Thursday, January 24, 2019

There but for the grace

You know what? I’ve always been almost apolitical, and I seldom express a controversial opinion here. But this government shutdown thing is forcing me to say this. It’s no one’s freaking business how I or anyone else handles their money. If you are working, you deserve to be paid. Period. End of story. 

Maybe you have savings, maybe you don’t. None of my business. I don’t get to say that you should have been smarter and saved money. I don’t get to say that it’s no big deal, just use a credit card, or get a loan. Sell some plasma, have a garage sale, do some babysitting. 

I listened to a prison guard cry in a radio interview tonight because he isn’t getting paid and doesn’t know how he’s going to buy his son a birthday present. 

When the food stamp money runs out, what are those people going to do? It’s easy to say that they can get help from their family, but what if their family is also getting (or not getting) government help? Can we just say, oh, too bad, I guess you should have saved some money?  No, we cannot. 

If you’re not getting paid, everything not absolutely crutial to the preservation of life goes out the window. If no one gets haircuts while they’re furloughed, then the barber can’t pay his rent, and without rental income, the landlord defaults on his loan. 

We aren’t living in a bubble, or a vacuum. Actions have consequences, and they radiate out into the world. 

It is apparently too much to expect that some, not all, of the people running the government have compassion, if not understanding, for their fellow human beings. 

I’m lucky, I know that. But that doesn’t entitle me to belittle anyone else, or shake my head and say too bad, I guess they should have planned better. I’ve been through it myself. It’s hell. If your every thought is how you’re going to pay your bills, it’s impossible to keep your mind on your work and go a good job. 

I have a heck of a lot going on in my life right now, and I’m trying to keep all of the balls in the air. Most of my time is devoted to getting through my own crises. But I can at least have empathy and compassion for the people who are going through this, who are scared to death and don’t know what to do. And I can ask, in the strongest possible voice, that the people who we have elected to represent us in this world get it together enough to end this ridiculous travesty and let the people who are doing their jobs get paid for it.