Saturday, June 23, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 16

Santa Maria Sun / Canary

The following article was posted on October 15th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 32 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 14, Issue 32

I can only take so much of this

I just made it through several weeks of a U.S. federal government shutdown, and boy are my wings tired!

No, seriously. They’re exhausted—but not from flying. I’ve been shrugging so much, I’ve got shoulder cramps on top of knotted muscles on top of shoulder cramps.

People asked, “When do you think this whole shutdown thing is going to end?”


“They’re not really going to blow past the debt ceiling deadline, are they?”


“I thought we were already shut down. What’s that whole sequester thing we had a while back?”


That last shrug there is really significant, though. I’m a smart canary, if I do say so myself (and my mom agrees), but I don’t have a good answer for the people who ask me to tease apart the differences and impacts of the sequesters and shutdowns and debt ceiling deadlines.

I’ve got threat fatigue.

It seems like there’s a new fiscal cliff we’re all about to veer off of every other week. I can’t keep track. And it’s making me tired.

Turn on the TV: It’s nothing but bickering and speculation. Heck, while I was writing this column on deadline on Oct. 15, I heard from a co-worker that we were going to have a resolution to the shutdown by Thursday, and then I saw reports from national news outlets that negotiations were getting hazy again. Then I read something that indicated we’d probably get a deal, but one that would just kick the deadline down the road, likely to December.

I went to to see if I could do a little research on my own, trying to figure out—at least—how the sequester and the shutdown overlap or not. Yes, I get that the sequester is made up of across-the-board budget cuts and the shutdown is simply not having an agreement by which the country pays everyone it’s supposed to pay, but to the people sitting at home instead of doing their jobs, not getting paid is not getting paid.

The White House’s sequester page reads: “Due to Congress’s failure to pass legislation to fund the government, the information on this web site may not be up to date. Some submissions may not be processed, and we may not be able to respond to your inquiries.”

There is some info available on the site, but it seems to have all been written early in the year. At one point, under “What Is the Sequester? Why Now?” it reads: “Unfortunately, Congress hasn’t compromised, and as a consequence, harmful cuts—known as the sequester—begin March 1.”

Yeah, that came and went.

So I’m over it. Really, how can anyone not be? I’m over it, because I don’t trust this country’s leaders to tie their own shoes anymore. I don’t trust them because they butt heads past the point of incredulity, and I don’t trust them because they regularly dangle these doomsday scenarios in front of the public, but no one really knows how bad the foretold disasters will be if they come to pass. We’re always saved at the last minute by some 11th hour compromise yanking us off the train tracks as the locomotive approaches. Or the Big Bad comes to pass, and it’s rough, but the bulk of us keep working.

And then we hear individual stories about the medical procedure that could no longer happen, the federally funded research that fell apart, the home loan that was delayed to the hopeful new owners’ detriment.

I can’t take it anymore. I don’t want to be a yo-yo bobbing up and down at the end of some federal finger. The next time someone says “fiscal cliff” or “debt ceiling” or “partial shutdown” in my earshot, they’re coming away with a sore shoulder of their own.

And it won’t be from shrugging.


The Canary is grumpy today. Try her again tomorrow. Send comments to

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