I resisted writing this blog for two reasons. For starters, the shutdown episode happened in Season 5 so, technically, Aaron Sorkin didn’t write it. But since my blog isn’t called “Things Mark Goffman forgot to tell me” we are just going to roll with it (Mark Goffman wrote the episode, just in case you were wondering. Everyone one settled? Okay). The second reason is that I never in my wildest dreams thought it would last this long. Why spend time writing about something that is going to be over in 24 hours? So some federal workers get a free day off? Big deal.
Oh, but I was so very wrong. Turns out there were some things about the shutdown The West Wing forgot to tell me.
(Places soap box on ground)
There are many perks of living in the Nation’s Capital that DC residents have the privilege of enjoying. For example, I pay taxes without having a vote in Congress, our city’s budget is controlled by the very Congress I have no control over, and on any day of the week, my street will be locked down because of a suspicious package. Not to mention the mass shooting, the high speed chase around the Capitol building, and people lighting themselves on fire in protest on the National Mall. Oh, I’m sorry? Did that get too heavy for you as you read this from the comfort of your Congressional district? You who has a Representative and two Senators to advocate for your interests?
Where was I? Oh yes, the shutdown. So when the government shuts down the District of Columbia has to use reserve funds to get basic services like trash collection, paying teachers, and the opportunity to have the fire department show up if your house is on fire. No wonder we don’t get to be a state – we are so demanding.
There will be a bathroom shortage.
Guuuuuuuuuuuys, this is a serious problem. When the government shuts down so do all the public museums, public restrooms and Porta Johns on National Park land. Also known as the entirety of the National Mall. So imagine you are federal employee who doesn’t have anything to do besides worry about making rent and deciding whether or not use your shutdown fund to buy toilet paper or milk, because you can’t buy both, and you are out for a run. You find yourself on the National Mall and you have to use the loo. Well, no dice because they will be locked. So you will have to run to the nearest hotel, hope they don’t notice you are in running pants, and trespass in their lobby, thus threatening the security clearance you aren’t using because you can’t go to work. Or so I’ve been told.
Congress is the worst
Okay, so The West Wing does point out that Congress is pretty much the worst. I mean CJ spoke Solomon-like truth when she said, “We need someone perceived by the American people to be irresponsible, untrustworthy, partisan, ambitious, and thirsty for the limelight. Am I crazy, or is this not a job for the U. S. House of Representatives?”
Every reporter who has written a trend piece about how Millennials are the worst generation needs to issue a formal apology. You say Millennials are entitled, lazy, egoistical, and don’t know how to work?! Well, I don’t know want to pass judgment on who the worst generation is, but the U.S. House of Representatives must make up a majority of it. They take entitlement to a whole new level. You shut down the government and then have the gall to complain that veterans can’t visit the World War II Memorial and families can’t go to the Grand Canyon? And you can’t even leave that alone, you have to try and badger some poor Park Ranger into saying she’s “ashamed” of doing the job she was forced to do by you and your buddies on the Hill? Is it just me or wouldn’t you prefer a 20-something who wants to play ping-pong in the office break-room to a hypocritical blowhard like that?
You know what? I can’t hold The West Wing responsible for not preparing me for the shutdown – not even Hollywood could think up something this crazy.
(Steps off soap box)