As the stock market continues its downward spiral, potentially costing business and investors billions of dollars, and as the approval rating for Congress and the President continues the same direction, the so-called “government shutdown” shows no sign of being ended. And our leaders don’t seem to care.
I say so-called shutdown because it appears to me, at least in our neck of the woods, not much has changed.
While I haven’t noticed any personal inconvenience yet, I was truly angered and saddened at the same time when I watched a television report of World War II veterans who flew to Washington D.C. for a special gathering, but were turned away from their own memorial.
The World War II Memorial, it appeared to me, is an outdoor affair available for anyone to walk through. It’s not like the Smithsonian exhibits, which are in buildings that must be locked up. Several of our memorials in Washington are open, where visitors can meander by or through at their leisure – but not now.
Metal railings were placed to block the entry, along with expensive-looking signs placed strategically stating the exhibit would be closed until the “government shutdown” is ended. Who paid for those signs and how did they get them ready so quickly?
Fortunately for those World War II vets, many in wheelchairs and with other assistance just to get around, word got out and some of the more intelligent members of Congress (is that possible?) did get them in to see the memorial.
But the biggest cutbacks I’ve heard about so far are the hundreds of thousands of non-essential federal employees who were sent home without a paycheck. (By the way your Congress and President are not among those going without.) By almost every dictionary available, the term non-essential is defined as “not necessary”.
I’m not going to go so far as to say all those employees aren’t needed. There are plenty of jobs not getting done right now, like the IRS isn’t auditing any taxpayers, the EPA isn’t shutting down businesses because of possible environmental issues, and the FDA isn’t telling us which foods are good for us this week and bad next week.
Okay, okay, there are plenty of other jobs not getting done that do need attention. But in the meantime, this is as close as Congress and the President have come to addressing our national debt crisis, even if it is by accident.
A CNN poll just before the shutdown showed that the approval rating for Congress was at just ten percent. That all-time low means there aren’t many people happy about what’s going on. At that low rating, a Congressman would have to wonder if even his family and friends are on his side.
The President’s numbers are higher, but again this is a poll taken by the liberal-leaning CNN team. His approval rating is at 46 percent, while 53 percent don’t approve. Who knows where the other one percent went.
Most Americans think Republicans in Congress are acting like spoiled children because of their inability to compromise and come up with a solution to the federal funding/health care battle. Obama’s results were about 50/50, with half thinking he is acting as a responsible adult and half putting him in the spoiled child category.
Other polls are showing different percentages, but the message is the same. Those numbers are all pretty sobering when you think those are the people running our country. They are supposed to be the educated ones, elected to solve our problems not create more.
But we are not without blame. If we want better we should certainly stand up and do something about it. I’m not talking about a tea party-type thing. The Tea Party is more to blame for lack of compromise than any other group. We just need to be more educated and concerned about the people we select to run our country.
If they’re not willing to put country before their re-election campaign, we should have no use for them. If compromise is a word they’ve never heard, send them packing.
In the meantime, I’m with those World War II vets who with tears in their eyes said it is a shame this country has fallen to such depths. It’s certainly not what they fought for more than a half century ago.