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On government shutdown, try a little 'What, me worry?'

October 09, 2013|By Paul Whitefield
  • Lawmakers arrive for a news conference on the ongoing budget battle Wednesday in Washington.
Lawmakers arrive for a news conference on the ongoing budget battle Wednesday… (Evan Vucci / Associated…)

Aaaarrgghhhh, the government is shut down, the debt ceiling is threatening to fall, we’re all doomed!

Or not.

Wednesday was Day 9 of the little government that can’t, with no sign that we’re not headed for Day 10, and Day 11, and maybe Month 1 and Month 2. We’re in triple digits when it comes to pundits and pols pointing fingers. In fact, there’s so much spinning, you’d think Rumpelstiltskin was running D.C.

But, like Alfred E. Neuman (Google him, kids), I’ve adopted a “What, me worry?” attitude.

And no, it’s not that I’m a dolt, or a tea party Republican -- wait, is that redundant? Hardly. My attitude can be summed up in one word: Syria.

Lost you? Well, climb into my Wayback machine, all you Shermans. Let’s go back just a few weeks. Syria and its chemical weapons dominated the news. Hundreds dead in a chemical weapons attack near Damascus. President Obama’s “red line” had been crossed. The jets and the Tomahawks and the Navy warships were all warmed up and ready to go.

Worse, we were standing toe to toe with the Russkies, again. Armageddon was just a misstep away.

Except, except, it wasn’t. Secretary of State John F. Kerry went off-script, suggesting that Syria could give up its chemical weapons. Surprisingly, the Russians took him seriously. More surprisingly, so did the Syrians. The next thing you know, weapons inspectors were headed to Syria. They are there now, working to meet a U.N. deadline to deal with the arms. The job isn’t easy, what with a civil war going on. But it’s happening. Crisis (probably) solved.

So you’ll excuse me if I don’t get too worked up about the U.S. government’s gears grinding, and the debt ceiling looming, and John Boehner preening, and Obama growling, and Ted Cruz crowing.

In fact, this is all starting to feel a little like a movie: “Men in Black.” Recall how Will Smith’s character freaks out over the  Arquillian Battle Cruiser that's about to destroy Earth, and Tommy Lee Jones’ character sets him straight: “There's always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet, and the only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they do not know about it!”

So maybe that’s the best solution to our latest crisis: If we just throttle back the breathless, overheated 24/7 news cycle, we can all go back to our happy lives. Though it’s still a miserable little planet, one that’s rapidly warming, scientists tell us (but that’s a different crisis).

“What, me worry?” is my motto.

However, do you suppose there really is an Arquillian Battle Cruiser bearing down on us?


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