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By “The Wolf”

The government is run by unelected bureaucrats, with some input from elected politicians. Just because you get to vote for these politicians doesn’t mean you have a say in how the government is run. During the Democratic National Convention of 2012, a popular slogan was that “government is the one thing we all belong to.” But that’s not true. Government is the one thing that has power over us, while the vast majority of us have virtually no say in how it operates. Just because you vote every now and then for either a Democrat or a Republican doesn’t mean you actually have a voice about whether farm subsidies should be given out to gigantic agri-businesses, whether the NSA should collect all of our electronic data, whether drug users should be thrown in prison, whether the tax code should really be so complicated and inefficient, and so forth.

One of the most shameless aspects of the government shutdown fiasco is the closing of the national parks. It costs far more money to close them than to keep them open, but the National Park Service has deployed what basically amounts to SWAT teams to make sure that no American is allowed to enjoy our national treasurers. Even a stretch of highway that overlooks Mount Rushmore in South Dakota was blocked off, because God forbid Americans take pictures of it while the government is ostensibly shut down. On the first day of the shutdown, armed officers gathered around Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone, because looking at the geyser is deemed “recreating,” which is strictly forbidden during a shutdown. When foreign tourists were seen photographing a herd of bison in Yellowstone, the a National Park Service ranger approached the tour guide and told him: “Sir, you are recreating,” and forced the group back into their bus.

Meanwhile, in Washington DC, there was a rally held in favor of legalizing the illegal immigrants. At the rally, Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the House Democrats, said she wanted to “thank the president for enabling us to gather here.” A Republican Congressman by the name of Mario Diaz-Balart was equally shameless, saying that he was grateful to the Obama administration for “allowing us to be here.” So not only is democracy a myth, but so is this whole government shutdown thing. Obama gets to decide who can gather where. Sounds more like a monarch that a president of a democratic republic.

The reason for Obama’s behavior is that he wants to get ordinary citizens who might not otherwise care about a government shutdown to suddenly be concerned about it. He has polling data that tells him that Republicans get more blame for the shutdown than Democrats, so in order to gain a political advantage, he decides to punish innocent Americans and foreigners who only want to see some parks and monuments.

And what say do you, the average citizen, have in all this? None. None at all. Nothing that you did caused the government shutdown, but you must suffer for it. In a democracy, where it is believed that we have a government for the people, by the people, and of the people, the government—and the armed men who enforce its edicts by the threat of deadly force—can do anything it wants, because hey, after all, the government is us, right?

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