WASHINGTON - America really loathes Washington right now, and thats preposterous: Our Town has done nothing wrong.
Washington is a place where hundreds of children couldnt play soccer this past weekend; where cafeteria workers, janitors and secretaries arent getting paid for who knows how long; where buses and subway trains run empty; and where Girl Scout troops had to cancel annual camping trips.
The people of Washington didnt want this and arent to blame for it, either. All the crazy that led to this absurd impasse? Thats been imported here from the rest of the country.
America, you sent these guys here. They represent plenty of you, none of us. That imported brand of cuckoo is whats causing this shutdown.
They come from afar and forget to act decently. They strong-arm and manipulate and broker and wink, and then fly home for pancake breakfasts and down-home photo ops.
You, America, send us people like Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, a former homeless man with a drug charge under his belt who had campaign bumper stickers urging the arming of fetuses: If Babies Had Guns, They Wouldnt Be Aborted!
And Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who argued that the HPV vaccine causes mental retardation when she was running for president.
Let me introduce you to the real Washington, a place that bears little resemblance to a cesspool or to the rarefied schmoozing, revolving-door incestuousness and million-dollar backslapping described in Mark Leibovichs best-selling book about Washington, This Town. Leibovich is describing political Washington, not Our Town.
Our Town is full of people who were born and raised here, or who moved here decades ago to work and raise families. The great irony is that the people of Our Town proper – District of Columbia residents – dont actually have a vote in the Capitol of Crazy.
But suddenly our parks, streets and playgrounds have been closed by lawmakers who arrive here on Monday afternoon and fly out on Thursday so they dont have to spend any more time in the political yuckpit theyve created.
Our Town extends to the sprawling suburbs of Virginia and Maryland, where hundreds of thousands of analysts, architects, accountants, waitresses, doctors and construction workers live and work. They are, for the most part, moderate, reasonable people who send moderate and reasonable representatives to Congress, not kooks.
Many of them are hurting right now because theyve been furloughed by this unnecessary shutdown thats nothing more than a giant chess game for the folks who arent from here. Our Town is the sandwich shops, dry cleaners, taxi drivers and food trucks getting skunked in this political game.
Heres how brazen and hypocritical the pols are. Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, berated a U.S. Park Service ranger whod been told she couldnt allow veterans to visit the shutdown World War II memorial. He had a nearly bipolar response to the shutdown, which he helped orchestrate.
The Park Service should be ashamed of themselves, Neugebauer said, in a video captured by NBC News.
Im not ashamed, said the ranger, a citizen of Our Town. Well, you should be, Neugebauer said.
No, congressman. You and your colleagues should be ashamed of what youve done to Our Town.