It seems as if this nightmare is coming to an end, but the fear it raises is a long term concern. This episode is relatively unique in American politics, and raises a question as to the future conduct of the political establishment in general.
It is unique, because it violates one of the central tenets of western philosophy. Though it may seem cold and unfeeling, this tenet is largely responsible for the rise of western power of the past millennium.
Simply stated, it is the notion that actions are taken based on the ends and not the means. Regardless of rhetoric, western thought has rarely been highly moralistic. Rather morals are shaped by consequences, which leads to an adaptive culture.
It is disturbing to see a major political party walk down a path without any consideration of the end game. This is not to question the ethics of a government shutdown (which is itself a valid question), but rather to ask how a democracy can function with irrational actors setting agendas. How did we get to the point where individuals with no interest in the outcome of an action take over fifty percent of the political structure of our nation?
Of course the country may not actually be fifty percent Republican, but over a long enough timeline, it works out to be roughly a fifty fifty country. Humans seem to teeter on the edge of wanting progress, then becoming threatened by the changes that come with said progress. It is unlikely that any political party will ever unbalance this dichotomy.
However, there is a huge difference between wanting to change the wallpaper in the guestroom, and deciding it is just better to burn the house down.
Many are saying this started over the affordable care act, but if that was truly the impetus, it is unlikely the talking point would have been dropped so quickly. The defund or delay was not the demand. It was the excuse for jumping over the cliff.
The real Tea Party demand is not defined. There is no Tea Party vision for America. There is no coherent ideology at work. The demand was not the goal. They just needed a demand for permission to shoot the hostage.