Klowns of Kongress

Congress clown

Northern California to Southern California and back again: Overnight turnaround

I feel like a damned trucker.

Between hauling back and forth to visit family, then moving, and now job hunting, I have become entirely too familiar with every inch of Interstate 5 between Los Angeles and Sacramento.  I know every truck stop, rest room and Denny’s along the route.  I know where they’re doing construction, where the traffic backs up during rush hour, and where the CHP likes to hang out with their radar guns.

My new home appears to be those 500 miles of asphalt.  If you’re looking for me, I’ll be in San Joaquin County, Stanislaus County, Merced County, Fresno County, Kings County or Kern County.  Just forward my mail to Motel 6 in Buttonwillow.  I’ll pick it up on my way over the Grapevine.

We left Olivehurst yesterday morning and hit L.A. just in time for rush hour.  Creeping along in stop-and-go traffic on the 60 through Pomona, we finally stopped for dinner in the City of Industry in hopes that the congestion would clear by the time we got back on the road.  We reached our hotel in Riverside about 8 p.m. and immediately fell into snore land.

This morning, I had a job interview with, of all things, the very employer who just laid me off on Friday.  It seems they are considering me for a management position in another location.  So we had to drive 1,000 miles so that I could interview for the very same position I’ve held for the past three years.  This must make perfect sense to someone, although that someone would definitely not be me.

My interview, which began 25 minutes late, lasted 42 minutes.  The second I walked out the door, we were back on the freeway heading west and north.  We made it home at 11 p.m.  That’s nine hours of driving with two hours of stops for meal and rest room breaks.

Being unemployed, I have no income at this moment, but of course no one will reimburse me for the cost of this trip.

I also no longer have health insurance.

My first day without health insurance was Tuesday, which coincidentally was also the first day that health care exchanges opened to the public across the country under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

I have been catching flak for my support of the new health care law.  There are those who say that it is indicative of Big Government unwarrantedly meddling into the private business of Americans, unadvisedly messing with the free market economy along the way.  There are those who say that the Affordable Health Care Act is anything but affordable, with coverage costing several hundred dollars per month to those who need it most and can afford it least.  There are those who say that the health care law is just another way to screw the middle class, as the rich take care of their health care needs on their own dime and the poor already receive free health care under state programs such as Medi-Cal here in California.

Love it or hate it, you have to admit that the Affordable Care Act is popular.  The Covered California website received so many thousands of hits on its first day out that the darn thing crashed and had to be temporarily taken down for repairs.  Reports are that the call center phones have been ringing off the hook and that not enough trained staff is available to handle all the walk-in and phone traffic.

Are you paying attention, all you legislators in Washington, D.C. who are supposed to be representing the interests of the people who elected you?  I am specifically referring those 435 guys and gals in the rainbow colored wigs with the big red noses that honk when squeezed:  The Klowns of Kongress.

Chief Bozo this time around is Speaker of the House John Boehner, who apparently is unable to control the extremist Tea Party faction of his caucus, those who wish to continue to hold the government hostage in order to register their displeasure with the Affordable Health Care Act (which, I might add, was passed by both houses and survived a challenge in the U.S. Supreme Court).  The pundits claim that Boehner is unable to achieve “Cruz control,” a reference to Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who seems to be calling the shots for the rebel minority.

So we’re now on the third day of the federal government shutdown.  The Statue of Liberty is closed and, here in California, the park rangers have ordered the campers and hikers at Yosemite to get out.  IRS employees, who process the tax dollars used to fund our government, are staying home (along with a half million other furloughed federal employees deemed “nonessential”) because there is no money to make payroll.  Someone please explain to me where’s the sense in that?

President Obama has been meeting with the movers and shakers in both houses with the goal of knocking some sense into them.  He might have better luck if he were to acquire a tiny clown car, brush up on his somersaulting skills and begin wearing an ink-squirting flower in his lapel.  I daresay he’s been getting lots of practice on his juggling skills.

Seriously, it’s perfectly fine to hate the Affordable Care Act and argue against it.  But please remember that the representatives of the people passed this law and it is the people themselves who crashed the website and are calling in droves to get in on the health care exchanges.  It’s time to put to a vote on the House floor a continuing resolution to fund the government and get federal employees back to work.

Shutting down the entire government to express disapproval of one federal law is nothing but a silly clown trick.  And this is one circus act that is no longer funny.

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