The Shutdown—Learning to Understand and Appreciate Government

For those who think they want a smaller government, pay attention to the current partial government shutdown.  Hopefully, the result of this current shrinkage of government, will be an appreciation for the complexity and scope of the various agencies that function 24/7 to keep us safe, funded, and a government that provides for "... the common defense and promotes the general welfare.”

FaCT promotes sustainability; shutting down the government does not.  Many of the phrases and words that I have used in this writing should be familiar because we have heard them before, but have we actually taken time to think about them when the government shuts down and the impact that has on every aspect of our daily lives?  The obvious answer is “no” because we take for granted a functioning government.

Unfortunately, it is a New Day in America, "...Welcome to the Party, Pal." We are in for a wild ride as our president flounders through his questionable constitutional endeavors.  Our democracy works well when we have qualified, well-intentioned representatives of the people that take their oaths of office seriously.

I have always valued education and life-long learning.  There are lessons to learn when we get the facts and the education required for implementation. This is easy to say when one has the resources for a safe place to live, an adequate education, gainful employment, affordable healthcare, safe food and water supplies, and I could go on.  I am describing an open, functioning government providing for the "general welfare," which is often taken for granted—luxuries that not all of us are able to achieve or have "handed to them" by wealthy relatives. 

That is when government becomes the "shining city on the hill" providing everyday necessities for those that need assistance.  In my own family, my husband not only served in the military but also worked for the government in the Social Security Administration for more than 30 years.  We lived through government shutdowns that directly affected us with work with no pay, missed mortgage payments, and everything else that goes with the uncertainty a shutdown causes.  Fortunately, we were not part of the longest shutdown, and we had an actual functioning government with checks and balances operating among the branches.

What I am hoping for during this shutdown is that everyone has their eyes and ears wide open to see and hear what is happening. Time to get off social media arguing and being manipulated by whomever or whatever and get a real-time education. It is the opportunity to learn about the importance of regulations (rules) and see the impact of having the wrong people in charge of your safety and well-being. Take time to witness.  Pay attention to Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell and the actions or inactions they take.  Think and sort through the impact.  What is the goal of what they are doing or not doing?   

Finally, look to the faithful government employees that want to go back to work, "...to provide for our common defense, promote our general welfare" and "...keep us safe from enemies foreign and domestic.”  Time for all of us to get busy and work for a government "...of the people, by the people and for the people." Take action. Call or write your representatives in Washington and tell them to Open the Government Now. After all, they are about to get a raise, so insist that they earn their keep. 

                                                                                                                        -Marlene Pikus