadows.
However, many of these same Congressmen have created a greater issue that is affecting all of America. A portion of the U.S. House has been hijacked by extremist and Tea Party faithful obsessed with stopping the implementation of the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare. To that end, they and the Conservative establishment that has followed their lead effectively shut down our government with the potential consequence of reversing the progress made in turning around the economy and perhaps bringing on another recession.
As if shutting down the government was not enough, many of these same people want to also use our debt limit negotiations as another lever to get their way. The good faith and credit of the United States is largely in their hands and the danger of default remains a potential nightmare.
There are pundits pointing out that the reason that these radical right wingers don’t mind the damage that they are causing the country is that they come from Congressional districts that were gerrymandered after the 2010 census to favor them getting reelected with little restrictions. Being accountable to regular folks is not seen as part of their perceived mandate to govern.
Although I don’t buy most of that, it is clear that the country is divided and that this is reflected in the state of our political institutions. That does not mean however, that citizens are helpless and unable to do what is necessary to make things right.
When obsessed people get out of control and threaten to destroy the country, it is time to say “basta” and take action to change the equation. What better time to do this than the 2014 Congressional elections.
These on-going events should serve to energize the electorate in Colorado to vote for political leaders that support our institutions rather than seek to destroy them if they do not get their way. It is time to take names and hold our politicians accountable.
Our democracy gives broad latitude to those seeking to promote their ideas in the public square. Our government is built on broad ideals that encourage innovation and thinking outside the box to make our destiny come about.
There comes a time however, when obsessed extremists go over the line and poison the atmosphere of positive expectation. This is what we are seeing the halls of Congress today and it does not look pretty.
It is not enough to survey our population and then proclaim that Congressional approval is approaching 10 percent. It is time to kick these rascals out and try a different direction for the good of the country.