The government shutdown is little more than political theatre that is bought by a great many people who really believe that just because a budget hasn't been agreed upon for the new fiscal year that the federal government has really "shut down." No, in fact, while there have been furloughs in some agencies which are considered non-essential to the real functions of government, there are still numerous agencies that are open. In fact locally Public Debt is still operating, as if it were really essential. Ahem, yes we have $17 trillion in debt and we're out of luck. What's new? In fact all of the park closures are little more than a show of force by the federal government which claims they haven't the money or resources to function, yet they still had to pay for signs, barricades and security to do all that work. It also might be something to do with the 83 percent of the federal government that's still going strong. As for all the wildlife in the national parks, I bet they're rejoicing having the land to themselves. Of course I find this disconcerting that not only has Obama shut down the White House, the people's house, for several months, now he's calling the shots on whether veterans and the rest of us can visit our privately funded monuments and parks! The gall of some people. In fact it's hurting businesses and even private homeowners who simply reside on so-called federal land. Yet the federal government doesn't really own those lands at all - we are the government, right? Therefore, "federal" lands are our lands. It's all a show and their actions against the American people, seemingly to show us who's boss, and putting up metal fences and barricades, is going too far. Talk about a waste of resources, time and money, when we're supposed to be in a "government shutdown," or "slimdown" as some media have coined. Talk about hypocrisy. The other aspect of the so-called shutdown is that people are still being paid as they normally would, they'll just have to wait a little longer for their checks to arrive, at least until the new budget is passed. And it isn't the end of the world. How blind some people are to think that our country is going to somehow collapse within just days of some federal government workers getting an unexpected (paid) vacation. As of writing, it is day seven and it looks to me like America can live without too much bloating from our fine and dandy public servants, which very obviously don't serve us. Of course that leaves little to be said about the Obamacare situation and the magnificent failure of the implementation of the system. Talk about dysfunction in government; not only are a majority of people mad as hell over the glitches, they are real pissed off at the prices they are getting. So the government wanted to call it the "Affordable Care Act?" How about the "Unaffordable and Dysfunctional Care Act?" Yet anyway, I won't harp on the health of our unhealthy state of affairs here too long. It comes down to the facts at hand: The government isn't really shut down; Everything that we are seeing with closing parks and monuments and giving veterans the bird is little more than a charade for the two-party system to politically posture itself in the wake of disastrous failure to listen to the American people; and that no matter when or what happens to a new budget or the ugly Obamacare implementation, we're still at the same place as before. Between Barack and a hard place.
Yet I do have to give a little bit of kudos toward our Representative Bill Johnson, as well as his fellow colleagues senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman that they will not be accepting their salaries for the duration of the "shutdown" and will be donating it to charity. As such, I give honorable mention to Representative Brad Wenstrup of Ohio and an Iraq veteran, which solemnly told Washington politicians to stop using terrorism metaphors during the shutdown debates. "In this chamber, I have seen no terrorists, or jihad, or any bombs strapped to any chests; and if you've been to war, you would not use such rhetoric here." I do have one thing to say though: Would Congress (and the president) consider pay cuts anyway? Just a thought.
Stop and think.
Sam Ludtman lives in Reno.