Logic shutdown hampers Congress

Funding to Planned Parenthood came under fire last week, as Congress’ contentions over the spending bill threatened a government shutdown. (AP Photo)

As a College student — and a human being — I find myself confronted with the illogical on a daily basis. Yet, this is a fairly liberal-minded place, I think. Generally speaking, the College population is accepting — in the past it’s banded together against close-minded outside protestors flailing bibles and preaching hate and supported classmates in world and social prejudice-breaking records.

Because I am in this sheltered environment, the discriminatory beliefs existent on “the outside” strike me as anachronistic, akin to Twilight Zone scenarios. You mean there are still people who think everyone doesn’t deserve equal rights? Really?

It is perhaps for this reason that I am completely dumbfounded by the near government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding. “SNL” couldn’t script a parody of this for Weekend Update more ridiculous than the real thing. I mean really! Really?!

Silly me to think that the importance of Planned Parenthood was common knowledge, that it doesn’t just administer abortions, but actually provides numerous family services. Not to beat a dead horse with the mantra of pro-choice advocates, “If you don’t believe in abortions, then don’t have one!” but it would be extremely easy for the Republicans who attempted to limit funding to Planned Parenthood to follow this, as a majority of them are male. According to nytimes.com, Republicans sought to re-appropriate federal funding from Planned Parenthood to other family planning organizations and state health departments to use at their discretion, essentially meaning that states headed by pro-life advocates will opt to exclude Planned Parenthood. They lost on this policy but were ultimately able to reinstate a policy that prevents Washington D.C. from using locally raised taxes to aid poor women in getting abortions.

Republicans fighting for decreased funding were able to use the argument as a bargaining chip for a $38 billion in federal spending cuts. They most likely assumed that the Planned Parenthood battle was not theirs to be entirely won — yet (gods, forbid!) — so they used it as a pawn to force opposition into other concessions. Oh sure, democracy is founded largely on negotiations, but partisanship turns it into frenzy of taking hostages, dangling threats to acquire the ridiculous helicopter-stocked-with-a- lifetime-supply-of-Jello demands. What does this say about how our government works? Is it really just a strategic game of, “What can we get the other side to agree to?” Whether or not Republicans believed they’d emerge fully victorious on the Planned Parenthood issue —though they were to a degree, as abortion funding was restricted in Washington — the fact that they were able to thrust such an essential organization into economic peril is terrifying. Still more frightening: the reality of how vulnerable we are to government shutdowns. Can we really afford such a possibility?

Granted, I am still very much a part of the college “bubble.” Perhaps I am missing something crucial to justify this nonsense. Maybe there’s an unseen reason justifying the Republicans’ desire to eliminate federal funding to Planned Parenthood. It’s possible that the near government shutdown is just evidence that democracy is working. Until I graduate, though, my only (coherent, non-raging) response can be: Really?!