Sneering at D.C.

First off, Jeff Jarvis‘ commentary on the U.S. debt crisis has made me quite a fan. I’ve caught most of his tweets from the last week or so (including the now infamous #fuckyouwashington craze) and the quick, piquant arguments he makes evoke the literary attitude of Roy Peter Clark – another voice worth hearing.

My point in writing anything about the 11th-hour political theater in Washington is to simply vent some anger.

This particular news story, over which the national media have had a delightfully obsessed feeding frenzy, is sad on many levels.

It’s sad that this deep into modern human history, we still rely on elected officials to do our bidding. Here’s a major thought nugget: Anyone willing to run for political office undoubtedly has some kind of absurd, ego-driven problem with their place in society. I won’t go so far as to say that voting is for hacks, but, in the end, all we’re left with is hacks.

And here we are, on the threshold of what’s been billed as an historical disaster for the country. Even moreso, the potential consequences of economic default are individual disasters for the hundreds of millions of people who live here – the people who never sought political office – the people who work hard to achieve dreams that matter to them and to society at large – the people who cast misdirected hope toward leaders who are supposed to lead us in times of crisis.


That’s what we’ve got. It’s Friday evening, several days before the Treasury-appointed deadline to pass legislation that would raise the debt ceiling.

At this point, the situation in Washington seems grimmer than ever. Sure, there have been darker days in this country’s history. But the mindless games they’re playing in Congress run so contrary to common sense.

It calls to mind the opening lines of a poem I wrote in college:

“Rivulets of blood flow southward out of Washington

And the days of old are remembered only in silent basements.”

What will the summer of 2011 look like in the history books?

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