The so-called “government shutdown” isn’t really a government shutdown at all. It’s a public services shutdown. Food aid to needy families will stop. Over one thousand food safety and inspection workers will not go to work. Veterans looking to apply for benefits will face serious delays. The IRS won’t answer the phone to help you prepare your taxes, and will stop processing returns. Depending on where you live, you might have a difficult time getting your passport renewed. Zoos and museums are closed effective immediately.But the government’s guns and surveillance state apparatus chug on without much of a blip at all.
The NSA, fully funded and operational, won’t have any problem continuing to map our social and associational patterns. The FBI will still map ethnic communities and spy on peace and justice activists. The CIA will go on plotting and executing its extrajudicial drone killings in places like Pakistan and Yemen. The DEA will still use NSA intercepts to sneakily forward drug prosecutions while hiding from judges and defendants the intelligence that sparks investigations. Customs, Border Protection will go on harassing Muslims and immigrants at the border, humiliating citizens and visitors alike for no good reason. ICE will continue to deport and detain immigrants, tearing families asunder. The surveillance state will go on, ‘protecting’ a shell of a civilization. We might not be able to eat, but at least someone will be watching us starve.
I must learn to love the fool in me — the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries. It alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled, masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of my human aliveness, humility, and dignity but for my Fool.