Muller: Finding the motivations of the shutdown

Yoni Muller, Opinion Editor

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Monday night at 11 p.m., our friends in Washington, D.C., ushered in a brand new month. However, this one was different from others in the past — it started with the first government shutdown in the last 17 years. The next few days and weeks will be marked by mass furloughs of nonessential government members, a shuttering of national parks and a potential default looming over all of our heads. Yet in spite of these changes, some things will remain exactly the same – namely in the implementation of Obamacare.

On behalf of the nation, I would like to say, “Lol Congress, you got us. Consider us Punk’d.”

I think we can all conclude that our friendly elected officials have staged the nation’s most hilarious prank for our amusement, simply because that’s the only possible explanation for what’s happening. Republicans are smart enough to realize that forcing a shutdown to stop a piece of legislation that won’t be affected by the very same shutdown makes no sense. They undoubtedly understand that in such a situation, they have no leverage regarding Obamacare and that such reckless behavior is pointless at best — and catastrophic at worst.

Democrats, filled with their own share of Newtons and Einsteins, would surely never threaten our tepid economic recovery by being too stubborn to delay Obamacare by a single year. They must realize that midterm elections are coming up, and if they just win a few more House seats, they can pass whatever they want.

And our politicians would surely never send us careening into a state of uncertainty and trouble. They’re too wise to do something like that — some of them even went to Harvard.

Though it took us a while, we finally caught on that you were messing with us the whole time. It makes perfect sense. Wacky individuals don’t communicate, and there are terrible consequences regarding a completely unaffected piece of legislation — hilarious. And it’s so “coincidental” that all of these problems began in 2009.

“Well yeah, that’s when Obama was elected,” we would have said last week (Ha! Stupid us.) But now in our heightened state of awareness, we finally understand: Obama was never the catalyst. He was nothing more than a smoke screen. The real mastermind was none other than U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).

Franken’s story is a tragic one. One of the original writers and performers on “Saturday Night Live,” he realized his lifelong dream of making the nation laugh too early in his life. After five years, he thought he had had enough and walked away from the show, eager to pursue something new. But just like a drug addict can’t stay away from that sweet, sweet black-tar heroin, neither could Franken leave the intoxicating sound of a laughing nation. He came back to SNL and commanded the comedy zeitgeist for a decade, but after awhile, even this wasn’t enough for Al. He had big eyes (though not Bette Davis eyes) and a bigger appetite — one that wasn’t satisfied with sketch television anymore.

So Franken left the show in 1995, and he started planning. His next steps were noble, particularly his work with the USO, but they weren’t enough. He didn’t just want to make soldiers laugh — he wanted to make the whole world laugh.

Of course, the world is a big place. Needless to say, he needed some time to plot, to make sure that everything worked perfectly. He knew that a controversial president was just the kind of diversion he needed, so he called up his buddy Barack, who was more than happy to take on the role. Since they were both elected in 2009, Franken found no trouble teaching the rest of Congress just how to play their parts and lay the foundations for the greatest joke in American history. A huge, rotating cast that performs live and sometimes improvises — doesn’t that sound just like one of Franken’s previous jobs?

Senator Franken, a tip of the hat to you, sir. You have officially blown our minds. Your swan song will undoubtedly be studied by comics for centuries to come, side by side on the academic mantle with Shakespeare’s greatest works. What’s more, I suspect enough of this played out on C-SPAN to guarantee you another Emmy. Congratulations, sir.

And so, continuing in my capacity as The Nation’s Voice, I would like to thank you for the greatest collective comedy experience we may ever experience in our lives. Furthermore, I would like to thank you in advance for your quick and smooth transition back to a functioning government. A stupid, egotistical Congress could obviously never do this, but we definitely don’t have that. We have you, and we have full faith you’ll bring things back to working order.

Yoni Muller is a Weinberg junior. He can be reached at jonathanmuller2015@u.northwestern.edu. If you want to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to opinion@dailynorthwestern.com.

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