To the Editor:
I would like Rep. Mark Meadows, R-Cashiers, to realize that there was a time when opposing parties would come together and work for the good of our citizens. Though there are many examples, let me point to one with which I was intimately involved.
Throughout the fifties and sixties, the pollution problems of the Potomac River had become infamous. In 1957, the U.S. Public Health Service declared the Potomac unsafe for swimming. A sign fastened to the pier at Mt. Vernon advised visitors to “Avoid Contact With Polluted River Water.” The Potomac, the drinking water source for D.C., had become very difficult to adequately treat.
This growing problem was addressed not by a political faction, but by a coalition of U.S. congressmen from the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. Maryland’s Republican Rep. Gilbert Gude led the group and brought national river legislation before the House. The coalition’s work continued over the next several decades, culminating in vastly improved water quality for all those who depended on the Potomac. “Environmentalist” was not a dirty word, but a term of which one could be justly proud.
Fast forward to October 2013. The Tea Party, willing to work only for their own narrow interests, reportedly has called Rep. Meadows their “poster boy.” The shutdown occurred because the Tea Party finds the Affordable Care Act — duly passed into law by our Congress — unpalatable for their taste. Thus they held the entire U.S. hostage.
Never mind the consequences. The small businesses wrecked by this shutdown, businesses that reach far beyond the direct furloughs, businesses that may not survive. The incredible devastation to the lives of hard-working men and women, barely keeping their heads above water in the best of times. This country is being taken back to the Dark Ages and those who are the architects – the Tea Party – are disclaiming any responsibility.
Give hope to those who have had their trust betrayed by their elected representatives.