The clock is ticking...
Tomorrow night, at midnight, if my news sources are accurate, the federal government of the United States is going to shut down due to lack of funding.
With any luck maybe Norway will buy us.
Not all of the federal government is going to shut down, of course. It is my understanding that they will continue to pay military personnel, not so much because it is the right thing to do, but because military personnel tend to have access to an impressive array of firearms. And it would be interesting to know if Congress is going to stop paying itself.
We can only hope.
How many times has this happened now? According to my research, 17 times since 1977, and they are called "funding lapses". The fact that I am still here to tell the tale speaks volumes. A lot of drama, culminating in nothing. After a while, you realize that it's just like when your parents used to tell you that they were going to lock you in your room until you were 21. Upon reflection, you realized that it was bullshit, and stopped paying attention.
Likewise, with the deadline looming, most Americans will not even bother to turn off the football game.
What's happening now, for those of you not up on current events, is that the Republican and Democrat congressman in Washington, DC are having a big fight about the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. "Obamacare"). I do not fault Americans for preferring a football game. Personally, I'd rather listen to my mother and aunt argue about whether you should wash a chicken than listen to congressmen debate Obamacare.
At first, we were led to believe that the government would shut down completely, plunging America into a Dark Age not seen in Western Civilization since the dawn of Disco and Polyester. Now, the rhetoric seems to have softened, warning of a "partial shutdown" of the government. Tomorrow we will be advised that they will be dimming the lights on the Washington Monument. On Tuesday and Thursday nights.
Ho. Hum. I'm underemployed. You can't scare me.
Here is a list of probable outcomes:
- The government will shut down, and nobody will care;
- The government will shut down, bringing on calamities of Old Testament magnitude. The streets will teem with furloughed federal employees, terrible in their fury. There will be plagues of frogs and locusts;
- The government will not shut down, confirming suspicions that this was all a lot of posturing and bluster designed to impress the tiny little minds of Tea Party voters everywhere;
- Who are somewhat like frogs and locusts.
The End of Life as We Know It is not the worst part. The worst part is the slow torture of having another political media darling invading our every waking moment. In this case, it is Senator Ted Cruz (not to be confused with Tom Cruise, thank you, though it might help), a waxy conservative Republican from the state of Texas. Actually, Senator Cruz was born in Canada, proving that his mother does not share the same reservations about socialized medicine as her son.
Last Tuesday, Senator Cruz spoke on the Senate floor for 21 hours. No one seems to know why. Apparently, the whole point of his 21-hour speech was simply to show how passionately he felt about the evils of Obamacare. This accomplished very little, politically, since only four or five of his colleagues chose to hang around, and rumor has it that they were doing a lot of texting under the desk.
What the senator did accomplish was to get his face, with its heart-rending look of care and concern, all over television and newspapers. And people responded. A lot of them with money. Which means:
- Somebody will have to drive a stake into this guy's heart to keep him from running for president;
- People are still willing to believe that there are Congressmen who share their convictions and care about America. What they don't understand is that these people don't care much one way or the other about anything, as long as they get re-elected. They accomplish this by acting, at every opportunity, as dumb as their constituents. A Congressman would talk for 21 hours about the dangers of Nicki Minaj if he thought it would get him a few votes.
I have decided not to let myself get too swept up in any of this. Tonight I intend to finish up my work and go to bed, though the Apocalypse is but a day away...
If I turn into a pumpkin, I'll try to let you know.