Sunday, 24 November 2013

The US Government Shutdown revisited: Neil Peart and the Dilligafs

Last month, recalling a recent holiday in the USA, I described two narrow escapes resulting from the National Parks being briefly closed down when the government ran out of money, and the forces of officialdom in Washington Dulles International Airport reacting with bovine indifference and then sadistic obstruction to our need to catch a connecting internal flight to Atlanta.

How coincidental it was, a few weeks later, to be reading Neil Peart’s account of his latest USA road trip, not long after Rush had finished their Clockwork Angels tour, through Zion Park and Bryce Canyon with a touch of Route 66 thrown in. That certainly brought back some happy memories for me from previous trips to the West. (Neil – hope the Aston Martin’s bumper has recovered from the deer hoof.)
Over to the man himself. Having evidently avoided the effects of the shutdown thanks to Utah undertaking to reopen its parks, he speaks robustly for every foreign tourist who has experienced the US National Parks or hopes to do so: -
“But what did these foreigners think of a country in which a few mean-spirited creeps could hold the entire country hostage—all for the principle of denying mercy to the suffering (because it might be “their own fault”—hardly a Christian objection), while also denying its citizens (and “resident aliens,” as this Canadian is classified) access to their property? (A flashing sign inside Bryce Canyon National Park put it nicely: “Welcome to Bryce. Enjoy Your Park.”) These foreign visitors, like the American seniors who also visit the national parks outside the summer months, might have waited all their lives for this one opportunity. And there are tens of thousands of Americans, especially in the West, whose livelihoods are tied to the national parks.”
Expanding his theme, NP goes on to suggest that those “few, miserable damaged egos” who caused the Parks shutdown and displayed such disregard for its consequential effect on intending visitors ought to wear T-shirts bearing a slogan otherwise only fit for renegade bikers and surly rednecks, namely “Do I Look Like I Give A Fornication?” How neat to see this “expression of pure evil” producing the eminently pronounceable acronym “DILLIGAF”.
So as I think back to how my own recent USA trip was almost ruined, and then reflect in turn on the way that we are governed here in the UK by a political class and an administrative machine that all too often appears to have little regard to the practical impact of its conduct on those who have to pay for it, may I suggest that the acronym is upgraded to a noun?
“Dilligaf”: a politician or official who, having acted quite unreasonably, reacts with deliberate indifference or hostility to the plight of someone suffering materially as a result of that act.
In passing, that would sit neatly alongside “snollygoster”, but that’s another story.

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