Dear Commons Community,
Maureen Dowd parodies the dysfunction of our federal government to an “end of the world” science fiction movie where great American cities have been left in ruins. She opens with “The year is 2084, in the capital of the land formerly called North America” and describes what has become of Washington, D.C.:
“The white marble monuments are now covered in ash, Greek tragedy ruins overrun with weeds. Tea Party zombies, thrilled with the dark destruction they have wreaked on the planet, continue to maraud around the Hill, eager to chomp on humanity some more.
Dead cherry blossom trees litter the bleak landscape. Trash blows through L’Enfant’s once beautiful boulevards, now strewn with the detritus of democracy, scraps of the original Constitution, corroded White House ID cards, stacks of worthless bills tumbling out of the Treasury Department…”
A gaunt man and sickly boy, wrapped in blue tarps, trudge toward the blighted spot that was once the World War II monument, scene of the first shutdown skirmishes. They know they may not survive the winter.
“How did this happen, Papa?” the boy asks.
“Americans had been filled with existential dread since the 9/11 attacks, but they didn’t realize the real danger was coming from inside the government,” the man says. “It started very small with a petty fight over a six-week spending bill but quickly mushroomed out of control.”
“Whose fault was it, Papa?” the boy presses.
The man tries to explain: “The Grand Old Party, the proud haven of patriots who believed in a strong national security and fiscal responsibility, was infected with a mutant form of ideology. It was named the Sarahcuda Strain after the earliest carrier. Remember when you saw that old science fiction movie, ‘I Am Legend’? A scientist described the virus that burned through civilization as being like ‘a very fast car driven by a very bad man.’ That’s what happened: In the infected Tea Party politicians, brain function decreased and social de-evolution occurred. They began ignoring their basic survival instincts….It’s hard to believe now, but they were fixated on stopping an effort to get health care to those who couldn’t afford it. It eventually led them to destroy all the things they said they held most dear. The boy is confused. “They killed America because they didn’t care about keeping Americans alive?” he asks.
The parody goes on in grimmer and grimmer detail and concluded that Thomas Jefferson’s utopia had devolved into Ted Cruz’s dystopia.