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Putting the worst face to the public

October 4, 2013
Shepherdstown Chronicle

We are in Day 2 of the government shut down and the idiocy of this entire situation is mind-boggling. Both sides of the political spectrum are spending more time blaming the other side for lack of willingness to work together, all while spitting venom that they won't discuss anything that doesn't go their way. The ones paying the price (both literally and figuratively) for this childish behavior are the American people.

There are hundreds of thousands of federal workers (those who actually do the work!) who are now home without pay. They have been instructed not to report and even to not check email, etc. The effect on their families, depending on how long this tantrum continues, could be devastating.

But even more sad to me is the public portrayal of things that have to be "shut down" because the government closes. Okay, national parks shut down...well, park rangers are told not to report to work. But to lock gates, to bar access to open air memorials, to barricade the C&O canal and put padlocks on the portable toilets. Come on! This is absolutely ridiculous.

The American people own these parks, these scenic gems that should not be barred because by doing so somehow lets one side cast even more blame on the other. How many park rangers are on the canal at any given time on a regular work day? Access should not be denied to those who wish to walk along the route or those who wish to visit national monuments in Washington D.C. It took more money and effort to plan for and block off things that should be open access at any time than was necessary for the American people to spend.

God bless the veterans who went through the barricades to visit their World War II Memorial. Why is blocked to begin with? Are the streets of Washington all blocked off so that American citizens cannot see the monuments there? Are their fences put up around the Vietnam Wall? Are the steps of the Lincoln Memorial barricaded? Unfortunately, I ask these questions with all seriousness because there very well may be blockades on all of these open locations.

When did our memorials and national parks become simply a tool to be used at the whim of a childish government? When did their main goal become making money?

These closures, along with websites of agencies saying "not available due to shutdown of government" are just not necessary. Websites provide information; if there is not a live person to respond, then post that at the top of the webpage. Don't shut down the page all together so that individuals can't find out information about such agencies as NCTC. It carries the "shut down" way too far and I firmly believe it is purposely done so that one side or the other can use the effects as a verbal tool to attack the other.

"Because of the Republicans, the American people can't watch 'panda cam.'" "Because of Democrats, American citizens can't see the White House." Our children behave better! Someone needs to teach these folks in Washington how to behave. It's time for a "time out" for the decision makers, not the workers or the public!

 
 
 

 

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