Telenovela
14 April, 2011
Telenovela

In New York Times, my last free article of this month, I read a piece that compared the possible shutdown of US government to a game of poker. The writer speculated on who in the government had a tell, who wasn’t bluffing and who would end up holding all the aces. First of all not one person or party holds all the aces, unless the republicans are in charge, then they do whatever they want, and its usually not anything worth

repeating. When the Democrats controlled both House and the Senate which should have equaled all four aces, they bickered so much amongst each other that a fifth ace showed up in a form of the voting population and voted half of them out of the office. Now a joker has been thrown into this deck of cards, and it goes by the name of the Tea Party. This is a group that puts the Republic party to shame. With their complete and utter devotion to all things Regan, to never saying the word ‘compromise’, and by treating anyone who is not a Tea Party member as ‘anti-American Nazi Fascist’, the Tea Party is on a whole different level of extremism. This is the Party partly responsible for stalling the talks between the two ruling parties, because and here I am quoting a Tea Party member “compromise is for losers”.
Since 1975 the US had shut down the government seventeen times. For most of the population, the shutdown means absolutely nothing, but to the thousands of government workers left for weeks at a time without pay, its quite serious. Not only do they not get paid for the weeks the government is shut down, they also can get a fine up to $5,000.00 if they so much as answer a work related email or phone call. At a CDC (center for Disease Control) meeting, it was explained that working during the government shutdown was a fireable offence. One worker raised a question, a fireable offence as in death by a firing squad? He was about to loose his paycheck, but he retained his sense of humor. The offense wasn’t quite as extreme, but jail time was mentioned. If only we could do the opposite with members of Congress, we would have a much more productive government.
This time it turned out no one needed to be threatened with jail time. At the last moment last Friday the US government came to a conclusion, to keep the suspense going for another week. This is no longer a game of cards, all cards are on the table. No, this sounds more like a telenovela - a limited-run television serial drama popular in Latin and South America. As far as the plot line goes, it should be quite clear and yet the more time goes by, it keeps getting murkier. To avoid a shut down an evil step mother (at this moment Republicans) and a fairy god mother (Democrats) have to come to an agreement about which cute little Disney mouse helping Cinderella (the public), has be thrown to the cats (budget cuts). But the closer the deadline loomed the harder it was to differentiate the good from the bad and the ugly. When the Tea Party joined in the mix, at least it became obvious who the ugly was. The two Ugly sisters (Tea Party members Michele Bachmann and Rand Paul) did everything in their power to shut the government down. Cinderella believed the shut down was unavoidable and prepared to be turned into a pumpkin.
On Friday, the clock struck midnight, and the country breathed a sign of relief. No one was turned into a pumpkin, because at the last minute, Congress passed a resolution that would keep US government operational for another week. Apparently even though Tea Party members have no use for word “compromise”, the saner parts of the Congress do. Both sides claimed victory and even the Prince Charming (President) didn’t mind getting a piece of the credit for solving this problem. It was a fairy tale ending.
Tune in next week to watch the telenovela in which we find out what happened to Cinderella’s glass slipper (American dream)?

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