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Showmanship: Why the Shutdown is More Like a Department Store Meltdown

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Disclaimer: THIS IS NOT MY WORK! But as a space to discuss the politics of everyday, The PoliDayReport is giving some shine to this latest piece I’ve read, written by a Ms. Treasure Bonds. In this insightful piece, she likens the behavior of our Congressmen / women to that of children throwing temper tantrums–read it for yourself.  Thanks Ms. Bonds!

Showmanship: Why the Shutdown is More Like a Department Store Meltdown

So, we’ve all been there, at the grocery store, the department store etc watching a child have a complete meltdown.  Some of them are minor and some can only be described as Chernobyl/Three Mile Island/ Fukashima-level meltdowns.  Kicking, screaming, flailing etc.,and if you’re like me you pity the parent(s) and try to pretend you don’t see or hear the spectacle triggered by a request for candy, a toy, wanting to go with Granny/Auntie/Uncle; and,  the behavior worsens every time the parent(s) denies said requests for whatever reason.  Some parent(s) give in to stop the spectacle, some stand strong and manage to move through the store like nothing is happening (how do they do that by the way?), and some negotiate/compromise for peace.  Now, I can’t tell you which of those is a better “parenting technique” but I’m not certain you want to create a connection between disruptive behavior and rewards.

As for showmanship (or performance), I love a good play, movie, opera, musical etc.  The story telling, the sets, the costumes and the music, I just love the whole experience.  One can become enraptured with all of it and completely delve into the alternate reality presented.  But a showdown in our government is never the entertainment I seek.

Watching the news lately I’ve seen what can only be described as equal parts department store meltdown and sheer performance.  I’ve seen costumes (well, apparently those people were actually doctors so the lab coats were not, strictly speaking, costumes) and heard demands: “We have to get something;” And seen flailing matched with the whining  of, “THEY WON’T NEGOTIATE WITH US” even though we keep changing what we want (as the thought is accompanied by actual foot stomping and pouting):

  • De-Fund Obamacare
  • Delay Obamacare
  • Allow “conscious” exceptions to contraception coverage (riddle me this, would this be part of the political discourse AT ALL if we were talking about Viagra ® and the like? Seriously, does anyone really believe that we would ever allow an employer to decide that they didn’t want to cover Viagra ® or similar products if the employer decided that impotence must have been the Lord’s will for that man?)
  • Let’s defund the Consumer Protection Board
  • Give us the Keystone Pipeline


In short, this is some high level flailing in an ultimate temper tantrum.  High level, but unfocused because there are no specifics about what to “GET”; so, this isn’t the kind of meltdown that can be quelled with appeasement or compromise.  These displays have been described as: brinksmanship, playing chicken, a dance etc., and they are not at all sophisticated.  We’ve all seen temper tantrums, and in our early childhoods, likely had our fair share so let’s stop pretending this government shutdown is something more than that.  But it’s epic because the fate of our nation and the people’s lives are on the line.  The stakes could not be higher, and I am not being hyperbolic.  The Federal Government is shutdown during a time of war…war!  Federal Employees are either on furlough or working without pay….WITHOUT PAY!  Many of these people have already lost up to 20% of their pay due to sequester cuts.  The ripple effects are too numerous to mention here, but everything from mortgages to social security to Medicare feel the effects of this tantrum, and while it’s still too early for the public at-large to feel the effects, they’re coming.  Meanwhile the tantrum continues and those who have caused it all will have no disruption in their lives, or their finances.  And, here’s where we could talk about what is and is not fair, but come on people! The Fair is where you go to eat funnel cakes and smoked turkey legs.  This is life.

Treasure Bonds

1 Comment

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