Kris an’ Murphy: Shutting Down

Kris: “I tell you, Murphy, if this shutdown goes on …”

Murphy: “Meh.”

Kris: “… whut?”

Murphy: “You heard me. Meh.”

Kris: “But the airports could close, for lack of security, any time now!

Murphy: Bah! If We the People of these Untied States of America gave a flying fickle finger of fate about any of this, we wouldn’t be waiting for the TSA. We would have stopped traveling, stopped working, stopped buying, and let the government we elected, and the business moguls we buy products from, know, in the only term$ that matter, that all this government-shutdown crap is unacceptable, and none of them are going to be making any money until it gets properly fixed. It hasn’t happened. We haven’t even managed to make much of a dent in the stock markets. We don’t care.”

Kris: “Don’t you care about all the stories on the media, about people who aren’t getting paychecks right now?”

Murphy: “And what have you, or anyone else, actually done about it, except enrich the pornography pushers who are grateful for the income that they get for our buying these stories and using them to make us feel good, because, of course, we’re better than them who did this. We are better than nobody, so long as these things be, and all we do is watch and stroke our buddies. Who has done all this? We have!! You and me and all the rest of us! civilized society would have wiped these pornographers off the map, long ago, and committed itself to stopping the nonsense. Bah. All we want to do is to go to Disneyland. Entertainment über Alles.

“You wish to care about people getting paychecks? If I’m running a business, and I can’t get my budget in order by the time the next fiscal year rolls around, I wind up without a business, and nobody gets paychecks. Including me! The United States Federal government hasn’t managed to put an annual budget in place, at all, never mind on time, in at least twenty-five years! A civilized society, on the first occurrence of such a thing, would command the immediate resignation of all elected officials, executive and legislative, ban those officials from ever seeking elective office again, and commission new elections on the spot. Not only have we not done this, we have persisted in electing officials that, far from improving matters, have made them progressively worse and worse. And then we sit back smugly and say ‘well hell, we’re better than that lot of losers’. We are the ones that put them there! Who the hell are the losers?!?”

 Kris: “We could maybe do that now …?”

Murphy: “We would merely replace the current pack of charlatans with a worse lot, whose members would compound the incompetence that we insist on, that is all that we will vote for, with their inexperience. And we’d gurgle down the drainhole faster than before. If possible.

“Did you see the stories about the vandalism in Joshua Tree National Park? To name just one such story? ‘The vast majority of park visitors are decent people …’ Bull. We have been feeding ourselves that lie for decades. The vast majority are the vandals, which means we are the vandals, and to believe otherwise of ourselves is delusional.”

Kris: “That’s kind of harsh …”

Murphy: “Oh, is it? You want to ask anybody who has to maintain a public rest room how harsh it is? How many of the students in your classes actually belong there?”

Kris: “The Administration tells us …”

Murphy: Screw the university’s administration! How many of your students, in any given class, would you be proud to say that you enabled their entry into any walk of life, never mind our own?

Kris: “Um … maybe one in five? In a good year?”

Murphy: “Precisely. And the rest are there why?

Kris: “Bums in seats, paying fees.”

Murphy: “Yes, I remember. We sold out. And it’s too late to go back. The universities are already in bidding wars for the dwindling numbers, and abilities, of students willing to fill those seats.”

 Kris:Sigh. All this over a damned wall.”

Murphy: “Holy facepalm, Batman. Please don’t tell me that you’ve bought into that fake news.”

Kris: “Ok, I won’t tell you.”

Murphy: “Argh. So what’s shut down? Whose people are out of work?”

Kris: “The TSA, for starters.”

Murphy: “No they’re not. Not yet. They’re all working without pay. And most of them are still working. Why? Because they know that, if they stop, We the Vandals of the United States of America will turn on them, and not on the ones actually responsible for their not working. While those behind the shutdown turn around and argue, ‘None of this would have happened if we had made airport security a private business instead of a Federal agency.’ Which will enrich the moguls like they wanted to get enriched in the first place. The same argument can be made for the Border Patrol – and you would think a President who was genuinely concerned about border security would not let the agency on which he is counting for that security go unfunded – even if it didn’t already have a catastrophic morale problem.”

Kris: “So …”

Murphy: “Who is shut down? The IRS. You think Mr. I’m-not-showing-you-my-tax-returns Trump, or any of his buddies, are unhappy about that? ‘But I won’t get my tax return on time!’ Yeah, well maybe that wouldn’t happen if we kept the money for ourselves and didn’t offer our government free three- and four-figure loans every year. But vandals are generally pathetic at managing their money. 

“The science agencies. NASA, NSF, most of NOAA, the Smithsonian. The arts agencies, of course. What better way to get rid of those pesky egghead know-it-alls?

“The Parks and Forest Service. Maybe if We the Vandals trash them efficiently enough during the shutdown, the National Parks and Forests can be turned over to the mining, logging, and agribusiness interests just as God intended.

“HUD. Goodbye, freeloaders!

“The parts of the government that Trump and his buddies care about are already funded. Everything left is on the neoconservative chopping block and has been since we seriously considered Newt Gingrich for President. While we’re all paying attention to the border nonsense, we’re finding out just how easy it will be to make all these other things that annoy the Rush Limbaugh’s of the world go away. And it will be very easy, because We the Vandals had our chance to make it stop at the last election, and didn’t take it. Which means, this is what We want.”

Kris: “But it sounds like you think, if We had taken our chance at the last election, by which I presume you mean the Democrats gaining both houses of Congress with sufficient majorities to impeach and convict Trump and render Pence toothless, that the alternative would be no improvement.”

Murphy: “The socialist ideology is no more useful than the neoconservative ideology. We need people who will tell us what we need to know, about ourselves and about our place in the world, rather than what we wish to hear; who will tell us that on the basis of evidence, not dogma; who will have the mana to induce us to accept what they’re telling us, and get us to do something constructive to improve things. Which will almost certainly mean hard work, and sacrifice, for just about everybody. We will not elect such people. They’re not entertaining.”

Kris: “So – besides finally getting this wine bottle opened and poured – what can we do about all this?”

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