Children in Suits

Updated: October 1, 2013


By J.E. McCollough

Honestly, I don’t care who’s fault it is. Republicans, Democrats, Tea Party, Obama. Doesn’t matter. I remember when me and my brothers were fighting in the back seat of the car when we were kids, my mom would keep one hand on the wheel and reach back with the other and smack us. We’d cry and say, ‘But, MOM, HE started it!’ and we’d point at each other. And with intense frustration in her voice she’d say, ‘I don’t care WHO started it, STOP IT!’

We, the American people, have elected children to office.

Any parent knows (or so I’m told) children are primarily selfish. Until they’re taught otherwise they take what they want, lie to their benefit and deflect responsibility for any of their actions – unless it’s something they get approval for. These are the politicians we’ve sent to D.C.

The pundits on CNN and Fox are in a frenzy, some saying the sky will fall and others saying America won’t see any changes with the federal government shut down. I’m not going to tell you the sky will fall, but I can tell you for a fact the US military and intelligence community will be hard-hit.

Sure, active duty uniformed military personnel will continue to be paid. But there are 825,000 civilian federal employees who will not go to work starting October 1st and are not going to get a paycheck.

America is facing crises across the globe, and yet our politicians chose NOW to furlough the very people that spend their lives protecting American lives throughout the world.

Here’s a comment from a good friend of mine, a civilian friend, who is now going to be furloughed while trying to keep his family fed:

“Obama just signed the ‘pay the military act.’ Thanks, man, for trashing my service throughout the Middle East, side by side with the military in war zones. Evidently my service has no value. Fuck you, Congress. Fuck you, Mr. President.”

Another close friend said, more succinctly:

“So much for the value of civil service in this country….”

Sequestration was bad enough, I wrote about sequestration’s impact on the US Intelligence Community in TIME in April.  But with a shutdown, I believe, we’re going to start losing the best and brightest of the intelligence community.

But there’s the point. Our politicians don’t really care about protecting Americans, they care about playing politics. The impact of their checkers games (you can’t even call them chess games) on real-world life and death issues are irrelevant to them.

I’m heartbroken and concerned for my friends in the Beltway and stationed abroad.

I’m frightened for my country.

I know we’re more vulnerable.




  1. JoeC

    October 1, 2013 at 9:16 am

    And as the world continues to spin the government has found a way to waste the money of the American Tax Payer even more efficiently. I absolutely do not understand why it is so difficult for the people WE elected to represent US in Congress have so much difficulty doing what the majority wants and moving on. They need to realize that it is not about them and their own ideals, it is about us. Congress doesn’t lose a damn thing by doing this. I guarantee you they will still get paid even though there probably isn’t a single one of them that need the money.

  2. Mike C

    October 1, 2013 at 11:32 am

    They have no concern for what their job is. They started out strong with trying to defund it but then the senate growled at them and they tucked their collective tail and ran away because they didnt want to lose their next election for shutting down the .gov. Cowards the whole lot of them.

    The correct course would have been to stick to their guns and let the Dems take the blame like they would have. Nope, no balls.

  3. Jeff

    October 1, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    This may seem harsh, but I just can’t keep my mouth shut anymore.

    For those of you who think Congress is not doing their jobs, you need to go back and re-learn the structure of our political system and why it is structured in the way that it is.

    Representative government is messy. It will always include friction and gridlock and should, because if our political differences are not resolved by our representatives in a political forum they will be resolved on the streets with guns.

    If you think government should be frictionless and without debate there is a political system for you…dictatorship. There are plenty in this world to choose from each with their own different flavor. I’m sure you’ll find them most accommodating to your needs.

    • JoeC

      October 2, 2013 at 1:28 pm

      I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say a bad word about the checks and balances that our form of government provides. What people are pissed off about is that our government seemingly sets itself up to fail every single year. They also fail impressively at actually representing the people because they are too busy selling their votes to the highest bidder. There comes a time when a legislator has to set aside their personal agenda/plan/want/need/vendetta and do what is right for the nation. They have failed at this over and over and over. In the current case, one side provided and alternative that approved almost everything, but set aside one thing to discuss separately and the other side told them to pound sand, it was an all or nothing deal. What was gained by saying no? Absolutely nothing and in the mean time the American people are doing the suffering while the fatcats on the hill don’t know the difference because they play by different rules than we do.

  4. Mark I

    October 1, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Heinlein was right in ‘Starship Troopers’… you shouldn’t have the rights of a citizen unless you’re willing to serve (as in uniform). Way too many politicians (of both parties) have not served.

    • Uncle Buster

      October 2, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      Mark I:

      You have echoed what I have been saying for years! “Starship Troopers” is an utterly brilliant political treatise, and a MODEL for a stable government and society. “You want a say in the government? Fine. It’s your right to go out and EARN IT.”

      I can think of literally TENS of MILLIONS that should be relegated to “Legal Resident” status.

  5. Darian Henderson

    October 1, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    “Our politicians don’t really care about protecting Americans, they care about playing politics. ”

    As as now laid-off worker at the DoD, I couldn’t have said it better.

    I also spent 9 months in Afghanistan, where I lived and worked with US military.

    • Uncle Buster

      October 2, 2013 at 3:57 pm


      I’m sorry, brother…and I do mean “brother.”

      You are correct, of course. The politicians DO NOT CARE.

      I remember when I saw Henry Kissinger admit in an interview that “…yes, probably American prisoners were left behind” in the haste to exit from Vietnam for political reasons. I got physically sick upon hearing him say that. Then, I beat the shit out of my wall in pure frustration.

      In “our” community, we have the understanding that nobody gets left behind. Our so-called “representatives” don’t see it that way: we are, as Thoreau said, “no better than horses and dogs.”

      Think of that the next time you see Odalf or one of his flunkies at a memorial service. Despite the crocodile tears, they’re probably thinking “I could be golfing now.”

  6. Little Bear

    October 3, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    I’m 23 years old and I’m coming up on my third year in the Army National Guard. I don’t know what most people my age would say about the current situation. In my view I think that if more people (Congress + Americans in general) did some act of civil service in their lives, they might be able to understand what it means to serve their community and not just themselves.

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