[later NOTE: It’s 10-16 around 10:00 PST — the headlines I see say it’s over. This is a relief. Now the clean-up starts. And, by way of apology for any implication that furloughed Federal workers were not experiencing significant financial and professional stress (but rather were only on “paid vacation”), I offer this link to the real stories of real people — all Federal employees severely harmed over the past 2 1/2 weeks. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2451782/The-sleep-beloved-Stunning-time-lapse-photographs-capture-couples-families-sleep.html –mc]
You love it, you hate it and there it is — a sometimes sweet way of connecting with people you care about and hardly ever see (or hardly even know). No matter the spin on social media and your experience with it, the virtual interaction can’t avoid being public and it can’t avoid being one very rich chronicle of the cascading stream of public (and sometimes way too private) experience and opinion.
So, here we are in the United States — together in a country whose government is shut down. Really? What possibly can that mean?
Of course, it matters who you ask — and the people most horribly slammed by the decisions of our Federal leadership have little or no access to facebook or this blog. That’s part of what makes it way easy not to see effects. This is particularly so if you’ve still got your job or if you’re pretty assured (but not totally) as a Federal employee that you’re in the middle of a paid vacation. The legislation of back pay (which I support) alongside this shutdown (which I really do not) is particularly difficult to understand in the days of leadership shouting about the national deficit and what seems an almost rote fixation on cutting taxes and spending — both of which are directly necessary to funding back pay as well as to repairing the considerable and mounting physical and programmatic problems that are building daily like uncollected garbage.
With citizens having limited sense that our elected Federal officials are listening to we-the-people, one place discussion is happening is in the social media. Here’s an example — the original comment and responses to a friend’s facebook post of this video of a WWII veteran.
Of course, it’s only one strand of conversation. It’s one sample of all that is being said, and a collection of ideas I hadn’t thought or heard. In the spirit of listening — in the spirit of solution and cooperation that is only possible with listening, I’m reprinting it here. You’ll see it includes the voices of a number of people who used to be registered to vote as Republican, many who are Alaskan. I’m also very interested to hear other perspectives, so let me know what else you’re running across.
As ever, it seems to me that if we were to listen more and posture less we might get somewhere — even if we have to act outside the wacky dysfunction of our elected leaders. One obvious example — we might vote in other leadership. Another — we might provide such united input that it can’t be ignored. Whatever we do, it’s finally up to us. It’s up to we the people.
MM – I’ll say it again… The Republican Party has changed. My late father, also a WWII vet, would not recognize the Republicans today… and if he were here, he would boldly shame them for their greed, immaturity and self-serving ways. They are no longer concerned with what’s best for America, but what’s best for them. This absurd shutdown confirms that. Watch this.
LA – It’s embarrassing !!!!
RG – I 2nd that simply embarrassing.
CB – Unfortunately Mary, it’s not just the republicans, it’s ALL of them!!
TL – AMEN Mary and Chris!!
CS – I used to be a Republican. I grew up in a Republican family, raised to hate social programs. I voted for Bush. The first time. Not the second! That is when I changed my mind. All kinds of hatred for the lazy people who get food stamps, yet wealthy corporations get farm subsidies. I see companies like Walmart making record profits on the backs of the working poor, keeping their hours at under 32 per week so they do not have to provide health insurance. Greedy bastards. Mary, neither you or I are “poor” but we see that you are either for the people, or for big business! And another thing: The Republicans pay lip service to government control, yet they are the ones sticking their nose into the private lives and bedrooms of women and Gay people. Religion has no place in government. The Republicans want to put God in government, how about God stay in our private lives and they stop trying to push their version of God on everybody else?
TL – I agree sir. ^ But how about we just all live our lives how we want to live them, and just say F^@< Religion?! I’d like that better. It’s one thing to believe in a higher power of some sort (like I do) but it’s another thing to practically be sleeping with ‘God’ like these wackos do!
MM – CB, I single out the Rs because I used to be one, and the party then was never so shamefully embarrassing on so many levels as it is today with Pres. Obama in office. Racism abounds and the Rs barely even disguise it. That’s wrong. It’s absurd. Personally, my biggest complaint is that so many Rs claim loudly to be devout Christians, but their words and actions spew hatred and judgement. Yes, I can find plenty of fault with our elected Ds, too, but they aren’t scary hateful.
CS, I agree. I changed my mind once I grew up and saw a party my dad would not want to be a part of.
TL, religion has certainly created a problem or 2 on this planet…
MT – I would disagree that the Republicans awful behavior is exactly what the Democrats are doing. And, the good news is the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll reports that the majority of Americans polled blame the Republican party for the Federal Gov’t shut-down. Btw: about 12 years ago I worked on Republican campaigns, so I’ve observed how the GOP has really changed for the worse.
DM – You know how to get ’em going girl !……. As you know I am GOP. I will admit they/we have been really,really, been messing up as of late. Things are just So bad in D.C. I ALMOST wish England had won the revolutionary war !!!!!! joking!! No matter how you see it, it is some messed up shit!!!!
MM – MT, so you WERE an R, too? Wow, we should start a club.
DM, I’m sorry about your party, Bud.
MT – Former Republican for sure. Now Registered as an Independent but mostly vote for the Democrats. I worked on Republican State Senator Arliss Sturgulewski’s campaign for Gov. for Alaska. The Party lost me when the Teabaggers starting running the party, and clowns such as Sarah Palin were chosen as the former GOP V.P.
btw: I remember vividly my reaction when my wife called me on my cell phone and (I was sitting in First Class on a plane and (just landed and taxing to Gate) and she asked me to guess who Senator John McCain had just selected as V.P. and she told me I’d be very surprised. I guessed correctly that it was Palin and I stated Mr. McCain just lost his quest to be President of the United States. I am from Anchorage and knew she was not ready for any national primetime position and esp, V.P. to the United States!!!
MM – I Iiked Arliss.
Sarah and I shared an attorney. I remember telling him when the mud slinging started that if Sarah takes the high road and steers clear of the negative jabs and such, she will rule. But that was before Katie Couric and the realization that Sarah truly just wasn’t intelligent enough to be in the game. And no amount of coaching can make a know-it-all smart.
KW – I personally wish everyone would quit blindly following a party any party and start thinking for themselves. We need reasonable people that truly get it to go to DC and fix this mess. The majority of people are slightly left or right of center and both parties are trying to control from the far left or right. They ignore the people and push their own agendas regardless of the harm it is causing the country and its people.
MT – Palin … not IQ smart enough, not advanced enough in education, and phony ….
MM – KW, I’m an Independent and would never give my blanket approval of every individual in any party. I vote for individuals and the more free-thinking they are, the better. Unfortunately, power goes to the heads of most after they are elected and they often forget why they’re there and who put them in.
TF – I’ve asked this a hundred times, and I’ll ask it again. Does anyone know what the Republicans should have been doing since the 2012 election in order to get an R back in the White House in 2016?
NOTHING! But now they look like idiots to the American people, and now THEY are getting blamed for all of the ills of this country. IMHO, they’re just a**-poor party leadership – and not able to control a faction of their own Party.
Can you say, “Hillary in ’16”?
MM – They are a train wreck but I think that their biggest problem is that, like Sarah Palin, they won’t listen to sage advice even when it slaps them in the face. They’ve become too disconnected with reality and too bitter to figure things out logically. Good people don’t gravitate towards hatred and only the weakest will follow it.
TF — What MM said…