I try to avoid politics in my columns, but after the last couple of weeks it is hard to resist.
While some posted comments on Facebook about being happy the government was shutdown, I quietly fumed.
Jokes were made about the “gooberment” and how too many people rely on government for too many services.
I found this kind of ironic. Really, only a small portion of the government was shuttered for 16 days.
The answer to how much was closed really depended on what numbers you looked at.
If you made the determination based on how much of the federal government’s total spending was still underway, The Washington Examiner said about 83 percent of government operations continued. Other numbers were based on the number of government employees furloughed, etc.
Overall, that isn’t a large portion. Many people, friends included, remarked that they really didn’t notice the closure and those that did probably should reconsider their lifestyles.
Personally, I had several friends and family members who were furloughed during the shutdown.
Some became more and more frustrated as the closure dragged on and others found other jobs to temporarily fill the time and the lack of a paycheck.
Others stressed and worried about how they’d pay their bills and, in the case of one friend who worked for a government contractor, worried about losing a job for the entire season.
Comments made about “paid vacations” were frustrating to a lot of those employees. They didn’t want the furlough. They are proud of what they do and don’t want to be forced to take time off.
They understood that while not everyone was being impacted, there were some who were greatly impacted.
Federal employees seemed to take some comfort in the hope that the government could not be that stupid to let this thing drag on too long.
But insensitive comments from those who were angry at the world and hate big (or in some cases, any) government did not help.
If the government had truly shutdown, I guarantee those whistling a happy tune throughout the 16 days would change their tune.
Veterans could have been without service, seniors could have lost access to their social security checks, low-income families would have lost programs they rely on and I guarantee everyone would have felt the impact.
While everyone was likely frustrated with the way the shutdown, budget negotiations and debt ceiling were handled by our elected representatives, remember that there are many among our community that were not at fault, but suffered due to the ineptitude of our nation’s leaders.
I, for one, would like to commend all of those federal employees who have been on edge over the last few weeks. Thank you for all you do.
Kristen Czaban is the managing editor of The Sheridan Press.