Op-Eds Opinion

Misguided Muggles and the Capitol Hill Shutdown

Jake Nelson
Staff Writer

Photo Courtesy Kristoffer Tripplaar/Abaca Press/MCT
Photo Courtesy Kristoffer Tripplaar/Abaca Press/MCT

The scene is vivid and tension could only be cut with a swift swing from the mantle of truth. President Obama sits alone at his oval office desk. The top button of his pristine white shirt is undone and his navy tie is skewed slightly to the left. The enormity of his chair dwarfs his slumping frame as his chin, with slight hints of stubble, sits firmly on his outstretched thumbs. The sun has set on Capitol Hill, Vice President Biden left a few hours ago for an evening squash tournament and presidential security idly patrols the surrounding hallways. The president lets out a beleaguered sigh as he straightens his back and pushes backward from his position. He quickly, unintentionally circumnavigates the room and catches something to the left of the main door. A faint green light seems to be emerging from somewhere within the darkness now filling the room. He rubs his eyes and glances back toward the light, which is now growing larger both in size and vividness.  The president is baffled as he stands and begins to walk toward this unimaginable mirage. He draws nearer and gasps as he sees a picture frame mounted to the wall.

“This frame…” he says to himself, “This frame simply was not here before. No, no it was not, I’m sure of it.”

Obama reaches and deftly slides his right pointer finger along the vertical lining of the gilded frame. The green light, by this point, has successfully augmented upon itself and is now a large pasture with faint trees in the distance under a cloudless blue sky. Weirder than ever, the sun seems to be shimmering in the picture and the President swears to himself he’s dreaming: “No, no, something is definitely moving.”

Still baffled and beginning to become a little frightened, the President glimpses from the back of the painting toward a figure that is clearly astride a horse and seems to be riding ever closer to the edge of the frame. The figure is centered and swiftly galloping directly toward the bridge of Obama’s nose.  High black boots are met by thick cotton socks and frilled suede pants. The pants are navy to match the wearer’s coat and golden buttons and bells fall all over the rider’s wardrobe. His long, curled white wig vigorously whips backward in the wind as his gloved hand steadily keeps his top-hat in place. He draws nearer and yells to the befuddled man stooping to see him, “Barack! You fool, just like all the rest, I warned you this would happen!” The President gasps, staggers backward and promptly faints as George Washington calmly dismounts, docks his steed, and steps out of his old Mount Vernon and into the 21st century conflagration of confusion.

Dependent entirely upon personal viewpoints, it may or may not be entirely hysterical to view our nation’s current situation through a vantage point comparing and relaying it to ideas in Harry Potter. Oh, how I truly wish that we lived in a world where past presidents could hop out of paintings at some mythical witching hour and talk to the current head of state; how I wish the media had not taken the place of the American conscience; how I wish the general population could read above a 5th-grade level; and how I wish our nation would cease to sit and talk and drink about how we are the best country in the world and instead progress positively and forward into this new age of humanity.

I am writing this piece with several assumptions in mind. The first of which is that the reader will not have any real semblance of what is going on between President Obama, the Senate, and the House of Representatives; the second of which assumes that the reader will have read or at least have some kind of general knowledge of the events that transpire throughout the course of the Harry Potter series. While it is entirely true that there is a large dispute over the Affordable Care Act between the two parties (in case that term confused anyone, I just wanted to make it clear that Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are the SAME thing), it is also true that the situation has spiraled out of control and ceases at present juncture to be about anything more than virtual proxy support. The sad reality of the situation is that the fight is no longer about partisanship and no longer about the general public. Quite honestly, I am not quite sure what our nation’s leaders are concerned with anymore, and that is the scariest thought of all.

From the outset of his presidential aspirations and eventual presence on Capitol Hill, President Obama has steadfastly held onto his idea of affordable health care for all. His entire presidency has been staked on this notion. In juxtaposition to the Harry Potter series, I (in a narrowed microscope) can see similarities in political standing with that of Albus Dumbledore.

Please do not think that I’m directly comparing these two as equals. Dumbledore was Caucasian, nearly seven feet tall, dressed in really ridiculous robes, and called himself a wizard! Just kidding, he was totally a wizard, and a really, really cool one. President Obama is African American, from Chicago, was formerly the president of the Harvard Law Review and is a North Carolina Tar Heels’ basketball fan. That final fact alone proves entirely that he is not cool enough to be a wizard.

To more pressing matters, I see them as similar when thinking about the current situation because they are both partially misunderstood. Dumbledore was ridiculed by the majority of the wizarding world for accepting the fact that, although he was evil, Voldemort was still a fantastically talented wizard. Comparatively speaking, Obama has created this vision of affordable health care for all and it has been denounced from the outset as socialist garbage that has no place in our society. As I see it today, the idea of the Affordable Care Act for many Americans has become a Lord Voldemort of sorts. Obviously, this comparison is a bit of a reach being that Lord Voldemort was hell-bent on genocidal activity in order to get what he wanted, but I think the lines can be blurred a little bit for argument’s sake.

The story unfolds and, in the end, it proved to be true that Dumbledore was right all along, and, even in death, proved influential enough to save the people and ideals he loved the most. Our country will not be getting saved anytime soon and this story is not written with a pen. I do not agree that the Affordable Care Act is the best decision for the American people. Not even close. It is, however, a stepping stone along a pathway of change that our American society desperately needs. It is a representation of semi-forgotten ideals and the need to push past a current societal reality.

Unfortunately for President Obama and his Affordable Care Act, there are multiple factors at play. George Washington, in his farewell presidential address, specifically warned that a two-party system would fail in time. The system has not necessarily failed, but is sorely in need of some sort of change. The Capitol Hill shutdown has become a proxy war; Obama wants his bill passed but it, unfortunately, cannot get done until an agreement on the debt ceiling is reached. The catch lies, though, in his inability to get a deal done without compromising some aspect of his plan to appease those who deem the act unnecessary. It should be well understood that we have no supreme rulers in our country, but shouldn’t one find it a little odd that the winner of the election cannot get his law, the staple of his presidency, to be put into action without compromising aspects of a conflict concerning one extension of presidential power and another independent arm that issues our money, the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve? No political affiliations were referenced in the aforementioned text because the parties as they are currently behaving cease to exist. The branches of our government were designed to work together in order to provide the best for the American people and are currently doing their best to take the others’ lunch money. It is childish and entirely comical.

Our friend Dumbledore understood that, in order to get what he wanted, he was going to have to make sacrifices and make many other wizards unhappy in the process. He did so with the understanding that there was a larger goal at hand that few had the foresight to grasp hold of. The Affordable Care Act is not going to single-handedly return our nation to the peak of international rankings in education, healthcare, quality of life, and exportation. President Obama surely doesn’t have the grand solution of all figured out. He does, however, realize that the success of a nation is directly linked from the quality of its’ healthcare system, that of which is surely and sadly broken in our nation. In order for those around us to take care of what is around us, they must first learn to take care of themselves. The Affordable Care Act is not the end all, be all and a real noticeable turnaround is at least a decade away (if our current path continues). There is, however, a glimmer of hope that a deal will get passed on the 17th and leave the Treasury with cash on hand to pay out the public for the time being. $30 billion in cash to keep our society running for another few weeks or months is nothing more than a band aid. Fortunately enough, however, it will re-open our government and allow, if nothing else, the chance of progress and a progressive push forward into this nascent and ever evolving stage of humanity. In the words of the long bearded wizard: “Alas! Ear wax!”

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