Notes from the Shutdown.

My husband is presently unemployed, courtesy of our government. While the powers that be figure out solutions, he sleeps in, walks our kids home from school, and reads books in the backyard.

All in all, not a bad way to spend a day.  Except for the not-getting-paid part.

And the being-deemed- “non-essential” part.

I read people’s comments about the politics of the matter, and I try to understand. I know that ideology matters, and people value their beliefs. But when my husband is lumped into comments about “government waste,” it smarts a bit.

When I am told, innocently or not, that others will “pick up his slack” or “the government was never meant to be an employer,” or, my personal favorite, “surely, you thought to prepare for this,” my insides churn.

And, when folks complain about missing television programs, while we are potentially missing paychecks, I’m hurt.

Elie Wiesel says that hate is not the opposite of love—indifference is.

And the fact of the matter, is that I am guilty, in so many ways, of indifference. Only when the politics becomes personal do I find myself physically and emotionally called to respond.

And so, I understand that the world keeps churning, and my life is another person’s abstraction. Other people have the benefit of proclaiming that they won’t be “held hostage” by the government.

This too shall pass. For me.

But for others, like, say, the majority of my Spanish friends in YEAR SEVEN of an economic crisis, things haven’t passed. And maybe they won’t for awhile.

They rent out their homes to strangers so they won’t lose them, and make sure their children speak another language, so they can find work outside of Spain. This culture, so rooted in family and history, prepares for goodbyes and distance, because they dream for their children.

And so, while I cannot let the problems of the world consume me, I can fight the featherlight shackles of indifference.

Today, we’re dealing with nonsense. Tomorrow, it will be somebody else. Will I summon the courage to care, to respond, and to act?  Even if it makes me uncomfortable?

I must.

4 thoughts on “Notes from the Shutdown.

  1. I’ve been thinking about you. About this government. Our world.
    And you are so right.

    It’s hard to care, respond, act.

    It’s hard to be the person you know you should be. The person you want to be.
    (I’m sure that Eli Wiesel could say it better. But there it is.)

    So thanks for sharing your perspective, Nancy.

    I hope the US “powers that be” will be able to move forward soon and that the rest of us (who often say foolish things in the face of our powerlessness) wise up to our individual importance.

    Hard or not, we can care. Respond. Act.
    We have to.

  2. You are right on. This whole thing has had me angry and anxious – to the point where I decided to stop being complacent and I wrote to every politician from my state and then some (and my husband told me to stop watching the news since it was causing my shoulders to knot and bunch up). My little e-mails may not change the world or this situation, but I’m thankful that I live in a country where I can voice my opinions and concerns. As I get older, I’m realizing (a bit slowly) that I don’t have to just get angry about a matter – I can actually do something. Even if it’s a small something.

  3. Well. That completely sucks. I feel like this whole thing is like the kid at the playground who takes the ball and goes home because he didn’t get his way. ACA is the law. If you don’t like it, vote the Dems out of office. Don’t take the government hostage and put so many people out of work. Ugh. Not a great moment for our country and their are many who should be ashamed.

    Hope this ends soon and Paul – and many others – are back to work. xo

  4. You are definitely not ‘non-essential’. A better label would be ‘victim of greed’. So many people are being hurt by the government shutdown. My heart is aching for you and so many others. – Mike

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