Hello everyone, and welcome to 111 Archer Avenue. What started as a film review blog has become my online judgment forum. I will review the occasional movie or DVD, post an interesting trailer, critique a newly-read book, talk about sports, and share my thoughts and opinions on random issues. You can also follow me on Twitter (@OlieCoen) or check out my work on DVDTalk.com. Thank you and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Thought - Government Shutdown

The big subject of the day is the Government Shutdown.  At least here in America it's the topic that's on our minds.  Well, that and postseason baseball, but you understand.  Basically, the House and the Senate can't agree on a restructured budget and so there is no budget.  Some government agencies will be forced to scale back, furlough workers, or gradually shut down.  The two sides have been having trouble developing a compromise for a while now, and now there's a new issue thrown in; "Obamacare".  The Republican-run House will only agree to a budget proposal from the Democratic-led Senate if it includes a repeal, delay, or undercut of the Affordable Care Act, a health care plan that they strongly disapprove of.  So the Senate proposes a budget bill, the House adds an anti-Obamacare measure, the Senate denies it, and it goes round & round until finally we arrive at today, when a budget cannot be agreed upon and the U.S. government can't operate at full capacity.

So, who's to blame?  Democrats say that the Republicans won't work with them, Republicans say that they're standing up for what they believe in, and meanwhile 800,000 workers don't get paychecks.  Something has obviously gone wrong.  This is not the system of checks & balances that was originally conceived to help keep Americans safe and the government running smoothly.  Congress as a whole has failed at their primary job and both sides are culpable.  I think the majority of Americans agree that the process is corrupt, that the party lines have been drawn so rigidly that absolutely nothing is getting done and our country is suffering from it.  What's the answer then, to dissolve political parties?  To deconstruct the federal government and give power solely to the states?  Or do we have to go further back in order to fix the problem?

Daniel Quinn, author of Ishmael, relates modern society to a great flying machine that has no chance at flight.  We've pushed ourselves off a cliff, we're soaring through the air, we're pumping our wooden wings as fast as they can go, and it seems like we're flying.  But in reality, we're falling faster and faster, doomed to crash inside a machine that was never working in the first place.  Just because our government and economy survived for 250 years doesn't mean that it was ever really working.  That amount of time is a blink of the eye in the universe, and another blink could find our entire civilization crumbling.  The Romans didn't last.  Neither did the Aztecs, the Ottomans, the British.  Empires fall, and perhaps the reason why is because they were never really flying.  They were floating over a given time, doomed to come back down to Earth eventually.

This won't be the last governmental crisis.  It isn't even the first.  It's just one more problem in a long line of problems of a system that is more flawed that we like to believe.  The question may not be which side is wrong or who's to blame or how do we fix this, but rather are we actually working as a society, is this experiment succeeding, or are we plummeting toward the inescapable end?  Perhaps this is the time to look at the bigger picture and attempt to develop some large-scale changes before the giant thing we've built up becomes crushed under its own weight.  I know it sounds idealistic or grandiose or unattainable, but if our societal structure is flawed then no amount of compromise is going to fix it; we'd have to start at the beginning and figure out where we went wrong.  Can we change our course if we are indeed headed toward an ultimate crash?  Probably not, so I guess we'd better just flap our wings, try our best, and not look down.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed... very well stated. Just tighten your seat belt and be ready for a rough flight.