By Ben Tullis, UVU Review Copy Editor
What do James Bond, Charles “Chuck” Bartowski, Richard Castle and other people from television, books and movies have in common?
OK, besides the fact that they are all fictional characters.
The answer is that all of them stopped a bomb from going off with only seconds to spare. People watch or read these tense scenes with undivided attention, wondering if their beloved character will be able to stop the bomb before time runs out.
This past week, a metaphorical bomb went off in real life. Republicans and Democrats couldn’t get along, and the government shut down. Unlike the fictional characters previously mentioned, however, the people who could have prevented this disaster did nothing to stop it.
This “bomb” had been ticking down for months — yes, months. All the politicians in Washington had to do was find some way to prevent the event from occurring. So, what did they do? They stood in front of the “bomb,” (Metaphorically, of course. After all, politicians aren’t fictional heroes.) and gave grand speeches, one of which lasted 21 hours in which, among other things, we learned the very important fact that Chinese gooseberries don’t actually come from China and that the black box on airplanes is actually orange. They stood in front of reporters and recalled the horrors that occurred the last time the government shut down.
For months the politicians told us about the dangers of a government shutdown, but not one of them did anything to solve the problem. The closer the time came the more it became apparent that the goal was not to actually keep the “bomb” from going off, but to find a way to blame the other side for the damage that would occur.
Well, the “bomb” did explode, and people and businesses are wounded. In the aftermath, some people said we shouldn’t worry; it was only “non-essential” people who were hurt and lost their jobs in the blast. The people who lost their “non-essential” jobs, however, would argue that their job is very essential for them to be able to pay their mortgage or rent. Their job is essential for them to be able to buy groceries and feed their families. But don’t worry the people who caused this mess are still getting paid. What a relief.
With the government shutdown, national parks and monuments were closed. This might not seem like a big deal until you think about the millions of dollars that are being lost, including here in Utah, by people and cities who depend on tourists to come to these places and spend money. And forget about those people who have come from all over the world to see these unique and wonderful parks and monuments. I guess they need to do a better job of planning ahead and learn to not schedule their trip during a time when American politicians aren’t getting along.
“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” This quote is attributed to Mark Twain and the words are as true today as they were when he said them. Our “leaders” in Washington, from the President to every single member of Congress, are a bunch of selfish bureaucrats who care more about themselves and their party than they do about the American people. If a political “bomb” goes off and people are hurt, the only thing that matters to them is that the other side gets blamed.
So, what have we learned from this government shutdown? You would have a better chance of surviving a bomb with a fictional hero who only had seconds to diffuse a bomb than you would standing next to a real-life politician who had months to do the same thing.