For most of Barack Obama’s second term, referencing the “government shutdown” would present no difficulties of listener comprehension. It was a one-time closure of the everyday functioning of the federal government triggered by intransigent Republicans for spurious philosophical reasons. It was, in fact, The Shutdown, deserving of its definite article.
Shutdowns in the Trump era are destined to be multitudinous. They are in their brevity less like a full power outage and more like a brownout. A light flickers as Rand Paul takes a “principled moral stand” before service resumes, then our shambolic government lurches forward.
As Whiteside put it, we’re just glad Rand’s found a hobby.