Shutdown!

My parents were both only children.  I’m convinced this is why their marriage was such a disaster.  Neither of them ever learned how to share or compromise or work things out with siblings.  Each was the special darling.  Then they married each other and, POOF!, they suddenly had to navigate life with another person – an equal.  Who gets to drive the car to work and who has to take the subway?  (Well, it was the el, but, still).  What would they spend money on, what wouldn’t they?  Where would they live?  Yeah, that went really well.   I have nothing against only children.  I’m just thinking that two only children together possibly not the best match.

So I have to wonder if the House of Representatives is populated entirely by only children. Isn’t there anyone there who EVER had to work things out with a brother or sister?  Really?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Of course, there are opportunities to learn how to share and work things out even if you are an only child.  You could, for instance, go to pre-school or kindergarten.  That’s where you learn that you have to wait your turn for some things.  That’s where you learn that you don’t always get to play the games that you want to play.  Sometimes you have to play what your friends want to play.

There’s always that one kid – you know the one.  The one with the ball.  Something happens, and the kid with the ball threatens to take his ball home and not let anyone play anymore unless he gets his way.  Now, we learned that we could give in to that guy, but then we’d forever be at his mercy (his ball, his rules).  Or we could let him take his ball and go home.  Sure, we’d miss out on playing that day.  But pretty soon he’d figure out that he missed out, too.  But how old were we then?

I feel like the House of Representatives is running home with the ball.  A law was passed.  Eighty Representatives have decided that they will hold the entire country hostage because they don’t like the law, and they want to stop it any way they can.  Really?  How old are you guys?  Didn’t you learn this when you were six and you ran home with your ball?

The thing is, when a six-year-ld runs home with a ball, no one really gets hurt.  Oh, sure, a bunch of kids don’t get to play that particular game at that moment, but they’ll do other things.  They won’t have to worry about not making the mortgage or not putting food on the table.

Fox not-reallly-the-news has been reluctant to call this a shutdown.  They’re still trying to spin this.  It’s no big deal, they’re saying.  Right.  No big deal.  Tonight I drove into DC at rush hour to go pray in front of the Capitol.  There was no traffic.  I had my pick of parking spots right on Independence Ave.  No big deal.  The monuments are closed.  The museums are closed.  The parks are closed.

Federal employees who are furloughed are eligible for unemployment benefits.  Well, that helps.  Of course, unemployment benefits don’t cover 100% of a salary, but at least it’s something.  Once you fill out all the paperwork.  That’s for the furloughed workers.  But it’s not just the furloughed workers.

There are all sorts of businesses – small businesses – you know, the champions of the middle class whom the Republicans, in particular, are always hailing as heroes – that rely on the federal employees.  if no one is going into work, then no one is eating lunch at the restaurants.  No one is spending lunchtime shopping in the downtown shops.  If the museums are closed then the tourists won’t be stopping at the street vendors’ carts.

And lest you think that I only have harsh words for the Republicans, I’m getting a lithe fed up with the Democrats, too.  That those who govern are refusing to do their jobs is, I think, criminal.  I would even say treasonous.  With so many people out of work, this is not the time to capitalize on the misery of others.  My in-box is filled daily with emails from the DNCC making grand claims about how this is the time to finally get the Republicans out.  NO – this is the time for you to GO TO WORK!  Stop asking me for money – go do your jobs.  AFTER you’ve passed a budget, then we can talk.  That’s how that works.  That’s how it works with my kids.  They don’t bluster about doing their chores and then ask for money.  They do the work, and then ask for money.

It’s not all bad news out there.  Local businesses are stepping up to the plate.  They’re offering all sorts of discounts and deals – some for everyone, some for anyone with a government ID.  A few are even charging extra for members of Congress.  United Airlines has offered to fly the Air Force Academy football team to Annapolis (well, probably to DC or Baltimore) so that they can play their regularly-scheduled Air Force-Navy game this Saturday.  Now if only Congress can put on their big boy and girl pants and work like this.

I’m so tired of these folks on the hill.  If I didn’t do my job the way they don’t do their job, I wouldn’t have a job.  SAY – that’s an idea…it is completely within our power to make sure these folks don’t have a job anymore in 2014.  Vote them out.  Vote them out!  VOTE THEM OUT!

If you’re in the U.S., I hope you’re doing all right with this.  If you need help, please know that help is out there.  Oh, and if you need money, try calling your Representative.  He or she is still getting paid.

That’s it.  That’s my mite.  It’s all I’ve got.

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