Sen. Elizabeth Warren: 'We Are Not a Country of Anarchists'

Article excerpt

If you haven't seen it already, and if you have a liberal bone in your body, you'll enjoy these excerpts from a recent Senate floor speech by Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. For those who like to look at words all spelled out, I've appended the text below the video. Have a nice day.

It was delivered on Oct. 3. Here's a partial transcript:

"Mr. President, we are now three days into a completely unnecessary, completely unavoidable Republican shutdown, and there is more talk than ever about our inability of our leaders to find common ground on central economic and fiscal issues of our time.

The government shutdown is throwing a major wrench into a fragile economic recovery.

Nearly 1 million federal employees are sitting at home for no reason, and other public servants are working but not earning a paycheck. Cancer patients are being turned away from clinical trials at the NIH. Veterans' benefits are at risk. Basic nutrition services for pregnant women and new moms will be disrupted. Small businesses won't be able to get federal loan guarantees.

And all this is happening on top of the idiotic sequester - drastic, across-the-board spending cuts - that have crippled Meals on Wheels, Head Start, and investments in medical research.

We all know how we got here. For years now, we've heard a small minority in this country rail against government.

When I hear the latest tirades from some of the extremists in the House, I am struck by how vague these complaints are.

From their rhetoric, you'd think they believe that anytime that we the people come together to improve our lives that the nation is committing some terrible wrong.

From their rhetoric, you'd think they believe that the government that functions best is a government that doesn't function at all.

So far, they haven't ended government but they have achieved the next best thing: shutting the government down.

But behind all the slogans of the Tea Party and all the thinly veiled calls for anarchy in Washington, behind all that there's a reality.

The American people don't want the extremist Republican's bizarre vision of a future without government. They don't support it. Why? Because the American people know that without government, we would no longer be a great nation with a bright future. The American people know that government matters.

The anarchy gang is quick to malign government but when was the last time anyone called for regulators to go easier on companies that put lead in children's toys? Or for food inspectors to stop checking whether the meat in our grocery stores is crawling with deadly bacteria? Or for the FDA to ignore whether morning sickness drugs will cause horrible deformities in little babies? We never hear that, not from political leaders in Washington and not from the American people.

In fact, whenever the anarchy gang makes headway in their efforts to damage our government, the opposite happens.

After the sequester kicked in, Republicans immediately turned around and called on us to protect funding for our national defense and keep the air traffic controllers on the job.

And now that the House Republicans have shut down the government, holding the country hostage because of some imaginary health care bogeyman, Republicans almost immediately turned around and called on us to start re-opening parts of our government.

Why do they do this? Because the bogeyman government is like the bogeyman under the bed. It's not real. It doesn't exist.

What is real, what does exist, are all those specific and important things that we as Americans have chosen to do together through our government.

In our democracy, government is not some make-believe thing that has an independent will of its own. In our democracy, government is just how we describe the things that we the people have already decided to do together.

It's not complicated. Our government has three basic functions: Provide for the national defense, put in place rules of the road - like speed limits and bank regulations that are fair and transparent, and build the things together that none of us can build alone - roads, power grids, schools - the things that give everyone a chance to succeed. …