The man being interviewed clears his throat thoughtfully, as he ponders the really big dilemmas. Does alien life exist out there in the universe? Will we find it–or will it find us–one day?

I think the entire conversation is silly. We’ve been receiving alien transmissions for a long time. All I have to do to hear them is turn the radio dial.

“Who knows if the theory of evolution is true? And who cares? Why would you even ask anyone about it…it’s such a gotcha question!”

“Kbbhhlth…zgfffx…Women who want equal pay are angry feminazis….”

Somewhere in the darkest reaches of space, a planet is spinning wildly. Its empty canyons echo with the sounds of Joni Ernst’s manic laughter, its silence occasionally interrupted by the sobbing call of the orange-hued Boehner. It’s beaming its signals back to the reality I inhabit. Its messages are enigmatic and difficult to decipher.

“It was a good decision to go into Iraq…bleep bleep blorp…”

What in God’s name are these lifeforms trying to say? Either this is a civilization so advanced that I am unable to follow the twists and turns of its logic, or these aliens have spent such a long time breathing in their own unique atmosphere that it has driven them nuts.

The serious question is, why do I continue to spend my time intercepting their radio communications, trying to make sense of the garbled noise they broadcast? I could listen to NPR, which reports on actual Earth news as opposed to that of an alternate universe. The NPR hosts speak in measured, reasonable tones. The guests are experts in their field. They don’t scream at the people they disagree with, or break down weeping, or rave with excitement about the upcoming end of the world. So why do I change the station?

Could it be that I’m just a little bit crazy myself? Could it be that I have an attachment to my beliefs which is unreasonable, immoderate, irrational? Is it easier for me to identify with these strange creatures which lose their temper when they care too much, than with the humans who calmly explain how they feel?

Whatever the case, I will keep listening for the sounds of the insane planet, listening to it whirling in the darkness, while I sit in front of the radio and whirl around my own confused axis.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the theatrics in Washington DC, the duelling banjos of Obama and Boehner, and to forget that what is going on has consequences which will extend beyond our own borders.  Whether this is still true or not, we continue to be perceived as the leader of the world, and when the leader of the world engages in absurd antics, the results might not be so great.

In an interview with CNN, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim reminded us that a United States default will painfully affect the world’s poorest as well.  As he put it, “it’s having an impact on the little guys,” with the cost of capital rising for those in impoverished countries trying to work or start businesses.  We may look at our own government and say  “To hell with all of them!”–I know I do at this point–but this thing has the potential to turn into a global economic crisis.

Of course, the fact that a default might crush “the little guys” probably means the Republicans will only support it even more.  After all, those Third World people should pull themselves up by their own nonexistent bootstraps instead of expecting a handout.  So I may be giving them one more reason not to raise the debt ceiling…maybe it would have been better to remain quiet about this one.