I drove across the lakes states recently. Like most states, Minnesota is financially screwed. Their Republican controlled congress looked at an oncoming fiscal problem and waited for it like a stoned zombie deer in headlights. Then, when time had almost run out and hope seemed to be fading, they passed a balanced budget!
…which was immediately vetoed by the Democratic governor. God bless politics!
So Minnesota’s government is now “shut down”. Both parties are trying to shift blame to the other side. The press is egging them on like a bully making two wimps in a sandbox slap each other silly. I know it’s serious but it has the feel of farce. The two parties used to have legitimate differences but the logic boat sailed months ago. Since they didn’t hash out a wise (or unwise!) solution over an entire legislative year (and overtime); everyone looks just as bad as they should look. It’s sad and it’s dark but I prefer to take solace in it’s inner humor. My great nation has two parties reduced to a couple morons in a kiddie pool trying to stay clean by bailing the pee onto the other guy.
This is no way meant to disparage the good people of Lake Woebegone. This show is going to be replayed everywhere. We’ve already had previews; California (always the first over the cliff) was handing out IOU’s in ’09, the Federal government nearly shut down in April, and the debt ceiling “debate” is going into sudden death overtime.
Check your calendar…I believe there is an election of some import in about sixteen months. The stupid will flow thick from now on!
The money has run out and a generation of flower sniffers has no idea how to adapt. They wove a fiscal Gordian knot with debt and hope and they won’t seriously try to unwind it until a couple dozen whacks to the head explains it to them; good and hard.
But then changes will happen. I’m a glass is half full guy! Messy Democracy bumping into the limits of wishful thinking is better than other systems encountering the same thing. The Soviets had an unreal system too but they kept the lid on it for the better part of a century. Americans going to the mat over budgets means real (non-Obama) change is here. Change is ugly. This year has been bad and next year will be worse. But it’s better than a society sealed in lead.
While driving I pondered what I’d encounter in a “shutdown”. I mused that the timing was off. Not too long ago Wisconsin went through it’s own orgy of suck. Madison, the home planet of the kool aid drinkers, just couldn’t take all that dour Midwestern self reliance and went into fits.
What was the oppression that merited massive protests? Making teachers pay more toward their retirement. Molehill…meet Everest.
Despite it’s farcical nature it was a fine show. Teachers with megaphones barking insults at a recently and fairly elected governor standing on solid legal ground? You have to hand it to the folks at Madison, they really thought a wage reduction for state employees was like Lech Walesa standing up to the Soviets.
I’d just crossed most of Wisconsin and despite what you might have been told, everything there is peachy. Society doesn’t crumble if teachers are in the same boat as the rest of us. Who knew?
Wouldn’t it have made my trip extra special if both states had gone apeshit simultaneously? I’d call it the “2011 Tour of Reality Denial”. I’d make t-shirts and everything! It’s sad when schedules just don’t work out. But I’m an optimist. Just in case things got weird I had my camera in the passenger seat.
As I motored into Minnesota, Public Radio stations fretted that the time of Armageddon was nigh. I was driving into apocalypse. Without continued State spending, wolves would be tearing at the flesh of Dickensian urchins, hippies selling raw milk would kill us all, the power grid would implode, polar bears would die, and our dashed dreams would fade amid the smoking ruins of a fallen world.
If I had the slightest belief that Public Radio was correct, I’d change plans immediately. I’d no more drive into a disaster than I’d sit in a New Orleans hurricane waiting for the tide to rise. Curmudgeons take action so they don’t have to go to the Superdome! If a tenth of the predictions rang true I’d cancel my plans and make tracks for free and stable Iowa!
Fortunately, Public Radio is bullshit. The Rubicon of news bias was crossed years ago. Listening to Public Radio is listening to Pravda.
My entrance was the anti-climactic opposite of the red sunset of doom the radio predicted. It looked like another sunny summer day in America’s fortunate heartland. Being a curious Curmudgeon I sniffed around to see what the real effects were. I didn’t see much. Then, at a gas station, I saw the first sign of punitive ineffectualism.
Stay tuned for part II wherein I brave the world of a State shutdown.