With stories now beginning to creep into the media regarding a deal that might possibly emerge from the government-shutdown negotiations, it would be easy to assume that tensions on Capitol Hill were beginning to thaw.
That assumption would be false.
In conversations with PolicyMic regarding the role of young people in government, several of the most outspoken members of both parties in the House of Representatives expressed their disgust with the other side, causing doubts that the two parties can reach a sensible compromise.
"I’m really pleased with the young people we’ve had come from the Republican Party in the Congress get elected," he said. "I think as young people search the issues, they’re going to find that more and more oppressive government, monitoring every phone call, reading every email, the ability to pull phone conversations at will — they’re gonna figure out, it used to be, the liberals were saying we didn’t want the government in our bedroom. And now the liberals have put the government in the bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen, everywhere."
"I think eventually young people are going to realize more and more oppressive government is really not what they’re looking for in a free life."
As if on cue, a Democratic lawmaker weighed in to PolicyMic with equally harsh language for his Republican counterparts. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the first African-American congressman from Minnesota and the first Muslim member of Congress, described the recent machinations of conservatives as "despicable."
"But you know, look," said Ellison. "They didn’t like Social Security. They didn’t like Medicare. Quite frankly, many of them didn’t like civil rights. They don’t want to see regular people get ahead. They want to keep a vertical hierarchy which keeps certain people up and other people down. This is a consistent thing with them. They’ve been this way for years.
"The real deal is to be able to see through [conservatives'] pious posing, because right now —not at this moment, but right in this time period — they’re up on the House floor crying big tears for the veterans and NIH, and the truth is they could solve everybody’s problem immediately. It’s like people stealing your coat and then helping you look for it. It’s like saying you want mercy from the judge because you’re an orphan; well, you killed your parents."
It should be noted that all indications point to Rep. Ellison being a fundamentally decent man with a strong desire to help those in need. However, such rhetoric does not assuage the concerns of those who are looking to their congressional leaders to forge compromises on the pressing issues facing the nation.