The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


October 20, 2013

Life goes on

The sun rose again in the east today.

Normally, that wouldn’t be news to most of us. But the hysterical tone of our elected officials in Washington, the media and federal bureaucrats over the “government shutdown” made it seem like the entire universe was in danger of collapse.

Well, maybe their universe, not ours.

Back here in the real world, things went on pretty much as usual.

The leaves kept turning on the hardwoods, from green to the sumptuous fall palette of yellows and reds.

Older people passed, and we hope, to a better place. Although odds being odds, some may not have reached that particular paradise.

The miracle of birth continued to balance those losses, and the joy of mothers and fathers and grandparents bloomed as it always does with an addition to the family, and all the promise that new human life brings.

High school homecomings came and went, and the kings and queens took their moment of glory, to be memorialized forever in the pages of school yearbooks.

The baseball playoffs didn’t miss a game toward their progress to the World Series, and college and pro football teams continued to march toward their rich reward of bowl games and the Super Bowl.

The financial markets rolled right along, bubbling upward despite the apocalyptic predictions from the New York and Washington media.

You may have noticed that the federal government, trying to make the political wrestling match as painful as possible for the normal citizens it allegedly serves, shut down some of our historical monuments, including the shrines honoring our military veterans.

Only to see those veterans break through the barricades.

When you’ve survived Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, the Chosin Reservoir, the Ia Drang Valley, Iraq and Afghanistan, police tape and a few padlocks aren’t much of a test.

We also noticed that not much had really changed for us personally. We investigated, and found that federal taxes were still coming out of our paychecks.

We didn’t even notice that some federal agencies were missing. We learned that within the Environmental Protection Agency, only 3 percent of employees were deemed “essential.”

We have to ask how many businesses would stay in business when 97 percent of their workers were “non-essential.”

The whole circus reminds us of the movie “The Hunger Games,” where the capital was a place of riches and plenty, and the districts that funded the finery and opulence were places of poverty and want. It’s the kind of story that writers and filmmakers set in the future, but we suspect it’s really about the present.

So the politicians, the lobbyists, the bureaucrats and the Washington media are relieved that their comfortable universe is once again back in its rightful order, and they are returned to their exalted and deserving places.

If they ever thought that much about us, they might ask us if we missed them. The only answer we can give: Not much.

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