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Here is how the shutting down of the federal government works. The Republican-led House adopts the positions of a fringe group of malcontents, closing all the parks and shutting down all the quote non-essential unquote programs in a quest to nullify new health insurance law, or at least delay new health insurance law, or at least delay parts of new health insurance law because making a stand against "Obama's" health insurance law is now unambiguously worth shutting down the entire government, a $300 million per day price tag, and any and all pain dished out to the nation during that self-inflicted wound.
But then the very same fringe malcontents finds out that a local monument will be closed by their demand that all local monuments will be closed, and this will not do. So the House members celebrating the shutdown just happen to find themselves at one of those local monuments, and make grand speeches demanding that this one monument be opened despite their very last vote being to close that damn monument—a vote taken not even 12 hours beforehand. Oh, there will be speeches. There will be outrage. There will be sudden demands that the government shutdown meant to punish the government for undertaking health care reform laws not actually shut things down that the fringe malcontents can see. Not the photogenic monument. Not for the veterans. Fuck feeding the veterans, but the monuments shall not be closed.
I have no tolerance for this. Sorry. The vapidity of the nation's stupidest and most ideologically militant congressthings in seeking a photo-op at the thing they closed, demanding health care law be "compromised" upon so that the poor veterans do not suffer, is truly a two-middle-fingers moment and then some. There is no monument for the children who will be slowly losing their access to preschool care in the next weeks. There is no granite rallying point for impoverished pregnant women to ask for the food assistance they will no longer get, or for the elderly veterans who cannot afford a trip to the nation's monuments because they are too housebound to even feed themselves properly, when the program that helps feed them dwindles. People who need food, who need medicine, who need the government of the nation for something more pressing than a photo opportunity are themselves not photogenic enough for the legislative roaches to scurry to them. While we shed a tear for the monuments cloistered behind tersely worded signs, there is no similar urgency to reopen food safety programs, and the nearly million workers that will not get paid are seen not as a dereliction of national duty, but a pleasant ideological bonus.
We might as well have all the NIH patients who will now not be treated show up in the capitol building. We might as well have the poor families claim a monument of their own—if we are going to deny them even what little we offer them now, we ought to at least be able to witness the pain it is causing. It probably still wouldn't matter, since this entire affair is an ideological demand that we not help those people, not feed the poor, not care for the sick, not keep the food clean, or the workplaces safe, or do the cancer research, or teach the young, or do anything else that might constitute lifting a finger for anyone who does not have cash money to donate to the congressional campaign wallet. But can we at least—at very least—not pretend that congresspersons showing up at the tall wide monuments they themselves demanded be closed has any point other than as demonstration of their own crookedness?
Originally posted to Hunter on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 11:15 AM PDT.