A Missed Opportunity

     I know you’re disappointed. I am too.
     It seems as if we were just inches away from seeing the federal government shut down only to have the prospect wrenched away from us at the last second.
     It could have been the ultimate snow day.
     The government could have toppled and we would have set a shining example to the freedom movements throughout the world.
     We could have announced: “You too can bring down your oppressors. Just get them to disagree on family planning!”
     Of course, this presupposes that someone would have noticed.
     Remember the last government shutdown?
     Really. Do you remember it? Do you remember the impact it had on you?
     Yeah. Me neither.
     It may have sounded like a crisis, but was it?
     What part of the “non-essential” government would you have missed?
     I tried figuring this out by looking at some of the news stories describing what would have happened had the budget compromise not come about.
     It seems the government is essentially in the entertainment industry. Much of the focus seemed to be on museums and national parks.
     Question: How exactly do you close a national park? Are there doors?
     I suppose they could have put guards at the entrances if only the guards were still employed.
     If no one looks at a picture in a museum, is it still there?
     Passports seemed to be an issue. You wouldn’t be able to plan that trip to the picturesque Middle East six months from now because there would be no one to issue visas or passports.
     This seemed silly to me. What’s the point in fleeing the country if there’s no government?
     How about the National Weather Service? Would there no longer be weather without it?
     Personally, I thought the potential shutdown didn’t go far enough. Is the Internal Revenue Service really that essential – especially if there’s no government to pay for?
     Are assorted wars essential?
     And Congress! Absolutely non-essential.
     OK, about a million government employees would be out of a job, but with all the money saved by not running the government, we could help them out until they found work in the private sector ignoring people or rejecting documents.
     And, remember – there are still plenty of state and local government employees perfectly willing to ignore you. The job will get done.
     
     NEGATIVITY. The other big uproar this week, of course, has been over the American Idol result. A popular singer, Pia Toscano, got eliminated, apparently shocking multitudes.
     It’s possible that Pia wasn’t as popular as people thought, but it’s more likely that the voting system is flawed. This could be an instructive moment not only for Idol but for the concept of democracy in general.
     Voting for people doesn’t guarantee good results. We’ve seen that on Idol and we’ve seen that in just about every level of government.
     What we need to be able to do is vote against people.
      Whoever gets the most no votes on Idol and in weekly presidential candidate votes gets eliminated. Get rid of them in the proper order of awfulness.
     You don’t want good people to go home too soon.

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