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Apocalypse Now

As we write this a shutdown of the federal government seems imminent, so we’ve already begun our preparations for the promised apocalypse. We’ve stocked up on barely-legal semi-automatic weaponry and have plenty of ammunition, which should be more readily available if the Department of Homeland Security goes on furlough, and have cancelled our plans to visit a national park.
Women, minorities, the elderly, and visitors to the national parks always seem to suffer most during these intermittent shutdowns, judging by the histrionic coverage that invariably follows in the traditional media, but we’re keeping the extra firepower on hand just in case the more dire predictions of complete societal breakdown are at long last realized. Having grown up in the ‘70s era of dystopian futurist motion pictures we have a vague notion of how to survive a complete societal breakdown, and having lived through the entirety of the ‘60s we have some real-life experience of it, so we feel ready for anything this latest government shutdown might bring. We’re hopeful it won’t require the Mohawk hairdos and football padding featured in the “Mad Max” movies, as that is not a good look for us, but otherwise we say bring it on. Should we happen upon a half-buried Statue of Liberty in the near future, we’ve already rehearsed the part where we drop to our knees and shake a fist while shouting “Damn you, damn you to hell.”
A more realistic worry is that the Republicans will be blamed for whatever minor inconveniences ensue, and even by the time of the ’14 mid-term elections the public’s wrath will still be stoked enough to result in a predominantly-Democratic Congress and empowered Democratic president much like that one that begat the regrettable Obamacare law which seems to be the cause of the current fuss. This is a distinct possibility, if the conventional wisdom is any guide, and we have no doubt the consequences would be far more catastrophic than anything the most feverish Hollywood imaginations of the ‘70s could conceive. Even so, the Republicans’ foolhardy stand against Obamacare is well worth the risk.
For one thing, the most dire predictions seem far-fetched. Government workers who are delayed their overpayment might well remember the affront a year from November, but they’ll be voting Democrat in any case. For the rest of us the shutdown will be long forgotten by that far-off date, while the myriad annoyances of Obamacare will still be very much with us, so it will require even more than the usual Republican ineptness to allow the Democrats to re-take the House. The latest polling by CNN is given is the usual Democratic spin, but a closer look at the numbers suggests that the Obama’s regal refusal to negotiate with the Republicans on his namesake healthcare legislation is not playing well with the electorate. There’s an outside chance that the Republicans might even benefit from the imbroglio, and looking ahead to the inevitable full implementation of Obamacare and its full complete unpopularity he resistance might even prove a political masterstroke. That would top anything in the movies, but it’s within the realm of possibility in this crazy day and age.
Once those twenty-something dullards out there realize that Obamacare does not mean free health care, but rather paying for privilege of being uninsured, the already desultory number of supports is going to further plummet. Whatever the effects of the government shutdown, the party that that insisted upon it rather than accept any delay in this stupid law will be held accountable.

— Bud Norman

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