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One curiosity after another


When I think government shutdown, I don’t think of closing useless expensive government offices.  I think of how last time around my family couldn’t attend the trial of the man who killed my brother, because the government shutdown prevented them from getting passports.  The Army didn’t give us much advance notice, the trial was happening in Germany instead of the U.S., and I was the only one in the family with a passport.  I didn’t want to go because I never wanted a face to put with the name I’ve tried hard to forget.  But for my parents or siblings to go, they needed rush passports.  And what happened but the newly Republican Congress decided the best way to govern was to shut the whole thing down.  I tried calling Senators’ offices for help.  I did manage to get through to one person with Max Baucus who told me all the offices were closed and there wasn’t a darn thing I could do, but if I wanted to go bang on locked doors and wait around maybe I’d find someone stopping by who’d take pity.

Lurking by closed buildings hoping to find someone who needed to drop by the office because they suddenly realized they’d forgotten to water their plant wasn’t what I’d call a working plan for getting my parents overseas to stand up for the memory of their son.

Specialist Greg Turner

Specialist Greg Turner


I’m still bitter about this.

We’re not talking about useless bureaucrats twiddling their thumbs on the taxpayer’s dime.  We’re talking about the thousands of essential, invisible tasks that keep our community going.  It’s a hell of a lot like parenting that way – no one ever notices all the behind-the-scenes work it takes to keep everyone fed, clothed, and on the way to the soccer game on time with the right equipment, the form for pictures, AND the check for each kid because they won’t take cash or credit cards or combine payment for families.  We’re talking about gutting our society so that when someone’s soldier son is killed, they can’t get to where they need to be.

And when I read in today’s paper that the democracy protests have spread to Iraq, where people in ten cities are demanding better government services, I don’t know whether I’m more heartbroken or furious that our democracy is being stripped for parts.