Hartley: A beautiful autumn despite D.C.’s worst efforts | AspenTimes.com

Hartley: A beautiful autumn despite D.C.’s worst efforts

I went for a hike with my dogs on Tuesday, the first day of the dreaded government shutdown, and I have to say that it was the most glorious autumn day I’ve ever experienced in my 43 years of living in both New England and Colorado.

This was not because of the shutdown, mind you. In fact, we wanted to go for a hike at the Maroon Bells, but thanks to the inaction of the petulant douche bags in our House of Representatives, the Bells were closed, so we had to go elsewhere.

Still, it was an absolutely perfect day. There was not a cloud in the sky, and everyone we encountered on the trail was in fine spirits. They were all out with their dogs, too, and every one of us — dogs and people alike — got along splendidly without any concern for one another’s political leanings, unlike the spoiled, partisan brats we seem to have elected to Congress.

Sure, some of us may have been facing imminent financial hardships, and most of us probably know people whose lives are being upended by a bunch of intractable, whiny, self-entitled pricks in Washington, but right then, with the sun shining down and nature’s splendor on full display, it was hard to feel anything but happy.

I briefly thought of my wife, who may finally be able to purchase affordable health insurance if the mean-spirited corporate lickspittles of the GOP abide by the Supreme Court-upheld law of the land and allow Obamacare to be fully implemented, but she was away on business just then, and it was too nice a day to spend much time worrying about her.

The fall colors, more vibrant than any I’ve ever seen, encompassed the full range of ROYG, with a little V thrown in for good measure. (B and I were conspicuously absent, but I kind of expected that.) To be honest, I can’t remember when I’ve seen so many colors on display at the same time, which made the hike pretty much exactly the opposite of today’s Republican Party. (Later this winter, when the ground is covered in snow, I’ll go for a hike in a blizzard to see a visual representation of the GOP.)

I fully understood that the myriad colors I was seeing were a result of all the rain we’ve gotten recently — rain that caused incalculable amounts of suffering and damage to people in the Boulder area — and though I wished the rain hadn’t destroyed people’s homes and lives, it sure did make things look pretty. Besides, I thought, the nitwits in our government seem intent on ruining people’s lives more thoroughly than any flood, so the rain probably didn’t matter all that much anyway.

We walked along, unbothered by the blatant and patently criminal extortion going on back in D.C., and each bend of the trail brought some stunning new vista that was even more gorgeous than what we’d just seen. I was reminded again that I am incredibly privileged to live in one of the most beautiful parts of the greatest country on Earth even if that country is currently saddled with the worst government anyone could possibly conceive of.

For just a moment, I allowed myself to revel in the fantasy of kicking every congressperson and senator out of office and replacing them with people who actually care more about America than their despicable political parties, but since I knew that would never happen — despite its being the greatest idea ever — I didn’t dwell on it too long.

Instead, I basked in the warmth of a perfect Colorado morning and said a little nondenominational prayer for the hundreds of thousands of people who were being furloughed as a result of the shutdown and wouldn’t be getting a paycheck anytime soon. I felt bad for those people, but I didn’t let it bum me out too much because I knew that all those hardships and hungry mouths really didn’t amount to much in the grand scheme of things.

For you see, I realized deep down inside that those nonessential people, who actually perform helpful services when they’re not being told they can’t work, don’t really matter. They’re little and insignificant and apparently not worthy of concern.

No, the most important thing — the notion that warmed the cockles of my heart — was the fact that during this shutdown, our elected representatives, who are evidently the most nonessential people of all, will still be getting paid. Thank God for that.

Todd Hartley encourages all our elected representatives to self-deport to any country that can stomach them. To read more or leave a comment, please visit http://www.zerobudget.net.


Writers on the Range: The Colorado River comes alive even as it ebbs

The Colorado River is revealing its secrets. For decades, a World War II landing craft lay submerged 200 feet beneath Lake Mead’s surface — but, now it’s beached, rusting in the sun. It’s become an unsettling marker of just how vulnerable the river is and how parched the Intermountain West has become.

See more

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.