A Short Word: Shutdown 2018 Recap

Just in case anyone is actually keeping score, the government shutdown came and went in just 3 days. As far as I’m aware, there were no catastrophic losses of life, the national economy didn’t collapse, the stock market didn’t tank, and the internet was conspicuously uninterrupted (I would have noticed if it was). All in all, it seems that Armageddon was avoided, yet again. That’s 19 of 19 times the government has shut down without total anarchy resulting.

So what were all of the harbingers of hyperbole online and in the media going on about? Assuming everyone has made it safely up from the shadowy confines of their subterranean bunkers by now, I’m left almost as underwhelmed by this last political impasse as I am by its resolution.

Did the “really great deal maker” manage to get an annual budget out of Congress? No, just another continuing resolution. Did the “stable genius” manage to get funding for his border wall in the aftermath of the government shut down? No, and now Schumer has predictably pulled that from the table.

Basically, we don’t have an annual budget, which both sides dysfunctionally blame on the other, yet both sides claim victory, even when noone got anything they wanted. Nothing has changed, and the larger fights over DACA and immigration reforms remain. With the impending midterm elections, there’s no real hope of this climate of mutual antagonism improving. Why, exactly, are we tolerating this?

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

The path beaten between the two political camps has been so harassed, pounded, and flogged that there isn’t so much as a hint of a twig or tuft of grassy compromise growing from the bare and tortured rock. If the goal of all of this vitriol is obtaining the moral equality ostensibly sought by the Democrats or the economic opportunity that the Republicans claim to seek, I am hard pressed to find anywhere on this barren political wasteland that a middle ground can be cultivated. Does that mean a middle ground outside of the forced political dichotomy of Democrats versus Republicans cannot exist?

I have to hope there must be and that, as a nation, We the People still possess the ability to imagine an arrangement of political affairs where equal protection of the basic human rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness aren’t the perpetual playthings of politicians who are too often in the de facto service of corporate lobbies and conglomerated interest groups. Isn’t what is lost in the current debate that both political parties are, at least on some moral issues, correct?

Here’s a simple observation: the left is correct to complain when the right advocates for the INS to interfere in the lives, liberties, and livelihood of nonviolent immigrants, but, by that very same moral measure, the right is correct to complain when the left advocates for the IRS to interfere in the lives, liberties, and livelihoods of nonviolent citizens. Can we agree that government shouldn’t interfere in the lives and livelihoods of anyone unless they actually harmed someone else?

Is it time yet for a new political party based on leaving people alone when they aren’t hurting anyone else? I think so. Don’t you?

Liberty is For The Win!

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