Government Shutdown

After experiencing the longest Government Shutdown in U.S. history, all of us have become more aware, of how a lack of federal services could impact our daily lives.  The Shutdown created extreme hardship and struggle for a vast number of people. The Shutdown had a huge domino effect on the businesses that depend on the lost incomes.  People’s lives seem to have become political bargaining chips used to demand action without negotiation or legislation.

If it had gone on much longer it would have had catastrophic effects on the lives of millions of Americans.

It seems whenever there is a catastrophe, or natural disaster, the “Good Samaritans” and the “Givers” of the world, are always willing to show compassion. We all seem to pull together to help, but after the initial shock wears off, communities struggle to rebuild and rebound long after the contributions stop coming in.

One of the most obvious downfalls in the coming of the digital age, is how separated and divided we have become as a nation. Most people when they hear this statement, think of it in terms of ideology and political leaning.

The divide goes much deeper than that. In more innocent times, the people next door, were neighbors and friends, not just the people we live next to.

Us humans spend so much time interfacing with digital devices, that we tend to miss opportunities to forge a stronger connection with co-workers, neighbors and people in the communities where we reside. It is so easy to live in a bubble these days. We wake up, go to work, come home, do chores, and relax. The weekend comes and goes in a blur, and then the process is repeated.

This latest Government Shutdown should be a wakeup call for all of us. The implications were staggering, loss of food stamps, housing subsidies, and so many services that everyday Americans have come to rely on. Far reaching services that we all take for granted. Clean air, Clean water, Safe Transportation and a well inspected Food Supply, just to name a few.

It is sad that it takes disasters for people to look away from their daily routines and try to help those less fortunate. Disasters aside, there are opportunities right in front of each of us every day.

Homelessness is exploding, and so many people are barely getting by. It is time for all of us to realize, that the government seems more and more about partisan political gain, and less about the needs of the people they were elected to serve. Expecting people to work without pay, while the legislators continue to live in luxury is injustice at its highest level. If the legislators went without pay, and forced to share the pain, a speedy resolution would be all but insured.  Reliance on bureaucracy to put humanity before political gain, has always seemed to be a lesson in futility. We all have an opportunity to help make our own corner of the world a better place to live.

All of us appreciate a helping hand when its offered, but how many of us seek out ways to lift the spirits of the people in our midst? The quote below has so much truth and yet so few understand its value.

“When you become detached mentally from yourself and concentrate on helping other people with their difficulties, you will be able to cope with your own more effectively. Somehow, the act of self-giving is a personal power-releasing factor.” Norman Vincent Peale.

We could all do more. We could all benefit from a little less phone time and a lot more human interaction. There are always opportunities to make a difference if we seek them out.