I know that, technically, a government shutdown is the way our democratic system preserves itself while the powers-that-be pass a continuing resolution. It’s a tool; it’s meant to buy some time while the details are hashed out, handshakes are exchanged, and the President finds his lucky pen.
This shutdown, this going-on-day-10-with-the-debt-limit-ceiling-looming-over-us shutdown, is being used as a shank; it’s a weapon, not a tool. It’s meant to maim, harm, and embarrass the other side… and it doesn’t matter which side I’m talking about. Neither side has budged, both refusing to do anything but repeat their contrived and overused talking points, adding in “This is not a game!” wherever there’s an opening.
As I watch round-the-clock coverage, and listen to member after member spew their rhetoric, the only thought that runs through my mind is…
What right do you have to do this to the American people?
You cut off pay from the military (and please, spare me the BS about the Pay the Military Act– we all know that was to save face because of the public backlash of the possibility of screwing the troops).
You sent thousands of government workers home, deeming them unnecessary, leaving them wondering how long they would be without pay and benefits. Would they lose a week’s worth? Two? A month?
You closed national parks… like the Grand Canyon. A big hole in the earth, and people can’t go see it, because YOU can’t act like adults and come to some reasonable agreement.
You ruined people’s vacations, people’s weddings, people’s trips to pay tribute to war memorials.
Your pay is safe, though. Your gym is open, functional, and apparently totally necessary. You get to smirk like the Queen Bee as you’re interviewed by every media outlet on the planet, feeling smug, vindicated, and like you’re doing the world a favor, when, in reality? America hates you.
Yes, it’s true. We hate you. All of you. Democrats. Republicans. Independents. Hard working people who pay their bills, take care of their families, root for their favorite sports teams, and just try to make it in this world, we hate you. Watching the partisanship, the fighting, the back and forth, is sickening. Whether you actually mean to use the shutdown as a way to protect the American people, or if you are really just using it to score points for your party, it doesn’t matter anymore. The only thing you’re doing is hurting us. You’re hurting our faith in the democratic system, you’re mocking the choices we made at the polls, and you’re actually costing people money– people who don’t have stock options, a trust fund, or rich lobbyists up their sleeves.
We need the government to reopen. We need to know that we are working for a reason, and we need to know that the officials who hold our entire way of life, those who are the stewards of the nation, have more patience, restraint, and can share better than our two-year-olds. Because, I have to warn you, that when my two-year-old acts up, I put her in time out, and time out for you… well… it’s much more permanent than you would like. It means your seat in Congress is no longer your seat.
Grow up. Grow a pair. Sit down with your enemy, and open the damn government.