Government Shutdown: Are We DOOMED?

Cornelia Beckett ’14
Opinions Editor

The fall curse strikes again in DC, this time in terms of a government shutdown that, at the time of press, looms. Not every federal worker need stay home, though. The whole government isn’t shutting down, just those parts deemed expendable: a scary dress rehearsal for budget cuts, perhaps. National Parks workers and food safety inspectors can stay home, while Department of Defense and military recruiters are too valuable to furlough. If you’re a lucky public defender, you’re asked to work for free! Happy times are these in the United States of America.

Why are three quarters of a million hardworking federal workers of America staying home? Because the Republican-controlled Congress would rather our national services grind to a halt rather than approve the federal budget that would fund current version of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

Are the Republicans trying to prove that government doesn’t work by making it actively not work? The Petrarchan oxymorons boggle the mind.

Again, I think back to the Navy Yard tragedy. From the outside, Washington is a monolothic entity: a place where Joe Biden frolics among white columns and where they set the West Wing and currently make, or pretend to make, Veep, Scandal and House of Cards. Yet real people’s lives are being affected, their careers putting on hold, and countless other industries are going to grind to a slowdown as a result. Even the live panda webcam at the National Zoo has confirmed it will go dark as the government shuts down.

There is some hope for the furloughed workers, though: the historic Sixth & I Synagogue, a favorite concert venue, is offering a sort of reprieve for feds on pause:

“Throughout the day, there will be Political Ping Pong (red versus blue, with photos of certain government officials on the paddles), bipartisan board games, reading materials, constant streaming of The West Wing, and an informal meeting space with all of the essentials for non-essentials—free coffee, food, and Wi-Fi. If the shutdown drags on, Sixth & I hopes that Shutdown Central will evolve into a community incubator. Anyone who comes is welcome to lead a short session in the area of his/her expertise (i.e. teach yoga, share social media best practices), collaborate with a fellow furloughed employee, or any other activity to help turn an opportunity loss into something substantial. “

Ah, yes, streaming TV will save us. Or, if you prefer, binge watch, the preferred pastime of people seeking to escape American political reality with the most socially acceptable narcotic. Congregate thus, addictive personalities, and let’s start talking about something the American people actually care about. Like, the Breaking Bad finale!

As one of my favorite comedians on Twitter, Katie Sint (@ktsquint) so eloquently put it: “Really pleased with the series finale of Breaking Bad last night. Excited to watch the series finale of the US Government tonight.”

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