You know, we were okay with closing a few national parks, and we could even manage to soldier on without the Pandacam for a while. But if this thing is going to result in having to kill laboratory mice, you people have just gone too far.
Signs stating “Don’t Cruzify America” and “End the Shut Down” greeted travellers on the Atlanta Highway by the Georgia Square Mall — the location of Rep. Paul Broun’s office — Friday afternoon as about 25 protesters waved their displeasure at the ongoing partial shutdown of the federal government.
Amy Rosemond said she had been thinking about the protest since the shutdown started Oct. 1. She, like others present, said she took particular umbrage at Broun’s line-in-the-sand of refusing to support any spending bill that does not defund the Affordable Care Act. President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats held their own line and have been refusing to negotiate over funding the federal government or the upcoming debt ceiling — the common term for when Congress must authorize a higher federal debt limit or default on the country’s bills.
I know what you’re thinking. Sure… Cruz is a horrible person and Obama is going all superhero on us by standing firm in his beliefs. Fine. But what about the mice?
At Friday’s protest, Linda Exum, a retired federal employee, pointed out that she and many others did not take the offerings from Broun’s aide.
“I’m pretty sure I don’t care about a doughnut when the government is shut down,” she said…
She noted a story in National Public Radio about the likely early deaths of thousands of mice used for research on diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. According to NPR, the National Institutes of Health will have to kill some mice to avoid overcrowding, and because it’s impossible to maintain certain lines of genetically altered mice without constant monitoring. Most federal scientists have been banned from their labs since Oct. 1, according to NPR.
That’s not just a waste of mice and money, Exum said, it’s a waste of potential research and human capital. Furloughed employees will receive back-pay once the government is funded again.
Protesters arrived and were eager to tell the media that they were standing against acts of tyranny, where our government is held hostage for negotiations. Broun’s office responded by bringing out Powerade and donuts to hand out to the crowd. That seemed to be something of a repeating theme, as Broun and others offered possible solutions to the shutdown, while Howard Dean decided to call the Congressman’s medical credentials into question. Broun is running for the Senate seat being vacated by Saxby Chambliss, so Democrats have a serious, vested interest in throwing as much mud at him as they can. They are also annoyed by the fact that Broun is a medical doctor who is bluntly critical of Obamacare.
Of course, as a doctor, you’d think he would be more concerned about the mice. Or something.