10/3/13

Bill Watterson's Guide to Government Shutdown

A government shutdown sounds like a frightening ordeal, a reminder of America's constant struggles with factions and political inefficiencies. A shutdown may seem like a good time for officials to reconsider their policies and perhaps realize that their partisan bickering isn't worth the embarrassment of a shutdown. After all, officials are elected to serve their voters and their nation, and a government shutdown seems awfully suggestive of a failure in these duties.

Yet according to this NPR article, Republicans and Democrats alike have responded to the crisis by  simply increasing fundraising efforts. Both parties have used the situation to highlight their opposition's incompetencies, and have not hesitated to cash in on the crisis. Instead of considering the shutdown as a reminder of their obligations to their nation, partisan leaders have simply played the blame game, launching disgusting attacks in hopes of raising funds. Paul Ryan's words are a good example -
"The foundation of our democracy is built upon accountability. And the Republican National Committee has made it their mission to hold accountable each and every Democrat who chooses to embrace the President's health care train wreck at the expense of their constituents."
Ryan argues that the Republican party must hold the Democrats accountable for "embrac[ing] the President's health care train wreck at the expense of their constituents." Yet, he fails to mention any possible accountability that his party might hold (for obvious reasons); Ryan's perspective seems massively self-centered, which destroys any ethos he might have accumulated through reputation or past arguments. 

And the Democrats are not exempt from this type of behavior. An excerpt from one of the Vice President's DNC fundraising emails illustrate this -
"If you've been watching what's been happening here in Washington over the past couple of weeks, and you still think you need more reasons to support Democrats over Republicans, I'm not sure what to tell you. The choice is pretty clear."
According to NPR, fundraising efforts have been extremely effective; the Democrats gathered $850,000 in the 24 hours before the shutdown. Republicans raked in $1 million between Monday and Wednesday. In reality, the ease with which literate Americans are swayed by such partisan propaganda is even scarier than the fundraising efforts themselves.

Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes, November 28, 1985

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