How Our Government Acted Like the Final Season of ‘Lost’

[WARNING: If you’re one of those poor souls who avoided Lost for six years because you wanted to watch the entire series on Netflix, then the following rant is most definitely not for you.]

Tell me if this following progression of thoughts sounds familiar:

“Hmph. Well, that didn’t make much sense, but they’ve got a lot of time to figure this out so I’m not worried.”

“Okay, I’m really not understanding this at all, but they’ve managed to do good stuff in the past so we’ll see how this plays out.”

“There’s only a month left. Shouldn’t they be addressing some of the larger issues?”

“Only a few more weeks. C’mon, guys, let’s have some resolution here!”

“HOLY CRAP SNACKS! We’re one week away and there’s still nothing here that resembles a coherent plan!”

If any of that sounds familiar, it should. Because you either thought it during Congress’ recent fight over the debt ceiling or as you were watching the sixth and final season of Lost.

It can be a hard thing to watch a story progress, only to get closer and closer to the ending and realize that the people who are supposed to be qualified at driving this thing really don’t have a master plan for seeing it through.

I actually liked some things about the series finale of Lost, but let’s be honest: if the executive producers had really had a master plan for the show–and they had at least three years to figure it out, considering ABC announced the date of the final episode a few years in advance–then the final act of the Oceanic 815ers would have gone a lot differently than it did.

Even still, it’s a television show. It’s fiction. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for Congress’ recent fight over the debt ceiling. Again, the comparisons to Lost are obvious.

People who were looking on might be frustrated, but they could also take comfort in knowing that this issue still had a few months before it needed to be resolved. Surely, we thought, someone behind the scenes has a grand strategy for making this work! And, like the sixth-season watchers of Lost, disbelief and anger grew as people started to realize that the people in charge of this thing really didn’t have any idea of how it was going to end.

Like Lost, how a lot of things went down simply didn’t make sense. President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner worked together to create a plan that would’ve cut $4 trillion–only to have it rejected by people who would later vote for a plan that actually succeeded in cutting far less than that and earned this nation a downgrade in its credit rating. Boehner later floated a bill in the House that he knew would never be passed in the Senate–but he wasted a few days on it, anyway. Likewise, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid focused his attention on his own bill that everyone seemed to know didn’t have a chance at passing.

And then there’s the Tea Party, which threatened to not raise the debt ceiling and, in so doing, destroy this nation’s economy–all so they could make a point about fiscal responsibility.

So what’s the solution to this? I’m not sure.

All I know is that people were never at risk of losing their jobs because Lost didn’t explain where that cork in the center of the Island came from. That show might have been crazy at times, but it was never dangerous.

Too bad we can’t say the same for Congress.

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