Soap Box: The day the government ‘shut down’

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Don’t we all love it when grown “adults” who were elected and chosen by a “majority” to “represent” us as law-abiding, tax-paying citizens can’t seem to do their jobs half decently to avoid closing the federal doors? Notice the quotation marks, they’re there to leave plenty of room for your interpretation of those words.

It appears age and position don’t mean a thing when it comes to maturity these days. No matter your current political affiliation, I think we’re in agreement that turning the government off and back on again isn’t going to reboot our country’s problems.

Again, quotation marks. We call it a shutdown and yet countless federal employees are still working, military operations, bases and exercises around the world and at home are still in full swing, and our lawmakers are still on the clock. That clock seems to be timing a round of 18 for some. Maybe a government shutdown is really just an excuse for a paid vacation for those who are too comfortable, but that’s just conjecture.

My imagination takes off when I hear the term “shutdown.” If it were a true shutdown, by the terms of my imagination, anything and everything owned and operated by the federal government would stop. That includes:

All public land — national parks, BLM lands, national forests, national monuments, most of DC — close down and become inaccessible. That’s over 60 percent of all land in Utah, by the way. The feasibility of complete inaccessibility is up in the air, but imagine the number of vacations ruined, the livelihood of certain towns put on pause and farmers not being able to graze their livestock.

Mail service stops. Yep, those little box cars with the steering wheel on the wrong side don’t move and our Amazon packages may not make it in the two-day Prime window. UPS and FedEx just got some more business.

The power supply hits a massive shortage or prices skyrocket. In some areas of the US, this may not be a concern, however, a good portion of power plants in the US are owned by the federal government or the recipients of federal subsidies that keep prices low.

Airports shut down without TSA agents to check underneath your clothing. Flights are grounded, people can’t get home or to their destination impacting business and leisure alike.

Military operations abroad and drill exercises at home cease. Bases close, aircraft land and ships anchor. I’ve heard some scary rumors about the reality here.

Elected representatives don’t get paid, their healthcare and all other benefits are suspended and the White House sits empty except for the First Family, no Secret Service.

Any wages billed during the time of the shutdown becomes federal-tax free. Now that is something we can all get behind, right?

This list isn’t comprehensive, and it’s not a full doomsday CIA red-cell report. After all is said and done, if those in Washington can’t do their jobs, and if they’re really being as petty as both sides seem to be acting, maybe they should be the ones to bear more consequences. If I locked the doors at my job and went home to do nothing, I’d get fired.

I’m frustrated and disappointed. I’m sick of the finger-pointing. I don’t care what the GOP or the Dems say, too many people are not doing their jobs. Midterm elections are coming up in a few months, and I’d hope we would all pay attention, know the facts, weigh the candidates objectively and go to the polls to elect people who have proven their up to the task.

Leave your comments, come to my office hours, tell me why you agree or disagree with me. What do you think of when the government “shuts down”? What concerns you the most?

Richard is a senior studying International Studies. Starbursts and airheads are two of his favorite candies, if anyone wanted a hint. @ me if you want.

richard.poll@aggiemail.usu.edu

@richard_poll