I’m not sure what I can say about the toxic train disaster that is the United States Congress that hasn’t already been said. As it stands, the federal government, the city of DC, and the livelihoods of millions of hardworking American men and woman are being threatened because a small but vocal minority of members cannot get it through their tiny thick skulls that they lost. THEY LOST. The Affordable Care Act is law, and not just a law, but a law that was actually challenged by the Supreme Court, and is STILL A LAW (and the exchanges will, in fact, go into effect tomorrow). This is behavior that would not be acceptable in daycare, and before I’m accused of liberal demagoguery, I’d say that for either side. I said that about the election of Bush in 2000. We lost then. I didn’t like it, but I live in a democracy; one of the primary features of a democracy is that sometimes the other guy wins.
I really can’t even begin to articulate my deep and abiding disappointment in this situation-it’s not even anger anymore, it’s just head-shaking fundamental incredulity. How is this a fucking option? We are still in a recovering economy, so let’s effectively lay off millions of workers. For me personally, this is troubling. Despite being well-educated and having a well-paying job, I live alone in DC, which is to say, paycheck-to-paycheck. I’m not the only one, by far. Where I am luckier than most is that I have some savings and a family I can fall back on. But my mother, also a government worker, is in the same boat as me, except, oh wait, she’s essential, so she has to show up and not get paid, whereas I can sleep in and sit in my jammies. The irony here is the shutdown caucus has actually managed to turn very driven, very passionate government employees into the lazy collective suck they’ve always claimed was rampant in this hulking bureaucracy. As it became more and more clear over this afternoon that a shutdown would not be avoided, drink specials, West Wing marathons, and all many of wonky, dorky, free or reduced cost activities started popping up on DCist, WashPo, HuffPo, and Prince of Petworth (or Popville, or whatever the hell they’re calling it now). We shall drink as Rome burns.
Because there is a part of me, the super-liberal part, that hopes we do shut down. Shut the motherfucker down. Stop cowtowing and appeasing and just watch that fire burn. You wanted a shut down, you get a shut down. Let’s see what happens when the non-essentials in your district can’t keep the lights on. Let’s see how quickly you come to the table when you can’t get the trash taken out here at your DC pied-a-terre. Because that’s the other thing that’s happening: District Feds are getting doubly screwed, because our city services are predicated on a Congressional budget. Again, and I know I keep saying this: PEOPLE LIVE HERE TOO. Real Americans. Me. I live here. My friends live here. PANDAS live here, for pete’s sake. Red fucking pandas, and they’re not getting the care they need.
And so I still, despite a very robust and active revenge streak, hope that we’ll reach a solution tonight. Because all across America, people live here. People who need jobs, and social security checks, and milk, and road improvements, and passports. Just normal people, who elected other people to help take care of them, and who are finding that they’re well and truly F-ed.