Column by Allison Trebacz
On Oct. 1, everyone stopped caring about national monuments and parks and museums. No one wanted to have a look at the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon or the geysers on the 123rd anniversary of Yosemite National Park.
And, surely, no one was thinking about getting married in front of one of the nations monuments, or touring the Capitol building, or recognizing our veterans at any one the many memorials. All of these tourist “things” are reserved for more logical times like national holidays and summer vaction.
Except that they’re not. America keeps moving regardless of what Congress is, or more likely, isn’t getting done. But at 12 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the government shut down taking popular, government sponsored tourist destinations with it.
This decision, of course, is completely logical because no one was on vacation this weekend. And, most importantly, of two million government workers, none of them needed their paychecks, especially the 800,000 workers who won’t be seeing that money again.
Where is the problem with this shutdown? The problem is not in the government shutdown, or that Congress continues to exist in this limbo of indecision. The problem is that our representatives continue to be paid for doing nothing.
If journalists worked as Congress does, no one would know what’s going on. Jon Stewart, in his reaction to the GOP shutdown said it best, “Did you see the Giants game on Sunday?” he asked. “They lost 31-7. Do you know what the Giants didn’t say after that game? ‘If you don’t give us 25 more points by midnight on Monday, we will shut down the NFL.’”
Now is probably a good time to rename October 1st as “the day that Congress shut down a lot of things except the thing that caused the problems to begin with.” For some perspective, according to an article in the Washington Post, in 1975 Australia found itself in a similar deadlock that result in a brief government shutdown.
How was it solved? The entirety of Parliament was dissolved, essentially firing everyone. An option that, maybe, we should explore because we can only pay so many people for their ineffeciency.
The truth is, the responsibility of this halt cannot solely rest on one party (some might disagree), but a compromise and some conversation between both sides are necessary to find the solution.
Many people seem to forget that the American government isn’t structured to accomadate every opinion of 300 million citizens. Governing America is a little more complicated than that — it takes compromise.
As citiziens, it is important to understand where both sides stand in the argument. The Democrats are defending their own bill with fired passion, while the Republicans are truly on a Crusade-like mission. The fight seems reasonable, and the losses may even be martyrized, but in a few years time, we’ll all look back and ask ourselves “Why? What was the point of that?”.
But, we American citizens, can’t complain too much. Quite a lot of comedy gold has come out of this inconvenience, at least enough to make it tolerble if you’re not one of two million out of work. Just take a look #thanksobama or #shutdown2013 on twitter to see a few examples.
Even the local Raygun has taken advantage of this rare opportunity, printing a new shirt that concludes with, “No productivity, no mercy,” a slogan that more of us should probably live by, according to the example set for us by Congress.
Trebacz is a sophomore magazine journalism major and can be reached at email@example.com