But leave it to the US government to ruin our vacation plans by shutting itself down. On October 1, we were on a flight to Las Vegas.
We wanted to kayak and cliff jump into Lake Mead or rock climb at Red Rock during our four days in that beautiful area, but our plans were stymied by this government's complete incompetence and stupidity. The National Parks which we so desired to experience and appreciate were closed.
Indeed, the US Congress has given all new meaning to "National Lampoon," and in my own personal life I'm sorry to say that they took on Chevy Chase's role in what could otherwise have been a marvelous Vegas Vacation.
But my personal grudge against this Congress aside, I think that a post regarding this ridiculous government shutdown is long overdue. So now that I'm back to work, if I may share a few thoughts....
Most of my Dem or liberal friends will disagree with me, saying "no it's the stubbornness of the GOP and Tea Party, which refuse to come to terms with the new health care law." But anyone who's honest with him or herself can see the stubbornness in bipartisan gridlock. And while it might be presumed that Obama and the Democrats should not have to bend to the will of the right wing after the healthcare bill has been passed with due process, it's worth noting that we really do have too much debt and an unbalanced budget - issues that must be resolved sooner or later.
So why, pray tell, aren't our leaders on either side of the aisle suggesting that we cut costs for the military, FBI, so-called homeland security, or prisons?
And why hasn't medicinal marijuana been legalized at the federal level, given the widely recognized therapeutic effects of the plant. We can only wonder whether affordable and accessible marijuana would make a positive impact on our nation's wellness and healthcare.
But I digress.
I have long argued that there would be more than enough money for healthcare, education, infrastructure, etc if we didn't spend half the discretionary budget on the military or give tax breaks to the rich and corporations. There are plenty of common sense answers to the problems we face, but Congress would rather do the bidding of "too big to fail" banks and corporations (see: tax breaks and bailouts) than save the country and constituents that voted them into office.
If it were congressional paychecks on the chopping block, they would have come to a solution long ago. But unsurprisingly, they are exempt from the furloughs. If you ask me, they and Obama should be the ones working unpaid until this is all worked out. If that had been the arrangement in the first place, there's no doubt that this shutdown would have been prevented.