Cartoon of older man with fluffy yellow hair and a blue suit with red tie holding his thumb up, but the look on his face is a big frown

Bruce Hornsby was right: things will never change. The Republicans will continue to refuse to negotiate with anyone, and the Democrats will not change their MO of doing nothing. The far-right will keep on pushing legislation that aims to keep America in the Dark Ages. The ultimately pointless Russia investigation is going to grind on while billionaires maintain their grip on global power.

The federal government shutdown ended with a whimper right at the beginning of the week. The Republicans didn’t get their border wall funding but received minimal political or social backlash. The Democrats secured nothing for the Dreamers despite their protection being the entire reason the shutdown occurred. Those immigrants are no safer now than they were before the last couple of weeks and there isn’t anything in the pipeline to make us believe that will change any time soon. Trump and the Republican Senate leadership spat out a few lukewarm words about a vote on a DACA extension or amendment, but that moment quickly passed, and any congressional vote is guaranteed to go against whatever the elected left is seeking. The president’s thumbs did blurt out something about a pathway to citizenship and an increase in the number of DACA recipients. However, his words are to be taken as seriously as a certificate from Ron Paul’s online school of eighteenth-century claptrap. Then there’s the fact he needs the Congress to vote on any legislation. As much as Tweedledumb and Tweedlescum Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan lust after Trump, they will never jeopardize their majorities to help some brown folks.

The people’s representatives should avoid shutting down their government at all costs, but once it has happened there is an imperative to make sure it is productive. After digging in their heels for a few hours, the Democrats could have at least gotten something for the Dreamers. The only had to eat their greens and wait for the chocolate pudding to be delivered. Instead, the shutdown greens looked too yucky and they ended up with no treat at all. They had the political leverage and public support to hold out for a little longer, but they lost their nerve. They agreed to end the shutdown for not a single thing in return. They showed the country they are incapable of providing resistance to the far-right and will never do something that is guaranteed to improve the lives of millions. Everyone should accept the fact that for the next few years the country will be run by ultra-conservatives and disinterested liberals who will tackle none of the long-term problems that should have been fixed a long time ago.

After the shutdown ended, the Republicans put their time to good use on planning a new abortion bill. It bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and offers almost no exceptions. The bill will be up for a vote some time next week when it will doubtless pass without a hitch. There is no medical reasoning for the bill. It is not a societal issue because a woman getting an abortion has no effect on anybody except her and the father. Women’s rights are again being attacked wholly because of what some old novel says. The monsters behind it are the same ones the Democrats cannot and will not fight. If there was ever a group of people who easily should be ripped to shreds by scientific reasoning, political gamesmanship, and public opinion it is the Republicans. Rather than voting on legislation to protect people who already exist, your elected representatives will be spending their time on deciding how little a woman should be able to control her own body. If you haven’t resigned yourself to the entire government being your enemy, you are going to be among the worst-affected.

Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation became mildly interesting this week when Trump told a reporter he is looking forward to soon giving a deposition. While it is unlikely to actually happen, or produce something of substance if it does, there is a good chance the entertainment value will be high enough to make us temporarily forget about how the government isn’t working for us. Who wouldn’t enjoy hearing Trump tell Mueller the Russia investigation is a yuuuuge witch hunt? Everybody would surely giggle at Trump saying he didn’t need the Russians to win because his campaign was so brilliantly superbly fantastically wonderfully awesome and Hillary is a loser who should be the one being investigated for electoral misconduct. Just know the outcome of the investigation will not put your liberal or progressive candidate in the White House, nor will it improve the astoundingly flawed voting system. It is a waste of time and money which should be appreciated only for fleeting moments of joviality.

The world’s political and business leaders met in Davos for their annual circle jerk. I could go into detail on the themes of each year or what the predominantly male attendees discuss, but there’s no point. More than 2,000 rich people get together for the World Economic Forum in a beautiful Swiss mountain town and achieve nothing. The meeting has never been followed by an increase in wages, an improvement of union membership or powers, or better access to jobs and capital for women and young people. The media badmouthed Trump’s speech for a couple of days and then went on their merry way. Whenever you see a story about Davos just ignore it and move on to the funnies to see how Garfield had a more productive week than the United States Congress.

Here we are only three weeks after purgatory (thank you for being the regular reader you are) knowing exactly what is going to happen with our government: nothing new or progressive. Nobody can expect the incumbent elected left to do anything to stop the far-right getting its way and destroying lives. The biggest issues of our time will not be given any attention. The year will be filled with blame games and empty promises as we approach the midterms. As grim as this week’s article is, it’s nothing to what Trump’s first State of the Union address will be on Tuesday. Another inaugural speech train wreck is in the cards. At least there will be something different about it to look forward to, though. There won’t be any of Obama’s tooth flashing or Biden’s finger pointing and facial contortions.

As you resign yourself to the current horrific state of our government, keep a hope and fight alive for progress outside of politics. You can still, among other things, volunteer at a food pantry, donate to your favorite nonprofits, and help your neighbors with their problems. You can still be productive and useful. You can still be happy.