5 Sideshow Stories from the Government Shutdown

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As the shutdown of the Federal Government draws near the two week milestone, most eyes are on Capitol Hill and the White House, and most of the news related to the shutdown is about the near total intransigence of the two main political parties. But while the Democrats and the GOP in congress are busy with their back-and-forth blame games and the news media is busy trolling for sound bites, there have been a few stories tangentially related to this ridiculous shutdown that have little to do with lawmakers, and everything to do with good old American spirit.

5 Wedding Bells Aren’t Ringing

A surprising number of couples had weddings planned with ceremonies and receptions to be held in national parks right in the midst of the government shutdown. Now many brides- and grooms-to-be have to decide whether they would rather postpone their nuptials or else move to a backup venue. In fact, one park in Tennessee, Cades Cove, has already seen no fewer than 28 weddings cancelled or delayed.

4 Wild Horses Are Running Wild

One of the more obscure jobs usually handled by federal employees is a huge round up of the famed wild ponies of Assateague Island off the Virginia coast. Each year, government dollars fund a team of specialized wranglers who round up the one hundred and thirty-odd wild equines and give each a medical examination and any treatment they need before releasing them again. This year, not only will the ponies not get their medical care, but the region also stands to lose huge amounts of revenue from the tourists who come to watch the phenomenon.

3 Private Farmers Everywhere Are Losing Cash

From the citrus growers of Florida to cotton farmers in Georgia to pig farmers nationwide, those private citizens whose lives depend on agriculture are feeling the stinging effect of the government shutdown. The feds fund and manage myriad data collection and forecasting operations, such as the annual “citrus forecast” and the work conducted by groups like the American Association of Swine Veterinarians. With the federal dollars dried up, farmers and growers lack the valuable data needed to predict demand, to set pricing, and, in short, to farm well.

2 Sugar Daddy Websites Are Seeing Boom Times

Likely due to a slew of female federal employees who have suddenly found themselves without a source of income as the government shutdown persists, so-called “sugar daddy” sites are seeing a dramatic uptick in traffic. These are sites that (generally) link older, affluent men with single women willing to provide companionship (and/or more) in exchange for gifts, cash, lavish meals and other perks.

1 A Private Citizen Mowed the Lawn at the Lincoln Memorial

Armed with the flag of his native South Carolina and a walk-behind lawn mower, Chris Cox set out to tackle a task left by the wayside with the government shutdown and mow the grass surrounding the Lincoln Memorial. That job likely would have taken him days, but he was stopped by D.C. police long before finding out just how long he’d need to do the job the park service was not. “These are our memorials,” he said later. “Do they think that we’re just going to let them go to hell? No!”

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