Whose shutdown is it? It belongs to us


It is not Obama’s shutdown; it is not the Tea Party’s shutdown. It is neither the Republicans’ shutdown nor the Democrats’ shutdown. It is our shutdown. Ours, as in “we the people.”

It is ours because we have allowed the national media — both liberal and conservative — to do our thinking for us.

It is ours because we accept as fact and as being important the anecdotes about who will and will not be “hurt” by the shutdown.

It is ours because we accept as fact pundits’ assertions about who is in control of the machinery of the shutdown.

It is ours because we believe those who say the markets are affected, although they cannot point to a causal link.

It is ours because we elect and re-elect the Obamas, Boehners, Reids, Pelosis, and Cruzes — those we think will do the most for us as individuals, without regard for what they will do to the country — or for themselves.

It is ours because we tolerate a childish “mine is bigger than yours” mentality among the men who are in the highest seats of power in this country.

It is ours because we have allowed the schools to eliminate nearly every vestige of logical or critical thinking from their curricula and have reared two or three generations of people unable to think for themselves.

It is ours because we have allowed our government (the one of, for, by the people) to create a healthcare system that is so complicated it has introduced two new levels of middlemen, including Navigators and an army of computer programmers, between the patient and the provider. (Interesting that they seem still to be at work, despite the shutdown. Not all, but many, are on the federal payroll one way or another.)

It is ours because we have slopped at the public trough for so long we don’t know another way to live, and because we cannot accept that the trough is running dry and is being kept open only by unsustainable borrowing.

It might be difficult to draw causal links between the shutdown and some of what I have said. My contention is that we are wallowing in ennui, stupidity, and ignorance that distract us from reality and what is really important.

By the time this is published, it is not unlikely that the shutdown will be over. The players will have smiled and congratulated one another on their wisdom. They will have congratulated themselves on their victory and their steadfastness to their ideals. Politicians who cannot be trusted to keep their promises will have made promises.

The next crisis, likely the debt ceiling, will consume our attention. Our president will remember that he can’t be a real commander-in-chief without a war and will find a new excuse for American military action.

The propaganda machines of the left and the right will crank up and do their best to draw the mesmerized eyeballs of America from football and reality television.

And life will go on.

Paul Lentz
Peachtree City, Ga.