After being categorized as a Post-Modern political entity, I nodded. Probably typical…white, suburban, likes the environment, likes gay/women/everyone’s rights, not deeply religious, and likes being kind and nice before jumping into a diplomatic tussle. Makes sense. I can’t dispute that. I chose two articles from The Nation’s economy page, which leans to the left. As more of a conservative spender, I expected to be jerked around more than I was. However, the articles I read didn’t really point fingers. They did not stick their tongues out and spit on the entire Republican Party. But rather, they presented the outcomes of the government shutdown. They presented the consequences. They presented humanity.
Greg Kaufamann wrote a moving article entitled “Shutdown, Sequestered and Days of Awe” which introduced the consequences of the government shutdown with religion. He explained the Jewish “Days of Awe” which occur between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. He explained that he “engaged in the act of teshuva–looking inward to see where we are missing the mark in order to turn outward and right our course”. There is is. The advice for the government: we should all be reflecting on the bigger picture, so stop and just be in awe for a moment. So here’s some awe for ya:
“Awe… that more than one in five children lives in poverty, including more than 42 percent of African-American children under age 5, and 37 percent of Latino children under age 5.”
“Awe… that the food stamp (SNAP) benefit that currently averages just $1.50 per person per meal—will decrease to around $1.40 per person per meal in November—a cut that will affect 22 million children.”
“Awe… that the tipped minimum wage has been stuck at $2.13 per hour since 1991. As a result, the people who serve us our food are nearly twice as likely as the general population to need food stamps.”
Kaufmann ends with a call for sympathy and compassion, “Unless we overcome the venom and vitriol directed at one another and especially at people who are struggling; unless we act out of a common humanity; unless we end the self-righteousness and simply stand with the righteous—we will fail to repair the broken walls, fail to restore streets with dwellings and fail to become that well-watered garden, a spring whose water never fails.”
The other article by Zoe Carpenter entitled “Domestic Violence Shelters Struggle to Stay Open During Shutdown”, explains how the government shutdown is endangering many women and children who are victims (and survivors) of domestic violence. When they pull the funding, they leave shelters with no choice but to shutdown as well.
It seems to me this government is comprised of two egos holding their breaths. At first they held their breaths to get their way, now either side is afraid to look bad if they cave first. They will hold their breaths until their faces turn blue. But who is really suffering from these illogical, childish games? We are. Children are starving, women are beaten, men stand homeless while they turn blue. We are all turning blue. This country is suffocating. And while we suffer, we must wonder: will someone tap out, or will we all pass out?