So it's October in Texas. The brief pause between the blast furnace and the deep freeze, that rare time when windows can be opened, screen doors actually have a function and nobody has to dress in layers to go to work. (Except Joan. Sorry about that, Joan.) Spooky decorations start to show up in windows -- you know, Santa Clauses, reindeer, credit card offers. And out there in Fair Park, that shining Art Deco jewel of weird 1920s buildings and half-naked silver sculptures, it's time once again for the Texas State Fair.
What can I say about a place where you can get fleeced seventeen different ways in two hours for the low, low admission fee of $17? Where you can stuff yourself with things like deep fried Oreos and Cuban sandwich rolls and then yark it all up on a roller coaster or a pirate ship or maybe a Tilt-A-Whirl? Where you can go to a football game (It's Texas, people. Football is the state religion.) see a band, marvel at arts and crafts, and check out everything new in the raising of steers and chickens? I mean, you gotta go. If you live within 200 miles of Dallas, you need to get out here and take a look at--well, everything, basically.
I go, and while I can't always say I enjoy myself, I certainly have a time. This time around, I was accosted by a guy who was hawking some kind of emollient wrinkle cream. I mean he literally grabbed me by the arm and started slathering this gunk on me, talking a mile a minute about what I used to hide my laugh lines (whatever those are). I was able to extricate my arm by telling him I'm allergic to just about every cosmetic ever made, and that if I started breaking out in hives from his skin cream I'd have to sue him, everybody who looked like him, his firstborns down to the seventh generation and the ugly woman standing there in the booth, whoever she was. Oh, and I didn't buy any of the skin cream, either.
We were out of the exhibit hall and headed toward even more trouble before I realized something rather remarkable had just happened there. We got into a confrontation, we extricated ourselves from said conversation, and while a few harsh words were exchanged, nobody got hurt. There was once a time, and it was not that long ago, when my first instinct would have been to deck the guy. And I'm thinking, since he assaulted me first, that I might have even gotten away with it. But who wants to spend their time at the Fair explaining Texas's self defense laws to generally clueless security guards and sheriff's deputies? If they wanted to be lawyers they woulda gone to law school. Anyway, I'm clearly a menace. Arrest 'em all and let Judge Judy sort 'em out.
Which brings us to the only subject allowed in America at this time: The Government Shutdown. Sorry, we don't care about aliens landing in Mexico or cold fusion discovered in the Nevada desert. Even the fossils in Africa that conclusively prove we are genetic remnants of Bigfoot are gonna get two inches under "Dear Abby." It's all about the shutdown. The government has malfunctioned and we can't find Control Alt Delete.
When you think about it, this is about as silly as it gets. One side is still legislating a bill that was passed three years ago, went to the Supreme Court, passed, and is mostly in effect. The other side is intransigent, but then I think it's earned the right to be. Because what it's standing for, basically, is the lives of millions of people. Lives that might be cut short, or will certainly suffer in quality, if they can't access quality medical care.
That's what this is about. Let's just let that sink in for a second. One side wants to get people access to quality health care, and that outrageous notion has shut down the entire government.
Look, I don't care who you did or didn't vote for. Take a look at this situation and tell me how I should see it any other way. One side wants to block poor people from getting health care. Oh, sure, they can go to the ER, but that's no substitute for quality medical care from a physician who knows your history. Oh, and the ER is incredibly expensive. Who's going to pay for it? Us. We can't afford Obamacare? Okay, how do we afford the billions of dollars in unpaid hospital bills every year? Seriously, explain it to me. I'll listen. If you sound like you know what you're talking about, I'll even run you as a guest post.
But good luck with that. Because even the Republicans I know are embarrassed by what's going on at Capitol Hill. It's about poor people getting quality health care. And the people opposed to that, I guess, just would rather the poor would, I dunno, up and die already.