10 October 2013

Drew from Renton, WA  

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"What the hell is going on?"

It's a refrain heard too often in teacher's lounges, assembly lines, and office spaces over the past nine days.

"I mean, seriously--what the hell is going on?"

John Boehner. Joe Biden. Nancy Pelosi. Mitch McConnell. Eric Cantor. Barack Obama. 

Not a single one of them has any idea what is going on.

National parks closed to war veterans and death benefits denied to gold star military families, all the while federal employees return to work piecemeal in a haphazard interpretation of a hastily-passed law. What is going on?

"So we shut down the federal government because we don't like Obamacare. Okay, I get that. But Obamacare goes into effect anyway? I don't get that."

Drew is a 32-year old running store owner. He carries ten employees, most of them high school and college runners. Drew is a benevolent dictator, allowing his budding talent the flexibility to go to practices, do long runs, and get discounts on the newest gear.

"Nobody's looking out for American runners. This is fun. I love my job."

Drew does not love politics as usual, however. "Okay, so, Obamacare is still the law of the land. Now what are we saying? That government is too large? Okay, I get that. But then Congress passes a law authorizing backpay for all federal employees? I don't get that."

Looking for sense in the madness is in itself a maddening proposition. 

"I don't suspect that anyone really considered what a government shutdown meant until it happened. Nobody in any of the branches of government even gave it a second thought. It's like they forgot that this was actually a thing!"

Drew is a happy-go-lucky kind of guy. He goes on long runs to clear his mind and relieve the stress of running a business and coaching on the side. So, if Drew is getting angry at the government shutdown, we're in trouble.

"What the hell is going on? We had an election. I don't understand why my country is being hijacked in such an undemocratic way. I am certainly fed up, but I can't even tell who is on my side and who isn't anymore. I don't think the President or Congress has any idea what this is actually doing to regular people. Do you know that they 'closed' the running trails near my work? It probably cost them money to do this. Does that make sense to anyone? I have never seen a park ranger on that trail before in my life, and now I'm not allowed to run there? And that's just one small swath of America. I can't even begin to imagine what the 'good' is with this impossible shutdown."

I agree, Drew. I agree.

Tell Speaker Boehner and President Obama to end the shutdown--lock the leadership in the Lincoln Bedroom until a budget is passed and Americans go more than six months without living in fear of total self-induced economic meltdown.

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