Government Dysfunction Political Correspondent
In what is becoming an annual event, Americans across the nation are preparing to celebrate Government Shutdown Eve this Wednesday, September 30. As always, American families will gather together, throw a party, and watch in awe as their government can’t get its shit together long enough to fund itself. Now that America has entered its fifth consecutive year with one or more major funding issues deferred until the absolute latest point possible and then hastily “solved” (usually by being deferred some more, somehow), many families have begun to adopt traditions that they follow every Government Shutdown Eve. As a special holiday column, readme’s political correspondent decided to look into how observers celebrate the occasion and found three traditions shared by almost everyone:
- The ritual sparring match between the eldest unmarried men of an extended family, representing the eternal partisan bickering between the two parties. One man’s face is painted blue to represent the Democrats and the other’s is red for the Republicans. Like the Congressional debate itself, the match is long, arduous, and above all, kind of depressing to watch, and the outcome of the bout is seen as an omen for which party will be saddled with the blame for this particular tedious and completely avoidable crisis.
- The reading aloud of the US tax code at the dinner table. Since tradition holds that the entire 70,000+ page tax code must be read before anyone is allowed to eat, guests quickly become restless, hungry, and discontent, and are rarely able to eat before the holiday ends at midnight (or whenever the Senate finally concludes its last-minute compromise talks). In fact, only one instance of successfully reading the entire tax code in anything resembling a timely manner has been recorded, and that was by a professional speedreader who collapsed in exhaustion immediately after reading the final exemption.
- The Two Minutes’ Sadness. At the commencement of holidaymaking, all participants are invited to take two minutes to contemplate sadly how our nation’s great democratic experiment has devolved into a mess of hyperpartisan gamesmanship at the expense of good governance. At the end of the two minutes, everyone gives a loud and protracted sigh, and only then can festivities truly begin.
And with that, readme’s political correspondent would like to wish you an unhappy Government Shutdown Eve and a disenchanting New Fiscal Year.