Just over seven years ago, I was in a high school band that was cool enough with bartenders from the Shreveport, Louisiana area to get to play in bars. I was a senior in high school, and we were just writing music for the sake of doing it. We didn’t have any experience in what we were writing about (a number of the songs were written about heroin, despite the fact that the lead songwriter had read a book on the drug and that was the most any of us knew about the drug). We even had the obligatory anti-war theme which, given an audio professional, would have been catchy as hell, but, alas, we were in high school with a recording device we purchased off eBay.
There was one particular performance (I can’t remember the bar’s name) where we, as 17-18 year olds, were given a ton of free alcohol. It was the lead bartender’s birthday, and everyone was getting free rounds. Including the underage band. I loved those guys, especially after some great shots. Those bartenders were amazing alchemists, after all.
One of the band members, the bassist had taken up smoking, but in an effort to look cool, nothing more. He didn’t inhale, which I told him was essentially rolling up $1 bills and igniting them. Regardless, he went through two packs. He also had more to drink than any of us and a lot of that was in jagerbombs. The drummer and I were the most sober at the end of the night, and thus it was up to us to take the guitarist and bassist home.
This is when the fun really starts.
Going down the highway back home to Natchitoches (which is pronounced exactly as it sounds, assuming you saw that and heard “Nack-uh-tish” in your head), we noticed a familiar look in our bassist’s eyes. The drummer rolled down the window and told him to aim out there. He did, but most of the vomit got on the side of the truck. I can only describe the smell, comprised of a mixture of everything I listed earlier that he had in his mouth, to be what Death smells like after a night partying with ke$ha.
We pulled into a gas station and scattered… well, three of us scattered. The bassist fell out of the truck. After we cleaned it and the covered trailer that had all our equipment in it, we hit the road again.
Closer to home, he got sick again, and was joined by the guitarist. We finally reached Natchitoches and pulled the truck into a gas station near the exit. The kind owner of the gas station, at 3 a.m. in the morning gave us a water hose he had behind the building. The drummer and the guitarist (who felt guilty about throwing up on the truck) washed it down. I was inside, making sure the bassist was alive. In a half-dazed moment, I heard a crazed chuckle come from the bassist I thought was asleep. He then muttered something strange.
“What goes around, comes around.”
I asked him what in the hell he was talking about, and he said that all the times the drummer had gotten drunk and made other people care for him were coming back like karma. He was absolutely wrong, but he chuckled over the sound of me dismissing the statement. It was the most senseless boomerang I’d ever heard of.
The Democrats are the bassist in this story.
Refusing to slow down and take better care, they reached a point where they were absolutely intoxicated with the power they had achieved. They refused to negotiate on an unpopular law and as a result the government shut down. “What goes around, comes around,” they said to themselves, just knowing that the Republicans would get the blame and that it would help their own party in the 2014 elections. But, there is a flaw in logic.
The Democrats have put themselves in the position of taking ownership of the shutdown by repeatedly shooting down funding bills in the Senate that are sent over from the House. It’s no longer the House holding the nation hostage, but the Democrats are making no effort to stop it. It will be (and has been) noticed. If the Republicans are smart and hold the line, the Democrats will increasingly be seen as the stalling group. The House is doing their job. They are passing bills to fund the government. The Democrats are not taking them up.
Now, the Republicans do have a president, a Senate and a media run by the opposite party, not to mention their own infighting and blaming the most rightward of the GOP for the shutdown. It will not be a clean win, but it is one, I firmly believe, that they can win. They just need to hold their own for a few days.