The government shutdown that has been hanging over our heads in the latest example of Congress’s inability to function has actually begun! After the House and Senate engaged in a legislative feedback loop that failed pass a spending bill late Monday night, the shutdown went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

Sure, there are 800,000 non-essential federal workers who will be temporarily laid-off right after they shut down their operations this morning. And, yeah, employees “necessary to ensure national security and protect Americans’ lives and property” will be working without pay. But the government shutdown affects us all. 

What further proof do we need than the immediate blackout of the National Zoo’s giant panda cam? If only the Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, ABC News, and the Washington Post had covered this story earlier. I can only imagine House Republicans would have thought twice about their all-or-nothing negotiation strategy if they had known the gun they were holding was pointing at a cute and popular animal web cam.

So the hundreds of thousands of workers directly affected by the shutdown will have to fill their sudden free time with something other than moving images of a few endangered exotic bears. And so will we.

To learn more about what exactly this shutdown entails, check out this thorough article from the Washington Post.