A history lesson

Dear daughter of the future,

I’d like to tell you a little story about a crazy thing that happened in this (still? I hope?) great country of ours when you were still an adorable, clueless kid.

So, once upon a time, a bunch of important people, whose job it is to make laws, followed all the rule-making rules and passed a big new law to make sure everyone can have access to health care. (I don’t know why I’m talking to you like you’re still 6. I’m sure you’ve had US History and basic Poli Sci by now.) There were some other people who got their panties in a bunch over it, for reasons that are still unclear to me, because everyone gets sick and wants to see a doctor when they’re sick, but whatever. Panties bunched.

Their undergarments were soooooooooo thoroughly knotted and twisted that they just COULDN’T. LET. IT. GO. Even as the good stuff from the law started to happen: young people getting to stay on their parents’ insurance… Preventative health services without a copay… No exclusions for preexisting conditions… Inarguably positive, happy shiny stuff. And even after the Supreme Court put its giant “CONSTITUTIONAL” stamp on the front page of the law (that’s what they do after they make a decision, right? I’m picturing a red stamp.), they continued to keep themselves up at night resenting it, even though it was actually based on one of their ideas but WHATEVER NOW IT’S SOCIALISM.

So 4 years later, when even the sorest of losers would have gotten over it already, they decided to react like absolute toddlers.

I know toddlers, which is why I recognize clear toddler behavior when I see it.

It’s like when your toddler passes the toddler-height candy display at the store checkout. Mommy goal: get out of the store with wallet, sanity and dignity intact, in that order.

“Mommy, can I have a candy bar?”

“No, honey, you can’t have a candy bar. Here are a million logical reasons why you can’t, all related to your physical and emotional health and well being. And also, the rules say I get to decide when you can and can’t have a candy bar, because I’m the mommy. Sorry, kid.”

Toddler responds by throwing himself on the ground and refusing to move until they GET THAT CANDY BAR MOMMY I WANT THE CANDY BAR WAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH IM NOT MOVING TIL I GET MY CANDY BAR WAAAHHHHHHHH

You get the idea.

You’re stuck. The fastest way out of that store is to buy the stupid f-ing candy bar.

But a) you can’t let that little terrorist keep you hostage in the store until you meet his crazy conditions. Leaving the store and buying the candy are and must remain two separate issues. You should NOT be asked to pay a candy ransom in order to be allowed to go home to bedtime and a glass or two of well-earned vino.

And b) If you cave this time and buy the candy bar, that’s it. You are committing yourself to checkout-line candy tantrums from now until college. Just go ahead and create the Mint spending category now – “checkout ransom” could work – so that you can accurately tag all future purchases appropriately.

Luckily, no one in that store bats an eye when you end the standoff by physically removing your screaming toddler from the store. Possibly being carried over the shoulder. A few dirty looks might come your way (oh sure, like they’ve never been there) but at least the crisis is over.

So there we are. Except with adults, so they don’t get to blame their behavior on their developmental stage. And instead of demanding a candy bar – low stakes – they’re demanding the defunding of the Affordable Care Act – high stakes for the millions of people who were about to be able to sign up for affordable health insurance. They’re so committed to not losing face (DON’T BLINK) that they’re willing to shut down the entire federal government til they get what they want.

OMG. I just figured out how to end the standoff. And create a new revenue stream for the Feds!

Because really, the question is, who WOULDN’T pay to see Obama throw Boehner over his shoulder and walk out of the Capitol?

(You can thank me later, B.)

So there you have it, DOTF. The entire federal government was shut down because a bunch of overgrown toddlers were angry that people were about to get health insurance. FIN.

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