NSA surveillance and the recent 17-day government shutdown are two different phenomena with the same underlying cause: us. We get the government we vote for.
NSA surveillance is a result of powers given to the executive branch by the Congress we elected through the Patriot Act and its extensions. Congress enacted those laws with virtually no comment from the public. In fact, the few people who complained were branded as “un-American.”
The shutdown and its devastating impact upon our people and our economy was led by a minority of zealots who acted at the behest of their constituents from their districts and want to completely dismantle government and all the good it can do.
They were enabled in that effort by other elected officials who lacked the political courage to oppose them, because they too were afraid of their own constituents.
We have an obligation to be informed, to educate ourselves, and to vote. We can choose intelligent, thoughtful public servants who have conviction — but can be pragmatic as well — and are committed to building the best government they can.
Or we can elect people like the Congressman from Texas, who, screaming in the face of a park ranger who was standing watch by a national monument in Washington, D.C., blamed her for the shutdown for which he had voted.