It is truly hard to know what to say, beyond uttering something like “fools” when forming a thought about our representatives in the House, Senate, and White House, who are all, of course, fools. Aside from the interesting statistic that for the first time in history the aggregate IQ of the House and Senate equals the exact number of members in Congress, there isn’t a single element of the government shutdown that doesn’t have you pulling your hair out in frustration or hiding under the bed out of fear. With a government operating like this, who needs third party terrorist threats?
You could hear America groan as the news broke on the first of the month. A chorus of “fools” swelled from breakfast tables to commuter trains as we all dropped our heads into our hands and bemoaned this most recent political obscenity.
But as I eavesdropped on fellow riders on the ever luxurious bus commute into the Port Authority, I began to realize with a sort of chill, that this chorus of “fools” was anything but a chorus. Behind every “fool” there was a “they.” And “they” were definitely divided between an “us” and a “them.” As it turned out, I was witnessing the only true byproduct of our government these days – a rift fanned with uncertainty and fear and a nation divided by hyperbole. Our parties (an ironic name when you think about it) have polarized us and themselves to such an extent that nothing can get done outside of pumping up the rhetoric to a level that drowns out even he remotest whimper of reason. Black. White. No grey. Dare to take the middle ground, and you will be branded by both sides as an extremist.
At the risk of presenting a thought we can all violently agree on, I do not have a great political mind. Defining my political acumen as “good” might actually be a stretch. And quite frankly, anyone can and practically everyone has expressed some version of what I led with – that our Representatives are fools. It’s easy, cathartic and safe. It accomplishes nothing.
And that’s when it hit me. There is a distinct possibility that we are the fools.
I mean, how stupid can they be? Our representatives lavish in positions of great wealth and influence. Despite a government shutdown, which many/most of them must want, they are still being paid and are catered to by enormous loyal staffs that are not being paid. They have the best health care plans in the world. As a unit they get nothing done. They have substituted “role models” with “poll models.” And they all have us in a lather, blathering about the ineptitude of our government in general, while somehow buoying up their individual positions as blameless, the single voices of reason in a sea of fools. Fund me, blog for me, tweet your support, rally your friends so we can protect us and beat back them, who unchecked will destroy the universe as we know it.
Well, as the two sides frenetically entrench themselves, cast blame and call for reinforcements, I’m suggesting all of us – regardless of our affiliations – put the vitriol on hold and take a bold and quiet step into the center. We firmly demand “QUIET” and calmly present our elected officials with a very simple amendment: Keep the government running. That’s why we hired you. If you fail to do that, each and every one of you loses his or her job. 535 pink slips and then one special one for the president. You will be fired, allowed to loiter on The Hill only until new elections are held (which none of them would be eligible for) within a six week time frame.
There is not an employer in the country who wouldn’t fire an employee (or employees) responsible for shutting down the business. Let’s hold our officials to that same incredibly low and common standard. We are, after all, their employers.
Only a fool would settle for anything less.
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