Richard North over at EUReferendum wrote yesterday on the Federal Shutdown and whilst he wrote about it from a democracy in action perspective something else struck me when he wrote at the start:
The barricade in picture seems largely for show. When elderly veterans piled off the chartered buses
in front of the World War II Memorial, some in wheelchairs, metal
barricades and signs announcing a closure due to the shutdown of the
federal government awaited them.
But, said Republican Congressman Steven M. Palazzo, "the barricades just
seemed to part. A US Park Police officer, who declined to give his
name, observed: "I'm not going to enforce the 'no stopping or standing'
sign for a group of 90 World War II veterans", adding, "I'm a veteran
What struck me were those barriers. Granted its not the main news over here but its been on the TV quite a bit and the barriers have featured each time along with the notices pointing out that parks and places generally aren't open due to the Federal Government SHUTDOWN.
Now I might be wrong but there's just something about this whole thing that's a little odd. Why the barriers? Do those barriers go up every single night and time that those parks and buildings have to close? Or are they something new? Those notices as well, all nicely designed and printed.
I mean, don't they just look a little - erm, well, slick?
I saw the barriers again on the TV news with a quick shot from New York at what looked like a view from some kind of pier which had another sign on it saying it wasn't possible to visit Ellis Island due to the SHUTDOWN and as I said earlier, more barriers.
What struck me as odd about the New York imagery was that immediately beyond the barriers was the small remaining bit of pier and then water. In short, there's no need for the barriers there.
In fact from what I can gather, the memorial mentioned in Richard North's post is regularly accessible even when it's "closed" and no guards are present
In other words, this whole thing looks like political theatre and there's even more evidence to suggest that it is with stories beginning to circulate of people being paid to protest the Republican leader at one of the closed sites.
The barriers will have cost money to place there and to remain there. The notices will have cost money to produce and place there. The guards will have cost money to place there. It seems for a government with no money, there's money left for politicking.
Propaganda doesn't have to be the overt in your face propaganda we've witnessed in despotic regimes in history. It can be the in the little signs and signals that reach your mind and create an images. Those buildings, memorials and parks could simply be closed like they do each day. But nothing says "closed" quite like an imposing barrier does it. Also nothing says closed for political reasons quite like notices that capitalise the word "SHUTDOWN".
My point is that this looks like a game which is a sad indictment for whomever organised this. These are serious times, that need serious people to act like grown ups and have serious conversations about what is right for the future of the nation they're supposed to be running.
The whole thing leaves a bad taste in the mouth.