So, this isn’t really a place where I envisioned talking about politics, which is strange because people who know me well, know I breathe politics. I was a federal lobbyist for 10 years. Most of my organizational client/members are beneficiaries of federal funds that advance higher education and biomedical research. I live in the metro DC area, and many of my friends are federally employed, both civilian and armed forces.
The recent government shutdown infuriated me on many levels that I won’t go into here. What I want to talk about here for a minute is how some folks believe that the shutdown had no impact on anyone. A Facebook pal posted this today:
Now, she’s on the outer bands of my hurricane of pals. You know the type…she’s someone I went to high school with, nice woman, really. I enjoy seeing pictures of her family and seeing how she’s doing these days. I wish her well, but we aren’t really friends, we’re “social media friends.” She wouldn’t know how the government shutdown has affected me, Hope, or families who are waiting to adopt, especially adoptive families adopting internationally. She’s not close enough to know about this personal adoption journey.
Even if she were close enough to know I was adopting my precious Hope, she wouldn’t know that some of the services that help Hope deal with the astounding losses she’s experienced in her short life are partially funded by the federal government. She wouldn’t be privy to the knowledge that Hope’s foster mom works for HUD and was out of work for the last couple of weeks and didn’t know whether she would get back pay when she returned to work. Foster Mom still doesn’t know when she’ll get paid; she and her husband are good hardworking people. FB Pal doesn’t know how much I worried over the last couple of weeks whether Hope’s current foster placement would remain stable before we had a chance to place her with me.
What if Hope had to go to another placement because things became financially unstable at her current placement when she’s been there a year? Would Hope really believe that she would ever come to live with me after that kind of placement disruption? What might another placement do to her sense of security? How might Hope react? Would she recover? Would she ever trust me for “letting that happen” because she doesn’t know that the freaking government shut down and triggered an avalanche of bullcrap? Aside from watching some of my favorite small business owners in downtown DC take a hit and see good friends and colleagues worry about how long the impasse might last while they were maligned as lazy, ineffectual and incredibly unnecessary, my concerns about Hope were the real fears that twisted my heart these last two weeks. This is what the government shutdown meant to me.
I effing make my coffee at home so I don’t give a rat’s arse whether any of the nearly 20 Starbucks I pass on the way to the office closes, but the schnitty arse government shutdown and the blowhards that dragged us through it to prove a point scared, and continue to scare, the schnitt out of me. And that’s my truth.
So amongst all the rhetoric about Obamacare, debt ceilings and bad political behavior, there are some positive things about our government. Sure, there’s room for improvement, but not at gunpoint.
I just wish people were a little more thoughtful and a little more compassionate even about the things they don’t know much about.