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An Open Letter to Speaker Boehner - Just Me and the Captain — LiveJournal

Oct. 7th, 2013

08:40 am - An Open Letter to Speaker Boehner

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Open letters seem to be all the rage this week, so here's mine:

Dear Speaker Boehner,

On Friday, you mentioned that the current government shut-down is "not a damn game." This is where I must strongly disagree with you, Mr. Speaker. The fact is, it is a game, and if you honestly don't believe that, then we're all worse off. Perhaps you are under the wrong impression that games are light-hearted diversions meant only for children. While it's true that some are, this is not a good definition of a game. One of the best definitions of a game comes from Greg Costikyan who states: "A game is a form of art in which participants, termed players, make decisions in order to manage resources through game tokens in the pursuit of a goal." If that doesn't describe the United States government, I don't know what does.

Perhaps you are confused as to the point of the game. While the point of many games is to "have fun," that does not apply to all games. Sometimes the point of a game is to learn something, make money, or merely be social with others. What's the point of the game you're playing? It's actually mentioned at the very beginning of the rules manual, but let me re-state it for you: it's "in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity...." In my opinion, it's a very noble game, but a game, nonetheless.

Perhaps you think a game is strictly competitive in nature. This also is a common misconception about games, but not all games operate like this. There are many types of cooperative games, like Pandemic, Forbidden Island, and Dungeons & Dragons. All these examples give players an opportunity to work together to achieve a common goal. Believe it or not, politics works the same way. Yes, there is a zero-sum sub-game where only certain players have particular powers at any given time, but remember your ultimate goal: it's not to accumulate power, but to promote the general Welfare. If the American people are better off, even though you've personally lost prestige, influence, and power, then congratulations, you've won!

Of course, unlike many games, this particular game doesn't end. It will keep going long after you exit it, though how you play will certainly be talked about for some time. All games are about making decisions and the way I see it, you have a simple choice: stay the course, wrecking the economy and hurting millions of people, not to mention further damaging the reputation of the Republican Party OR allow a clean Continuing Resolution and convince your party to vote in favor of it to get the government operational again improving everyone's lives, including yours.

It's your turn: what's your move?