Shutting Down the Town

I was only vaguely aware of the possibility of a government shutdown this year – I mean, to be honest, it seems like it gets threatened every year.

I should take it more seriously, I guess, but 2013 didn’t hit us too hard thanks to the good folks at Navy Federal. It seems they were willing to look out for us again this year, floating active duty member’s their pay.

This year felt a little more real, though…because my job was affected. I work for contractors and much of what we do is frozen during a shutdown. Luckily, it’s not quite a tragedy. There’s still plenty for us to do, and I’ll still get paid.

A lot of other contractors and government employees are much less lucky than me. Much of D.C. was planning on being shut down, and the Washingtonian quickly put out tongue-in-cheek articles about baby-booms and shut-down themed happy hours.

Still, I can’t help but find the situation a little more obnoxious than some of the other antics that have been going on lately. Every interview I heard about it was a circular argument about who’s more to blame: Republicans or Democrats? I heard two people go on for several minutes about votes. Something to the effect of, “Republicans are the majority party but they couldn’t even get a majority on this vote!”

“It doesn’t matter, without 9 Democrats, the government isn’t opening.” – just over and over again, around and around, neither side wants to talk about themselves or their party, pointing fingers.

It’s so tiring. It occurred to me I’ve heard that same argument (or similar) on just about every issue for months…or maybe longer. It feels like centuries.

And that finger-pointing attitude has become so infuriatingly commonplace. It’s inescapable.

“It doesn’t matter what’s wrong over here because this is what’s wrong with you.”

Deflection. No one wants to have honest conversations or come to real compromises. As long as someone else has done something similar, then it’s open season. We can all be dirtbags. No self-reflection necessary.

It’s a bit of a disaster, really.

And in the blink of an eye, it was over which then raises the question: what was the point of all that anxiety?

What did they accomplish in those extra few days that they couldn’t manage by their deadline?

Why put all of the federal employees, military, and contractors through so much angst?

Is this all going to start over in a few weeks?

What are their priorities? Do they have any? Why are they jerking everyone around?

It’s endlessly frustrating.


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