We Were Sequestered Before It Was Cool
By: Michael R. Shannon
The Obama Administration’s Ministry of Truth has been experiencing some traction problems in the DC area. The scare stories regarding the collapse of the air travel system in the event of sequester are simply not motivating people in spite of the fact the Mainstream Media (MSM) has dutifully spread the word.
We are warned that in the event of sequester, massive TSA layoffs will result in airline passengers waiting up to three hours before they can be groped by a highly–trained government sex harasser. Slashing the budget by two cents on every dollar will also mean TSA guards won’t be changing rubber gloves between touchy–feely sessions.
Female passengers, who undergo nearly nude full–body scans, will be relieved to learn this drastic reduction torpedoes the ink budget. TSA can no longer afford to print particularly comely images for posting in the lunchroom. And since it’s too costly to store the pictures on government hard drives, TSA will ask remaining employees to work overtime and upload the images to their Facebook accounts for safekeeping.
According to the White House, you aren’t even safe on board the aircraft. Air traffic controllers will be awakened from their control tower naps and told to go sleep at home. The few remaining will be grumpy and sleepy, with a consequent slowdown in takeoffs and landings.
Assuming one gets in the air, passengers will be shocked to learn airlines will no longer offer free in–flight meals and instead expect passengers to pay handsomely for sandwiches wrapped and catered by 7/11. Wait, that’s already happened. Sorry, false alarm.
All in all it’s a horrible foretaste of privation and delay, yet not a single Republican Congressman is hanging from a lamppost. In fact there is so much indifference here that Obama has taken his nationwide Hyperventilation Tour on the road.
The reason for our calm in the face of the impending storm is that Metro, our local DC subway system, has essentially been sequestered for the past two years and life has continued. It’s more inconvenient, spontaneous and ad hoc — at least when it comes to arriving on time — but it is life.
I’ve long contended Metro is the only mass trans system run by an improv group, but now the passengers are joining in the fun. Take this week for instance: Tuesday morning on the Silver Line (this is DC, so everything has to do with money) crack Metro crews were testing equipment. As the WaPost reports, one of the brakes began to lock up. Like the spinster on the way to church who assumes a flat tire will heal itself, the crew continued operating the train trying to get off the track before rush hour or looming obsolescence caught up with them.
They didn’t make it. The wheel wore down to a nub, a pantoodler fell off and sliced through 60 cables and the system ground to a halt. The only thing left to do was call AAA and wait for the tow truck.
Metro officialdom predicted repairs would be complete by noon, but it took a total of nine hours. Metro sent alerts to passengers twice and then their thumbs got tired. So between 7 AM and 2 PM Metro passengers were on their own, which is a not uncommon condition. Then a train malfunctioned on the Yellow Line. There was a track problem on the Blue line. And another train shot craps on the Green Line.
And those are just the unplanned shutdowns.
The system regularly closes entire stations on the weekend and as a matter of fact the Reagan Airport station will be shut for three days beginning March 1st. (I guess they figured what with the sequester and all, no one will be flying anyway.)
Metro limits the number of trains on holidays and shuts escalators for months at a time forcing passengers to trudge upward toward daylight from the bowels of the system. Recently on a single day Metro passengers suffered seven electronic thefts and every last one of them was during daylight hours! Thieves evidently rest during the night so they can read the manuals and learn how to download apps.
The reason Metro ‘service’ is such a gamble is management didn’t bother with routine maintenance for the past 15 or so years. I’m guessing the thinking was: We’re the government, what could go wrong? So current passengers pay for the mistakes of past incompetent management, a situation young people are soon to encounter with regard to Social Security taxes.
Frankly, I’m hoping the full effect of the sequester hits when the majority of members of Congress are out of town. That way if they can’t get back, they can’t resume spending.
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.