What you oughta know about the shutdown
You know things are getting real when the college football analysts are bitching about politics.
On Tuesday the government shutdown began. One of the casualties? This Saturday’s Air Force-Navy game may be cancelled due to a ban on non-essential military travel.
The shutdown has hit the fans.
This government shutdown drama reminds me of a crazy girlfriend who constantly threatens to leave in dramatic fashion but never does.
In this case, the crazy girlfriend is the Congressional Republicans – I’ll call them Crazy Girlfriend Congress for simplicity’s sake – who have instigated phony crisis after phony crisis since President Barack Obama took office.
I’ve lost track of the number of defundings, sequesters, cuts, chops, dick moves and mercy screws caused by Crazy Girlfriend Congress pushing our country’s economy to the brink.
Frankly, I no longer care.
After your crazy girlfriend gives you her umpteenth bullshit ultimatum about walking out the door, you start getting tired of it. “Fine,” you tell her. “Do it. I don’t care.”
Fine. Crazy Girlfriend Congress did it. I don’t care.
But I’ve learned that more than a few people around me don’t understand what’s happened. I do understand it, though I find no joy in my comprehension.
Then serendipity struck. A government shutdown isn’t unprecedented. It happened 17 years ago under another (surprise, surprise) Democratic president, Bill Clinton. The federal government shut down for 28 days in 1995 and 1996.
As it just so happens, a month prior to the 1995 shutdown, Alanis Morissette released her epic “Jagged Little Pill” album.
It gave me an idea.
I humbly present, “All the things you oughta know about the shutdown.”
1) All I Really Want
… is for Congress to pass a friggin’ budget. The budget is one of Congress’ more basic functions. If it were a bodily function, it’d be expelling gas. It’s uncomfortable, occasionally painful and sometimes stinks to high heaven. When it does stink, it’s blamed on someone else.
The fiscal year, the 12 month cycle of funding government spending, began Oct. 1. Since Crazy Girlfriend Congress couldn’t reach a deal on funding government for the next fiscal year, the government began shutting down non-essential offices on Tuesday.
2) You Oughta Know
… That a shutdown doesn’t mean the country will fall apart. Starting Oct. 1, things like national parks and museums began closing around the country. That’s the initial impact, but over time the shutdown will begin grating on the nerves of the general public.
When events are cancelled, federal jobs reports go unpublished and the slow-turning wheels of bureaucracy grind to a complete halt, people will start paying attention.
You might feel fine for the first few days after your crazy girlfriend leaves, but then you start to notice some of your favorite things are missing …
… You think to yourself. My major credit cards might be gone, but at least I don’t have to put up with her telling me that she sees Beelzebub in my awkward family Christmas photo from 1990.
I hated hearing Crazy Girlfriend Congress bitch about excessive spending and debt ceilings.
You mean we don’t have to hear any more warnings about rabid fiduciary bears chasing us toward fiscal cliffs? Sweet! It’s going to be fun being on our own for awhile.
4) Hand in My Pocket
… WTF? The gub’ment is shutdown but is still taxing me?! So the government can’t pay to keep the damn national parks open, but has it together enough to take my money?
It’s like discovering your crazy girlfriend has managed to disconnect all of your major utilities and sell your identity to the mafia.
Wait. And you’re telling me Crazy Girlfriend Congress is still getting paid? WTF?!!!! What exactly did we shut down? Why are we doing this again?
5) Right Through You
… Oh, right, because of Obamacare. You know, it’s that thing Congress approved more than three years ago, that thing the Supreme Court upheld, that thing that actually gives us better access to cheaper healthcare?
Yes, that thing! It isn’t perfect, but is it worth all this?
Right now, you’re being tricked into watching real news because Crazy Girlfriend Congress is still all butt-hurt from losing the election in 2012. They hate the current president so much that they’re willing to screw millions of Americans out of health insurance just so he won’t get credit for doing anything.
And, as if that weren’t enough, Crazy Girlfriend Congress’ shutdown won’t actually stop the implementation of the healthcare law it hates so much.
It’s like discovering your crazy girlfriend has also cleaned out your storage unit and set your antique living room set on fire.
… is something Crazy Girlfriend Congressmen are going to have to take up with Jesus or whatever hillbilly variant of Jesus they pretend to worship.
I’m sure the Savior will understand. I hear Jesus wasn’t into helping sick people anyway.
You’ve changed the locks on all your doors so your crazy girlfriend can’t reach you.
Your crazy girlfriend troubles are not over, however.
7) You Learn
… you neglected to change the locks to your car. As you walk into your empty garage, you realize your car is probably at the bottom of a lake somewhere.
In addition to not stopping Obamacare, Crazy Girlfriend Congress also hasn’t saved the government a nickel. Shutdowns actually waste taxpayer money. The 1995 shutdown cost taxpayers $1.4 billion due to the backlog of work it created.
8) Head Over Feet
… Speaking of crazy girlfriends, the 1995 government shutdown also led to the mother of all penis-related political scandals: Monica Lewinsky.
Bill Clinton, a huge fan of adultery, met Lewinsky during the shutdown. Lewinsky was an intern. With all the staffers on furlough, the interns played a vital role in keeping government working.
It was the perfect union, really. She wanted to sleep with a powerful man and she met a powerful man who enjoyed sleeping with interns.
Crazy Girlfriend Congress of the 1990s only dogged Clinton for 28 days. Crazy Girlfriend Lewinsky dogged Clinton for more than a year.
Point goes to Crazy Girlfriend Lewinsky.
9) Mary Jane
… Bill Clinton denied inhaling this.
… that it’s all but legal now anyway. Maybe someone should pass some around to Crazy Girlfriend Congress, lock them in a room together and stack boxes of little Debbie Cakes just outside the door.
Could some medicinal cannabis be the cure for what ails our elected leaders?
11) Not the Doctor
… but at least CSPAN would get interesting for a few hours.
Funny thing about Crazy Girlfriend Congress is several of its members are physicians. They know firsthand how screwed up our healthcare system is, and yet they’d rather blow up economy than expand healthcare coverage for their constituents.
12) Wake Up
… to find crazy girlfriend snuck in through an open window and crawled into your bed. She’s carrying a rusty pair of scissors and just wants to snuggle.
Crazy Girlfriend Congress will solve this thing one way or another, not because it’s their job, but because they crave the attention. They’ll realize that we actually breathe a little easier when they aren’t constantly scaring the shit out of us about government spending.
If they twiddle their thumbs for too long, we might decide we were better off without them.
Rest assured, Crazy Girlfriend Congress will find a way back into our lives and will dig in like a tick.
So don’t fret countrymen. Life will go on. People will still go to work. Footballs will be returned for touchdowns. History Channel will still inform us that aliens were responsible for every significant human achievement.
What it all comes down to my friends, is that everything’s just fine, fine, fine.