Get MAD about the Government Shutdown!

"Closed" sign

Image by bmills, Flickr

September 27, 2013

“In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”

— Franklin D. Roosevelt

Today, I was writing about why a government shutdown would be harmful for women and families when a co-worker shared the following story:

I’m getting married next Saturday, and my maid of honor is my older sister. She’s always been there for me, even when she was deployed in Afghanistan this year. She still called me once a week to talk through all the planning. And when I shopped for a dress, I e-mailed her photos of each one, because I knew how much she wanted to be there in person.

Now she’s back on U.S. soil, and she’s all packed and ready to fly in for my wedding. And I know she can’t wait to fluff my dress before I walk down the aisle, to stand with me at the altar, to raise her glass and give a toast at dinner.

But she might not be able to come.

She says that if the government shuts down, all military leave will be “secured.” In other words, my sister won’t be allowed to fly 3,000 miles across the country for my wedding — all because Congress couldn’t compromise on the budget.

The thing that gets me about some politicians in this town is that I think they enjoy the attention they are receiving by threatening a government shutdown. Don’t they know the chaos and fear they are creating for Americans and the economic damage this uncertainty in government is causing? They’re breaking the contract we have with each other, the one where our elected officials act in our best interests.

Two young women sit together, smiling

My co-worker Rachel (right) with her sister

There’s no debate that a shutdown will be harmful to people who will go hungry without WIC benefits (nutrition help for women, infants, and children), to the federal workers who lose wages (yet again), to the scientists who won’t be able to track diseases, to the military members who won’t get paid on time, and many more. Even more people will be indirectly affected, as they find the national park or museum closed when they visit.

My co-worker doesn’t care whether this is a calculated ploy to bring about election results or whether it’s a cynical attempt to undermine government completely. She just doesn’t understand why Congress’ inability to do its job should affect her. Well, neither do I. And neither should you!

Over the last few weeks, AAUW has been telling Congress to “do its homework” and pass a fair budget. AAUW members, in the thousands, have called on Congress to do its job and protect the needs of women and their families. So far, Congress hasn’t done its homework and hasn’t passed a budget. And real people will suffer because of this.

Too often we talk about politics in terms of facts, metaphors, and statistics. We forget that our representatives make choices that affect ordinary people and nonpolitical events. But the truth is that a government shutdown would have a serious impact on women and their families. Tell Congress to do its job and pass a fair budget.

By:   |   September 27, 2013

3 Comments

  1. Sandra Hansen says:

    My Member of Congress clearly stated in a constituent town hall today that if the debt ceiling is NOT raised and our government defaults on payment of debt obligations, there will be no staff to operate the Social Security and Medicare systems. Think how many would be affected were THAT to happen. I chatted afterward with a woman who is disabled, both she and her mother receive Social Security; additionally she has a HUD subsidy for her rent. Can you see elderly/disabled people with such housing subsidies on the streets as winter envelops us? THIS IS SERIOUS!

  2. Louise Smith says:

    I want the right of RECALL for every member of Congress and the President. Our government is completely dysfunctional at this point.

    I want to FIRE them all and elect people who will do the job they were elected to do. The current congress spends more time on their own re-election than doing “the people’s business.” And because they are so concerned about re-election the Lobbyists have way too much influence (money for campaigns) that has nothing to do with the merits of the issue they are lobbying for.

    We need term limits to stop the “career” politicians. They need to get only the same benefits as other government workers (not full retirement after only one term) and they need to deal with SINGLE SUBJECT BILLS so that they AND we know what they voted for. No more “bridge to nowhere” amendments!

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