Column: A Dose Of Perspective
Published: Sunday, October 6, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 6, 2013 23:10
Since I was in seventh grade and secretly ordered a subscription to National Geographic using my mom’s credit card, it has been my life’s goal to go to a National Park to camp and explore and have at least two and a half run-ins with bears, buffaloes, and/or moose. And finally, after eight years of waiting, the opportunity presented itself: my roommates and I were going to camp in Acadia National Park this Friday and it was going to be glorious. But no, the government had to go and shut down.
So naturally, I had a lot to say in this column. Republican this and Democrat that. Financial sector. Congressional accountability. Fiscal responsibility. Something about a cliff? Silly Harry Boehner and John Reid! It was all one of their faults or something like that.
Today, though, I was on the T, staring out the window and thinking of the perfect way to word an attack on the sorry state of partisan politics in our country, when I was grounded. I looked out the window and saw an area with lower-income housing. I had just done a project for my Intro to Social Work class that required everyone to find employment, housing, day care, and transportation for a single mother and her two kids. Long story short: it was impossible. This person could be the perfect mother, employee, and tenant, but at least without some assistance from the government, it was impossible for her to live in this city.
But hey, at least that doesn’t have anything to do with the shutdown. I mean, at least that’s what it would seem like. In all the yelling about political stunts and veterans storming monuments and the connections between Obamacare and the inevitable heat death of the universe, this whole shutdown thing has just become some kind of circus performance. As it turns out, the shutdown actually might wind up hurting those families who are already scraping to get by. If this shutdown nonsense lasts, welfare programs like women, infants, and children benefits are going to stop being paid out. I don’t know much about economics, but I’m going to say that’s a bad thing.
Now, I can sit here and complain about how terrible our government is and pretend like I know anything about what’s going on in Washington. But I don’t think that really does anything. I can whine all I want and I know that at least some people would hear me. I’m a college student. I have a voice. Turns out, though, there are a lot of people who don’t. So many people just get lost in the shuffle, and oddly enough, they’re the same people that this government shutdown is going to hurt the most. So I guess I want to use my voice to say something, say anything, even as ineloquently as I’m doing now, so that one day no one will be lost.
You see, I don’t really know much about the government, but shouldn’t it be there to help people beaten down by systems of injustice? And I can’t say that I’m an expert on human nature either, but shouldn’t we always do our best to love our neighbor even if we only see them for a brief, heartbreaking moment through the windows of a train? I think people get mad about this kind of thing, but if they stopped screaming at each other for just two seconds maybe it wouldn’t be so hard to see what’s right. The government should do nice things and people should do nice things. That would be pretty cool. Accept that, and the rest comes naturally.
In the end, I’m not pointing any fingers. It’s no one’s fault and it’s everyone’s fault. I’m also not telling you that you shouldn’t complain about how the Army game was almost cancelled and how you can’t go camping, like I’ve been doing for the past week. Just because others have it worse than you doesn’t mean that you can’t be upset with your own circumstances. Be upset. Be angry. That’s totally fine. Just don’t whine. Do something.