By David Anderson
‘Out of Order’ – a sticky note on our country’s tombstone.
“‘Out of Order,’ per the website, “is the game in which players race to puzzle out words, phrases, and quotations that have been jumbled beyond recognition.”
Unfortunately your ability to order the game ‘Out of Order’ is, well, out of order: “Note: We are currently experiencing technical difficulties with this game. We’ll be back soon.”
‘Out of Order’ – ‘No Funciona’ – sticky notes, as this Great Government Shutdown enters its second week, can be found attached to everything from toilets (‘please use the sink’) to team rowing (if your boathouse is on federal land).
“No national parks. No Smithsonian. (And no Panda Cam.) No new small business loans, no tax audits, no way to check that the employee you want to hire is a citizen.”
All – and more – are out of order.
So don’t even. You can’t get there from here. And all that.
What can you do?
‘Please enjoy the music while your party (Democrat or Republican) is being reached.’
Enjoy the music. That’s what you can do.
Or you might get this: ‘Your call cannot be completed as dialed. Please hang up and try again . . . again . . . again.’
For the ‘fortunate’ few who do get through:
Citizen: ‘I would like to . . . (interrupted).’
Service Professional (SP): ‘No.’
Citizen: ‘But I was wondering . . .’
Citizen: ‘But could you at least tell me . . .’
SP: ‘What about ‘no’ . . . ?’
Too bad. And to think you were calling about your missing child. Unfortunately the Amber Alert has been shut down too.
It’s not like an out-of-order government is news. “Jumbled beyond recognition” – as in the game – is an apt description of what the government has been playing for a long time.
Government’s dependence upon – some might say ‘addiction to’ – gambling revenue to fund essential services instead of fostering a work-to-win (in that order) economy, is an out-of-order example.
“Consider the irony: Here is the government, essentially breaking the social contract – the agreement by which the people submit to being governed, in trust that those who govern them will act in their benefit. Instead, the government is actively seeking to legitimize a vice that destroys people and wrecks homes. For government to encourage – and even profit by – such self-destructive behavior is, as Kelly puts it, ‘a profound betrayal of every value there ever was’.” (“Beating the Odds” – an article by Charles Colson & Nancy Pearcey, including a reference to Michael Kelly, Washington Post; Christianity Today, January 10, 2000.)
But government by no means holds all the cards for running the table or for that matter ruining the country.
After all government is made up of people in and out of government who are quite adept at demonstrating themselves – all by themselves – ungoverned, out of control and out of order.
“Drowning in a sea of immorality,” is what the Rev. Billy Graham says ails America in an exclusive interview in Newsmax, this October 7.
Not so much, opined another commentator in assessing our country’s woes. Rather it’s “The Internet’s Reaction to the Miss America Pageant (that) Reveals What’s Wrong With America,”according to another recent headline.
Still another pundit posed the pandemic problem plaguing our sea-to-shining-sea republic suggests the need – in this flu season – to inoculate Congress itself and thus keep whatever disease they’ve got from spreading to the rest of us.
“Congress meets tomorrow morning. Let us all pray, ‘Oh, Lord, give us strength to bear that which is about to be inflicted upon us. Be merciful with them, Oh Lord, for they know not what they are doing. Amen.’”
Ironically, social commentator, American cowboy and humorist Will Rogers penned that ‘prayer’ in 1926.
Evidently, as the saying goes, ‘that was then and this is still then.’
However, what’s really out of order I postulate, and where the sticky-note really belongs, is on our own forehead or at the tip of our nose.
“We have met the enemy,” Pogo said, “and he is us.”
There’s a reason why Pogo the philosophical possum was “the wisest (and probably sanest) resident of the (Okefenokee) Swamp (as) he is one of the few major characters with sense enough to avoid trouble.”
Probably Pogo avoided the Perils of Pauline because he often pondered his own propensity to inflict pain.
Pogo should have been president, as his swamp friends often cajoled him to do, but Pogo preferred pursuing the very noble peaceful past-times – and priorities – of picnicking or fishing.
A predecessor of Pogo, Abraham Lincoln, did become President and in one of his oft-remembered quotes he perhaps unwittingly provided the metaphorical penicillin to heal where America hurts. From the last words of the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln said: “We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
“People,” here emphasized three times, are the problem.
People, here identified, need to get their own lives in order.
Or people, of which Congress is comprised and of which we are, shall perish from this earth.
And this three-word epitaph, ‘out of order’ – that we notice having discovered there’s no dial tone on the last-hope crisis-line – will be the three last words and the sticky-note on our country’s collective tombstone.