How a Zipline Can Explain All the Government’s Problems

Are any of you folks afraid of heights? Because I am. And this past weekend, I went ziplining in the Catskill Mountains.

Yup. I did that. It was super terrifying but also REALLY FUN. Like I was actually flying through the trees. And the trees were freakin’ gorgeous, because, ya know. Fall.


Anyway! It was a great experience. And it’s super lucky that I did it at a privately run ski resort, and not in a national park. Because bitches, thanks to the government shutdown, national parks are closed right now.

That’s right. If I were planning to go ziplining in, say, Yosemite National Park, I’d be out of luck. All that money I prepaid for transportation, hotel accommodations, and of course, the actual zipline tour, would be out the window. Because Yosemite National Park is closed.

Thanks a lot, ya big tool.

Thanks a lot, ya big tool.

It’s an interesting realization, and it got me thinking about all this “small government” stuff that the Republicans keep yapping about. The GOP has been making vague claims about the government being “too big” since the 1970s, and most folks on the left side of the aisle don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.

Because Right-wingers aren’t the best communicators. This latest government shutdown has made that abundantly clear. Often, Republicans think their views are so obvious, so steeped in common sense, that they don’t feel the need to clearly explain them. Instead, they make broad, nonsensical claims, or make a list of unreasonable demands, and expect the world to just get it.

But clearly, we don’t get it. If we did, I wouldn’t be calling Ted Cruz the latest Mayor of Crazytown, along with half the media.


So, in order to understand, we’ve got to use our imaginations a little bit. We have to start getting creative, if we want to get inside their heads.

So let’s use my ziplining experience as an example, mmkay?



I had a ton of fun this past weekend, flying through the trees. And that’s thanks to a private company. If I had relied on a government-run company—or even just a government run site, like a national park—I would have been seriously disappointed. And I probably would have lost some money.

Now, let’s imagine that the issue is more important than a weekend excursion. Let’s say, instead of going ziplining, I had surgery this weekend. Since most hospitals are privately owned, that also went really well. My doctors weren’t furloughed by the government shutdown, and I’m still alive and in good health because of it. Yay!

When Republicans talk about big government being a bad thing, this is what they’re talking about. What if government ran our lives, controlling all of life’s basic necessities? What if the government distributed our food, and our housing, and our healthcare? That would suck, because in a shitty situation like the one we’re in right now, we would be stuck without any of those things. Mothers who rely on WIC to feed their babies know that all too well.


And they’re all giving you the most awesome side-eye ever, Ted Cruz.

So Republicans aren’t fans of Obamacare. They say it will make the government bigger, which is bad, because it gives an unreliable institution more control over our lives. They say it will destroy the quality of American healthcare, because hello, the government sucks at all of the other things it tries to do.

Like function. Just the very basic process of keeping itself running. It can’t even do that.

So how can we trust the government to keep us from dying when we’re sick? According to Republicans, we can’t. So let’s shrink that government and keep healthcare private. Because next time, it won’t be the national park that you get shut out of, but the hospital.



Ok, Republicans, fair point. We totally get it now! The government should be kept small, and do as little for us as possible, so that when it fucks up, its incompetency affects us as little as possible.

Makes sense.

Except for the tiny, little fact—insignificant, really—that the government is sucking right now BECAUSE OF YOU.

Yes, that’s right. I’m looking at you, motherfuckers.

This photo was staged, BTW.

This photo was staged, BTW.

This shit is not normal. This whole, holding the entire government hostage—and potentially the global economy too—because you didn’t get your way, thing. Threatening Armageddon unless you’re appeased is not a business-as-usual way of governing.

No. No, it’s fucking not.

National parks are closed because of YOU. Babies who rely on WIC to eat, aren’t getting fed because of YOU. People are furloughed without pay because of YOU. And if Obamacare turns out to be a total shit-fest and doesn’t work properly, we are going to blame YOU.

Because you’ve shown a clear pattern of getting in the way, of preventing things from working, in favor of your own selfish interests.

Because while you’re fretting about how Obamacare will create a world in which we’re all locked out of shitty, failing hospitals, do you want to know what it will actually do?


It will make healthcare affordable. For everyone, but especially for people who don’t already have access to healthcare—which is a REALLY BIG PROBLEM that thus far, you’ve shown no interest in trying to solve.

(Except, of course, if you’re poor and black and locked out of Obamacare, in which case, no one is fucking helping you. WTF?! This is really bad and needs to be changed.)

See, that’s why it’s actually called the Affordable Care Act. Which, shocker of all shockers, people are really excited about.

See, GOP’ers, I get your logic. I really do. I can see how you’ve come to this place where you see government as the bad guy. Totally. The government sucks at doing its job.

And that’s for a variety of reasons. But a really, really big factor? It’s you.

Your unwillingness to negotiate, your blatant disregard for folks who are outside of privilege, your head-in-the-sand strategy for solving grand-scale, societal problems?

All of those things are problems. You’re not helping. You’re making it worse. You’re turning the government into a helpless, flopping fish out of water–totally unreliable, useless, and ridiculous–with your refusal to play well with others.

You're a bigger jerk than this cat.

You’re a bigger jerk than this cat.

So stop it, OK? Just knock it off.

I’d like to go ziplining again in a world where the global economy isn’t completely destroyed.

Do you think you can handle that one, little task?

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