Like It’s All a Joke

“This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer.” –Will Rogers

“If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?” –unknown

Tell me why this article makes me grit my teeth and snarl. I understand the cathartic value of gallows humor on occasion, I indulge in it myself, probably too much — as in the opening quotes heere. But this is offensive. Because this farce will cause real suffering, because real people will go hungry, because real people may die, while our so-called representatives bloviate and posture. I don’t like this contemptuous, trivializing tone. It’s a small thing perhaps, but it carries on the forty-year propaganda campaign we’ve lived through (and a monstrously successful one!) which has persuaded so many of us that our government is useless, if not actively evil and the root cause of all our problems. If we have a rotten government, doesn’t that mean we need a better one, rather than none?

And ‘don’t miss these freebies’? Do we need to condone more greed and selfishness? Even this could have been a positive if minor story, showing local businesses supporting our public servants in a difficult time. But the emphasis is on what really seem more gestures of ridicule for Congress, and an opportunity for furloughed federal workers to get something for nothing. While “the care of human life and happiness” is universally belittled and ignored.


Don’t miss these shutdown freebies and discounts.
The shutdown isn’t all bad.
From tacos and gym memberships to career counseling and cooking classes, businesses in Washington, D.C. — and across the country — are offering a slew of freebies and discounts to federal workers impacted by the government shutdown.
If you’re trying to save money while your paycheck is on hold, start your food journey at Z-Burger, a D.C. chain giving out free burgers to federal workers during the shutdown. The restaurant said it had “lines out the door” at all six locations on Tuesday.
Government employees can get free tacos at Arlington’s District Taco, a free doughnut (with a purchase) at Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken in D.C., and three free empanadas at Sophie’s Cuban, also in D.C.
Pork Barrel BBQ, in Alexandria, Va., is giving away free pulled pork sandwiches. The restaurant has already seen such a flood of people that it’s currently sold out of sandwiches, but is restocking supplies.
For a sweet treat, visit Cupcake Boulevard, in Gamrills, Md., which is handing out free cupcakes to government employees daily between 1 and 3 p.m.
Drink your sorrows away at D.C. watering hole Mockingbird Hill, which is giving government workers one free glass of sherry each day of the shutdown.
D.C. Reynolds is offering all customers buy-one-get-one-free drinks from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. as long as the shutdown lasts.
“Hey #Congress we turned your Shutdown into the busiest Tuesday ever at DCR,” the bar tweeted Wednesday.
Flying Dog Brewery, in Frederick, Md., is giving furloughed workers free brewery tours, which include five beer samples.
For a caffeine fix, stop by the Daily Dish in Silver Spring, Md., for a free cup of coffee (members of Congress pay double). Caffe Amouri, in Vienna, Va., is also giving out free coffee.
“Free Cup-O-Joe for Furloughed Govt. Workers to show appreciation where the “CLOWNS” have shown none. Come by for friendly face and a cup,” Caffe Amouri tweeted.
Some furloughed workers may want to use these down days as an excuse to get in shape. You can start by taking two free Pilates classes at Potomac Pilates, in Potomac, Md.
Balance Gym, in D.C., is opening its doors to government workers between 1 and 4 p.m. for no charge. The YMCA of Metropolitan Washington is giving furloughed employees and their families free access to all of its facilities in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
Or you can practice your golf with a free game at TopGolf in Alexandria, any day until Friday.
Entertainment: Want to brush up on your cooking skills? The CulinAerie cooking school is offering a free class to furloughed workers on Friday.
Or you can pick up a free pair of tickets to any performance of Miss Saigon at the Signature Theatre in Arlington.
Beltway Plaza Mall in Greenbelt, Md., is offering one free movie — and a free lunch — for federal workers. You simply have to show up at the box office with your furlough notice.
If you’re the crafty type, there are free knitting classes at Fibre Space in Alexandria.
And if you’ve never visited President Lincoln’s Cottage, a monument in D.C. that doesn’t depend on federal support, it will be open during the shutdown and federal workers qualify for a 50% discount on admission.
Seeing a movie could be a good way to relax — as long as it’s not Prisoners. And if you go to an AMC theater, you’ll get a free small popcorn with a valid government ID.
“The offer is good until common sense is restored in Washington, D.C., or more likely, until the shutdown ends or we run out of popcorn,” the company said.
Practical: For those workers considering getting out of government altogether, Internet marketing agency Bash Foo is giving free 20-minute LinkedIn training sessions.
And if you want to get a jump on next year’s taxes (or are really behind on this year’s), Landmark Tax Group is offering a 15% discount on nationwide tax services for any federal workers impacted by the shutdown.
Hyundai also announced that furloughed car owners aren’t required to make payments during the shutdown. And Koons Automotive, in Silver Spring, Md., is giving furloughed employees free oil changes.

First Published: October 3, 2013: 4:17 AM ET


About l. l. frederick

I'm pretty ordinary, so I find any number of things in the world interesting, among them: books, music, flowers, food, social justice, politics and (sometimes!) people. As for my writing, I've decided that I can be subtle and tasteful when our only problems are esthetic ones. Or when I'm dead, whichever comes first. In the meantime, read at your own risk.
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9 Responses to Like It’s All a Joke

  1. tubularsock says:

    Yes but the real joke is the shit CNN constantly puts out. Crap in ……. crap out. Will Rogers on the other hand can explain it in one sentence.

    • tubularsock – Ah, don’t I know it! Some jokes just aren’t funny, that’s all. Like this one —

      “The problem with political jokes? Too many of them get elected.”

      And this observation from Gore Vidal keeps popping into my head this week whenever I subject myself to some so-called news coverage —

      “The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity — much less dissent.”

      Sure seems like somebody’s read and applied Sun Tzu’s Art of War …

      Thanks for checking in, and for your good comment. – Linda

      • Jeff Nguyen says:

        I want to play, too.

        “Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” -Mark Twain.

  2. Jeff – Good one, as ever, thanks. Just one more?

    “Congress is so strange. A man gets up to speak and says nothing. Nobody listens — and then everybody disagrees.” –Boris Marshalov

    If you don’t know it, here’s my favorite site for Twain quotations:

    “The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet.” –Mark Twain

    Sorry, but you knew I couldn’t stop at just one… – Linda

  3. Jeff Nguyen says:

    Hi again, Linda. Just want to put this out there…if you’re ever interested in contributing to the Mic check guest blogger series, I’d love to share your voice with readers who haven’t already heard from you. I can fill you in on the details if your interest is piqued. No pressure and no worries if it’s not your thing.

    • Jeff – Wow. Thank you so much for your generous offer. I would be most interested — though we both know my writing’s not all that good. Inconsistent, to put things charitably. Sure you want to risk it? Whatever you do, don’t let me embarrass you — you have a well-earned reputation to protect.

      I can generally distinguish my worst efforts from the less-terrible stuff. On a good day. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always keep me from turning the bad stuff loose. Despite that, and despite currently having no remotely interesting thought in my head, I’d be honored to try. – Linda

      • Jeff Nguyen says:

        You are far too humble, Linda. When you have the time, contact me through my “connect” page and we’ll go from there. I really appreciate your interest and willingness to contribute to the series. Looking forward to hearing from you. Take care.

  4. Pingback: And Who Gives a Crap About Congress? | Take Heart!

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