Grandpa, what’s a shutdown?

Elijah IMG_9555

Elijah with Grandpa: “I don’t like that, Grandpa!”

Watching the news last night, Elijah was worried.

Grandpa! What’s a shutdown?

Well, Elijah, let me think. You’re just eight-months old. Let’s try this. If your Mom decided not to feed you anymore, that would be a shutdown.

Mom’s not going to feed me anymore? Mom and I were on the NEWS?


Elijah with Mom

No, no, Mom’s not going to shutdown your feeding. She loves you very much. I’m just saying that’s what a shutdown is like.

So, who’s being shutdown?

The government.

What’s a government?

It’s what keeps us together in a democracy.

What’s a democracy?

Actually, I mis-spoke. We’re not a democracy. We’re a democratic Republic, a representative democracy. We govern ourselves by electing people to represent us in Congress and the Presidency.

Did all those people die? Did they get shutdown?

No, Elijah, they’re the ones who are threatening to shutdown the government.

Why, Grandpa?

Because they’ve forgotten why they’re there. They’re confusing government with a sandbox. It’s not. The government belongs to the American people. They’re acting like kindergarteners throwing sand at each other in the kindergarten sandbox. If they keep doing this, there’s be no sand left. The sandbox itself will be gone. It’ll all be shut down.

I don’t like that, Grandpa, and I don’t like the way you’re talking. You’re making fun of kindergarteners!


Kindergarteners working together in the sandbox

You’re right, Elijah, I shouldn’t make fun of kindergarteners. Kindergarteners are better than that. They’re adults. They’re not acting like children. If they acted like children, we might be better off. Like the psalmist said,

Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have ordained strength,
Because of Your enemies,
That You may silence the enemy and the avenger. (Psalm 82:3)

Thanks, Grandpa. I like the psalmist. Will their Moms shut them down if they shut down the government?

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, January 19, 2018.
This entry was posted in America, democracy, Family, Life, Writing and tagged , , by Gordon C. Stewart. Bookmark the permalink.

About Gordon C. Stewart

I've always liked quiet. And, like most people, I've experienced the world's madness. "Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness" (Wipf and Stock Publishers, Jan. 2017) distills 47 years of experiencing stillness and madness as a campus minister and Presbyterian pastor (IL, WI, NY, OH, and MN), poverty criminal law firm executive director, and social commentator. Our dog Barclay reminds me to calm down and be much more still than I would be without him.

9 thoughts on “Grandpa, what’s a shutdown?

  1. Much wisdom here, Gordon. The folks in Congress seem to have forgotten who sent them there, and why, and they long ago lost any understanding of ‘meeting in the middle.’ Compromising doesn’t mean you are weak, it demonstrates that you wish to make forward progress *together*. My heart is heavy so often these days….


    • I think it’s not just you, Marilyn. I, too, think things have gotten worse. The common good seems nowhere in view except perhaps in the backrooms where reasonable folks leave their party loyalties outside in the hallway.


          • Time travel and other science fiction. Cops and robbers, thrillers. There’s a new James Lee Burke book out titled “Robicheaux” — it was great! Laurie King, short stories about Mary Russell and husband Sherlock Holmes. Jodie Taylor — Time traveling historians from the wacky St. Mary’s “institution.” Fire & Fury.

            Also, I’ve got a bunch of books coming in because I’m a judge for the Audies. I’ll have a deadline on those and I hope they aren’t too long. When I’m done with the Audies — February, probably — I’m thinking of going back and rereading “Postwar” by Tony Judt. It’s almost 1000 pages, so I have to take a deep breath and dive, dive, dive.


              • The problem with my reading is that it takes up a LOT of time … and so does writing. If I start reading early in the day, I don’t get anything done at all, so I try to get all my post writing and editing done early, but often, the day is gone and I never do get to my books. Now, though, I’m going into my judging the Audies thing, so for the next few weeks, I’m going to have to put most other things aside and JUST read. Oddly enough — well, maybe not so oddly — Tom, my friend and other writer, is also doing the Audies, so we will both be a busy, though he usually judges categories that take less reading than mine. It all depends on how long the books are. When i was reading history, I barely had time to sleep, much less write.

                Reading is probably the one single thing that has kept me sane through sickness, depression, hard time, bad marriages. Everything. Now, I listen rather than read text, but I still live in books.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Unlike #45, I have thoughts. Many. I’m impressed. I mean REALLY impressed. Genuinely impressed. In awe. I guessI that’s more a feeling than a thought, but I sometimes confuse the two. I’ll count it as a thought. Why not? 45 would! He doesn’t read anything, including his morning briefings about Rocket Man.

                  But I have a question for Audi judge. A BIG question.

                  I’ve considered turning Elijah’s conversations with Grandpa into an audio book. 1) What do you think? 2) If you think it’s worth doing, with what audio platform/company would you recommend?

                  I wish you, Garry, Tom, and the rest of the SERENDIPITY a non-Shutdown day, and lots of peace and sanity in the midst of the world that makes less sense every day.


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