Monday, October 7, 2013

The Shutdown Thing

US politics can be very interesting, and the structure of American democracy has its positive points worth reflecting on by us Irish as we look to the reform of our political system.  I personally think that as we consider the reform of our Senate, we might look Stateside and get some ideas.  Perhaps change the Senate into a house freed from the Dail, directly elected every five years, not falling when the Lower House falls.  Other ideas like staggered elections is also interesting - why not have half the senators go out every two and half years so the House is refreshed?  Perhaps that might be too democratic and uncontrollable for the Irish system.
However, some things in the US have me scratching my head, one of them is the shutdown.  Why close everything because a budget fails to pass?  Yes, I understand civil and public servants's salaries are included in the budget, but I think the intelligent people on Capitol Hill or in the West Wing can come up with some arrangement to keep the country running while the parties fight it out in the Houses.
One of the silliest aspects of the shutdown was this law preventing priests from saying Mass on Sunday.  Now that has been sorted - the House of Representatives has passed a resolution permitting religious services for the military during a shutdown.  However, as I think about this I have to ask a question.  If the shutdown has been so strict I presume the President and his family have been cooking for themselves since the shutdown? After all the staff in the White House are government employees.  I presume Obama and his kin can eat since, I think, they pay for their own food.  I would also presume that he or the First Lady would have had to pop out to do the shopping.  After all, if soldiers can't get Mass because of the shutdown, why should the President be exempt?
So, my dear US readers: have any of you seen Barack or Michelle trolleying down the aisles of K-Mart or Walmart in the last week? If so, let us know. 


  1. Well if you'd watched Episode 8 of Season 5 of The West Wing you would know that indeed the president will be doing his own cooking.

  2. Purporting to prohibit priests from doing their sacred duty of offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is intrinsically unjust, ultra vires and any such law is invalid and void. It is unmitigated tyranny, and extreme persecution, the hallmark of a totalitarian state which does not acknowledge the natural, inalienable rights and freedoms of persons, families. Furthermore, priests and lay persons purported to be subject to this order have a duty to refuse to comply. The duty to offer and attend Holy Mass is greater than any the military might seek to impose.