In our first federal shutdown since 1996, we now face the unprecedented reality of being mere days from defaulting on our national debt. It saddens us to see that instead of doing the hard task of true compromise in a timely and efficient manner, the whole focus of our House and Senate leaders is currently on the drafting of patchwork bills and temporary fixes.
The central theme of this shutdown has been one of blame. The president is blaming Republicans for putting the party line in front of the needs of the American people, and Republicans blame the president for being unwilling to compromise on the Affordable Care Act.
But do they understand how the shutdown is affecting everyday Americans, the people they are being paid to represent? We thought this week we would bring you one story of how the shutdown is affecting an intern at the newspaper, Chase Collum, a veteran who is currently studying journalism:
At the end of the day, I think I share the stance of many of my fellow Americans when I say that I don't care who is responsible for what in this petty squabble, I just want it to be over so that we can move forward as a country, together.
As a veteran, I am unable to meet with my representative, who is helping me to transition into a new career until this tiresome business is over. Even while the government has been shut down, our House and Senate representatives continue to receive their salaries, and in that time, we the American people have paid them more than $1.5 million.
So while I sit here in my Brooklyn apartment with fairly empty cupboards, trying to plan out my own budget and having to now plan for shortfalls that I have no control over – shortfalls in areas that I was promised I deserved not to face because of my service to our country – I do so with the knowledge that the people who are keeping me from the money that I need to pay my rent while I finish college are also making more money in doing so than I will probably ever earn as a journalist.
Being from Minnesota originally, I remember a time that the Minnesota State Legislature couldn't come up with a budget by deadline, so Jesse Ventura, who was governor at the time, locked them in the chambers until they did. Guess what? They resolved their differences and made it happen real quick. I think that rather than allowing the government to hold the American people hostage, we should lock them in a room together until a budget is passed. Enough is enough.
To Congress and the president I really just have two things to say:
The day I was honorably discharged after 6 1/2 years of combined National Guard and Active Army service, you lost your privilege to use me as a pawn in your political game-playing. So please, for the love of all that is honorable and right in the world, keep me out of this.
Get over yourselves and just do your job.
We couldn't have said it better ourselves.