WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In a surprising turn of events that has drawn criticism from the Democrats and widespread Republican support, furloughed federal government employees have accepted the blame for their current hiatus from work.
Gathering Friday on the steps of the Capitol building, government workers held up signs taking responsibility for the government shutdown and criticizing the Democrats for "playing political football with the shutdown." Gone were the depictions of John Boehner as a wailing infant throwing a tempter tantrum, and the messages demanding to be let back to work. Instead, in a drastic tonal shift, the signs mostly displayed apologies for allowing the shutdown to occur.
Wendy Miller, a 47-year-old Centers for Disease Control and Prevention employee from Atlanta, told reporters at the scene that she was "relieved" when, following Texas Rep. Randy Neugebauer's brave stand against a Park Service employee, the consensus within the group of furloughed employees shifted dramatically. "I felt really bad about how much blame the GOP was getting for this whole situation," Miller said. "We were acting like it was all their fault. But aren't we at least equally, if not more, to blame? I mean, it's not like we did anything to stop them. Sure, we made calls, wrote letters, answered public opinion polls, picketed, and turned to the news media to explain what it would cost us individually and collectively if it came to this. But it's not like we stepped up to the plate and passed a budget ourselves or anything."
Oliver Hendrickson, a Federal Aviation Administration safety inspector, agreed. "Yeah, we said 'please don't do this.' But that's simply not enough. We should obviously have reached our arms inside our representatives, just like you would with a sock puppet -- it is a little-mentioned fact that members of Congress and sock puppets have sufficiently similar anatomy to produce hybrids, like horses and mules -- and made them work. We should have manipulated their mouths to form the words 'We have made our point that we no longer like Romneycare now that it is known as Obamacare forty times over, and we are going to give it a rest now.' How can we defend our inaction? It's just negligence. We simply were not doing our jobs as part of the American public."
Rep. Neugebauer made a point of visiting the protest and shaking the hands of Miller, Hendrickson, and other spokespeople at the forefront of this shift in rhetoric. "Finally!" he said. "It's like, what are you people doing? I want to go to see some memorials and stuff and you're not open. What if some kids wanted to see that? Won't somebody think of the children?" Neugebauer was careful to caution that accepting blame doesn't totally make up for the shutdown, but that it is "an important first step for the federal government employees toward restitution."
Hand-wringing Democrats attempted to speak with the protestors, but many, like Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN) were reduced to near-catatonia, muttering "I-I don't know what level of reality we're operating on, here" before sinking into a cross-legged position on the ground with his hands in his lap, staring at nothing.
Fox News has been getting significant mileage out of interviews like Miller gave, but, surprisingly, Sean Hannity devoted the least amount of time to the reports of any news commentary show. After briefly alluding to the change with unqualified approval, Hannity concluded "But I don't really care. I'm still rich. I still have a head of darkish hair, fluffed up by the susurrus of Reagan's eternal spirit whispering 'trickle-down' into it at the roots. I have not been raptured. And you know what that means? The world didn't end because the government shut down. And by the way, if it did, it would be because Obamacare went into effect. Not because of that other thing -- what's it called? I already forgot, because it doesn't affect me personally. So move on, people!"
Asked for a comment on the unfolding shift in support, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney dropped to all fours and crawled rapidly out of the press room.
NOTE: This piece is satirical. All quotations are fabrications for the purpose of satire.