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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Now you care

It was Friday night, people were frolicking through Spring Fling, alcohol for the evening parties was being purchased, and Facebook and Twitter were blowing up with statuses and tweets regarding a government shutdown. Things like, “”the government better figure it out real soon”” or “”Obama is screwin’ up”” came across the newsfeed just about every four minutes. Suddenly, people who probably couldn’t tell you how many senators there are in the U.S. Senate, gave a damn about politics. Why?  

I would like to tell you that it’s because they were being active citizens who felt genuinely invested in their government and its functions. I would like to tell you it’s because they were actively watching the drama unfold as a government shutdown loomed. I would like to tell you that, but, alas, it can’t be said as a truthful statement.  

Perhaps a handful of people had some clue as to what they were talking about, but let’s just be honest with ourselves. Most people were just taking in what they saw on the television and suddenly decided that if it was trending on Twitter, they had better talk about it, lest they fall behind in the times.

The possibility of a government shutdown was probably the second most talked about topic of 2011, yet knows nothing about. Now I’ll admit, it is a very enthralling topic. The first potential government shutdown in 15 years, Republicans and Democrats pointing fingers, it’s just like a television drama. Except it’s happening in real life. Step aside television, reality just got stimulating enough to get people interested in something they know nothing about outside of the ten minutes of coverage they watched on MSNBC or Fox News.

The government shutdown was covered continuously; tension seeped into the public sector and had people fretting like it was swine flu part deux. The sand in the hourglass was running low and then suddenly, things kept going as usual. Budget cuts of roughly $38 billion were approved and the general public went back to sweating over who will advance to the next round in “”American Idol”” rather than where that money is being cut from. Speaker of the House John Boehner claims the agreement has a provision that limits abortion funding, while Democrats simultaneously claim the agreement doesn’t include the provisions to restrict funding to Planned Parenthood and other agencies that provide abortions. Nonetheless, that topic isn’t interesting enough to leave the general public thirsty for answers or clarification on how those two clashing statements fit together.

Interestingly enough, after the agreement was reached, Facebook, Twitter and casual conversations went right back to how much someone loved the newest episode of “”Glee”” or how “”ragin'”” the party on Friday night was going to be. I never thought I would see the day of fair-weather political followers who only come around for drama-filled government turmoil.

Nonetheless, take this as a goodbye you fair-weather fanatics; we’ll be seeing you for the presidential election, I’m sure. I can hardly wait to read statuses like “”wouldn’t it be cool to have a beer with (insert Republican presidential nominee here)”” or “”Obama was really gettin’ it in that debate.””

 

— Storm Byrd is a political science sophomore. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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