Three Lessons Children Can Learn From The Government Shutdown

Government Shutdown

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Clowns to the left of me,

Jokers to the right, here I am,

Stuck in the middle with you.

Stealers Wheel

That about describes are politicians these days and the resulting government shutdown. Wouldn’t you agree?

You may consider yourself right wing. You may consider yourself left wing. Yet, ultimately, government shutdown or not we are all stuck in the middle together.

You get that. I get that. Why the hell don’t our politicians get that?

I have strong political views. Don’t believe me? Ask my dad blogger pals Dennis D. (Dennis’ Blog) and Tom B. (Tom’s Blog) Anyway, I decided a while back that this was not the forum where I wanted to express them.

So, I will look at this government shutdown as an opportunity to teach children what not to do. Seriously, maybe we should make every politician reread Robert Fulghum’s All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.

Here is what the politicians are saying and doing and how I believe parents would advise their children if they behaved in the same way.

I AM NOT NEGOTIATING. This is the mantra of President Obama and Harry Reid and those on the left.

Are you kidding me?

Imagine your child telling you he/she refuses to do something? Pisses you off right? Anyway, you would do your best to calmly explain that this is not what we do. People have to talk and appreciate what the other side is saying. They may have valid points. And besides, we all have to live together. So, we should do our best to try and consider other points of view.

HOT POTATO. You know the game? Well, a brief description courtesy of Wikipedia goes like this, “Hot potato is a party game that involves players gathering in a circle and tossing a small object such as a beanbagor tennis ball to each other while music plays. The player who is holding the “hot potato” when the music stops is out. Play continues until only one player is left.” This was the strategy of House Republicans on Monday night.

Again, I ask are you kidding me?

Imagine your child telling you it’s not his/her fault. Well, somebody else had/did it last. Might you answer, “So what!!” It’s called responsibility. Don’t blame someone else and make it seem as if you are guiltless. If you were there and you partook in the happenings, you are responsible as well. You need to try to make things right.

PLAYING POLITICS. Left, right, both sides are doing this. According to, this term means “Intrigue or maneuvering within a political unit or group in order to gain control or power.”

Once more, join me – are you kidding me?

Imagine your child is power tripping, and it is hurting others. I think you might tell him/her, “that’s not nice.” Even though you may have good intentions, you need to consider that you are hurting people. Figure out a way to do the right thing that does not harm others.

Yes, I know I am simplifying things, and that there is a deep divide in the country. However, ultimately we are stuck together. So politicians  negotiate, don’t play hot potato, and stop playing politics. That’s a way to end the government shutdown.

Even children understand these lessons.

17 thoughts on “Three Lessons Children Can Learn From The Government Shutdown

  1. I really liked the way you approached this subject and related it to being a parent. As I’m in the UK and have been following this story from a distance, it does feel that the politicians responsible for the deadlock have failed to put the overall interest of the nation first here.

    • Thanks Jonathan.
      I think many of the politicians have a view of how things should be and are at least somewhat genuine in their thinking that it is the best for the country. However, the way they are going about it ultimately is proving harmful.

  2. I don’t think you are oversimplifying (much!) and it is an awful situation we are in – it’s good to be able to break it down into terms that everyone can understand! Mr. T and I were watching the Science channel and the show was about black holes and so I went to see where our black hole was… and the NASA website was down! Mr. T is like “yup, NASA is shut down, too” That was the first time the government shut down had affected me!

    And don’t get me started. But, there should be a constitutional amendment that Congress cannot exempt themselves from any law they pass and that when they government is shut down over budget issues, their paychecks should stop… just like the rest of the funding. Agh! Okay – I’m done.

    • That exmeptions pisses me off too. It’s condesecending. Doen’t the law apply to everyone? If it’s good enough for the people, it should be good enough for the politicians.

  3. I’d like to have a grown up conversation about this, but every time I get anywhere near the news my brain seizes up and I can’t hear anything anymore.

    I vote for you to run the country, Larry!

    • I appreciate your support. I have thought about running for a while now. What role would you like in my administration?

  4. Oh boy…this is most definitely a hot potato of a topic! There’s also the “he started it” game, which seems quite popular at the moment.

    (Serious concerns about the AHA notwithstanding, I do find it inappropriate to attach concessions regarding the Act to the somewhat routine but absolutely essential task of raising the debt ceiling. Granting concessions on such grounds seem to me akin to paying the ransom.)

    • I am not get into the political part of it – I have strong opinions and know they are not necessarily the popular opinions. Either way, politicians need to come to an agreement and recognize they wont get everything they want – just like children!

  5. Ok, I have to admit, I haven’t been following the political saga down in the States. Actually, I don’t follow the political sagas up here either. However, I can’t believe they resorted to literally shutting down one of the biggest countries world. Even I know that’s a bad idea. Hopefully it will be short lived.

  6. It is shameful and there is no excuse for this. I hold all sides accountable here. In the real world people would be fired for this kind of nonsense.

  7. I lean left. And you’re right, both sides do share some of the blame. But, in child-rearing metaphors, this most reminds me of the kid who holds his breath until he gets what he wants. He doesn’t care if it makes him pass out or it’s bad for him, too. He’s throwing a tantrum and attempting to hold his parents hostage. As a parent, you don’t want to “negotiate” with that child, though you do want to resolve the situation peaceably and in a way that the child knows this is not proper behavior.

    • I am going to stay out of the left right thing here. Howewever, I think your metaphor can be applied to both sides. The problem is that until they both grow up, the country suffers.

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