The Washington Post

For Shark Week, raise the debt ceiling

Appealing to the better angels in people’s natures seldom accomplishes much.

Still small voice? Better amplify it if you want anyone to listen.

All kinds of strategies have been attempted to persuade Congress to raise the debt ceiling, some more subtle than others. “If you don’t raise it, we’ll go into default, our credit rating will suffer, and an already tenuous recovery will be put on ice!” “Here is a Reagan quote that says the same!” “Harold Camping predicted that there would be big movement on the debt ceiling right about now!” “I recently contacted the spirit of Alexander Hamilton and he was very insistent on this point!” All to no avail.

Logic has been tried. (“Don’t you love remaining solvent?” we asked. “Boy, that sure is fun!”) Logic has been found wanting.

Now it’s time to bring out the big guns.

We’ve put up with this long enough. At first, it was amusing. Then it was frightening. It gave us something to watch on cable and to yell about over the dinner table — all well and good.

But if this drags out until the Aug. 2 deadline, we are going to have a conflict of the most serious kind: with Shark Week.

There are holidays — Yom Kippur. Christmas. Halloween.

And then there’s Shark Week. Shark Week is sacrosanct. We could repent and mend our ways any time we wanted. We could give gifts to our families any time we liked. We could dress up in frightening costumes on almost any day of the year — or at least David Wu could. But Shark Week is holy. And if this debate continues, we won’t be able to focus properly.

So listen up. If you aren’t going to raise the debt ceiling because you think it’s the right thing to do, if you aren’t going to raise the debt ceiling because you want to spite Michele Bachmann, if you aren’t even going to raise the debt ceiling because the American people have the collective attention span of addled gnats and you sense that we are getting restless, then raise the debt ceiling because if you don’t, it’s going to interfere with Shark Week. And if there’s one thing up with which America will not put up with, it’s having to focus on things other than the man-eating Great White or the scintillating hammerhead during the first week of August.

Send this to everyone you know who you think might be even tenuously involved in government! Let’s get a movement started.

E-mail this image to your congressperson!

That’s a bit of a mouthful, but I’m out of other ideas.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".


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