While the pundits debate which side – the House or the Senate – will cave in to the demands of the other, the government shutdown continues. Meanwhile, some 800,000 federal employees languish at home playing video games and tweeting their friends (which they usually do at the office) as they wait for the call to return to work.
I, on the other hand, also unemployed, have been reading.
A “Government Watch” report in Amac Advantage, the Association of Mature American Citizens magazine, adds some perspective to this whole government furlough fiasco. According to the report, some chump change (chump: you; change: tax dollars) of $1 million was given to zoos in Chicago (wouldn’t you just know it?), Little Rock, Milwaukee, and New Orleans for poetry to help “raise awareness on environmental issues.”
Next thing I knew I was crooning the words “It’s all happening at the zoo” from the 1967 hit by Simon and Garfunkel. Soon, calling on my experience as a reporter, I decided to check out the opinions of the residents of the local menagerie. Seems they don’t think much of these monkeyshines either. I began my survey at the top with his majesty, the king. Herewith, my report.
Said the noble lion with a roar,
“What do we need poetry for?
“Just another D.C. prank
That’s got this country in the tank.”
For more details I checked the gnus.
Same old story: “Taxpayers lose.”
A cranky turtle snapped, “A scam!
More bogus government flimflam.”
Said a deer, “A lotta dough, a million bucks.”
A bat replied, “I think it sucks!”
Snarled the scrappy wolverine,
“It’s part of all that cult of ‘green.’
“Yes-s-s-s, the eco-freaks-s-s-s, and more,”
hissed the adder, keeping score.
Stealing up, all boldly masked,
With furtive looks, a raccoon asked,
“How can they squander all that cash?
Who thinks up all this balderdash?”
“Please,” I said, “don’t be offended
But – No disrespect intended –
“Short-sighted Rinos, obtuse jackasses
Add it to bills that Congress passes.
“Special interests, lobbyists,
Uh, ‘badger’ them for wanton gifts.”
The baboon raged, his cheeks all red,
“Wait. Congress?!! That’s what you said?
“The group name for my family?!!
The insolence! The mockery!”
“The whole thing reeks,” an old skunk fumed
And then yours truly – (gasp!) – resumed,
“The pols hand out entitlements
Thus bribing their constituents;
“Buying votes to keep their jobs,
Appeasing duped low-info mobs.”
“Pork barrel spending, don’t ya know,”
A warthog snorts. “Effective, though.
“It’s called,” he grunted, waddling off,
“Feeding at the public trough.”
The hyena jeered, “It is to laugh.
Eight hundred K of surplus staff?
And paid to pay for rhyming words?
This stuff is really for the birds.”
At that the aviary cried “foul.”
Then came this from a wise old owl:
“The bureaucrats don’t give a hoot
When spending other people’s loot.
“Still, I really have to wonder,
Why they’re allowed this ‘legal’ plunder.”
There came a motion for a bill,
To throw those buzzards off The Hill.
“I second,” said the cock-a-too.
“What about the rest of you?”
Immediately, the entire flock
Formed a massive voting bloc.
The secretary bird went bonkers,
Logging votes from pipits to honkers.
The measure passed throughout the zoo,
And all the beasts approved it, too.
Those votes came to a tidy sum.
And they say animals are dumb!
If people are just half as smart
They’ll take the critters’ course to heart.
If the D. C. crowd won’t pay attention
Throw ’em out come next election.
Want your hard-earned funds respected?
Get some honest folks elected.
Well, that’s the story, I’ve had my say.
Time to file it. Oh, by the way,
You’ll note I wrote it all in rhyme.
The cost to you: not one thin dime.
Mature American Citizens, Inc. “Government Watch,” Amac Advantage, Vol. 7, Issue 3: 63.
Simon, Paul. At The Zoo. With Art Garfunkel. Columbia, ASIN: B00BXIZYNQ, 1967.