By Parker Gordon, senior music and political science major from Stephenville
As of Oct. 1, the federal government is shut down. A contributing factor to this has been the debate over funding Obamacare which, believe it or not, is a normal and healthy response for a governing body.
Good laws become good laws when they go through the write, rewrite, and editing process – just like good college papers. Discussion and debate leads to more thoughtful and well drafted pieces of legislation. Even if we can get by with writing a thrown-together-the-night-before paper, we know it’s not our best work and is not going to be the quality it should be.
That being said, the federal government is now at the point that we in college would call “begging the prof for an extension.” Actually, the government already has. In the real world, the paper would get a zero and a “too bad, plan ahead next time.” But this is the federal government and real life rarely has much of an impact on those who are in charge of making the rules.
So what now?
Congress effectively continues as usual, but the everyday citizens start missing out on services like visiting national parks and monuments, hundreds of thousands of federal employees don’t go to work (and don’t get paid) and faith in the economy takes yet another downturn. It’s not good.
Eventually, Congress will attempt to find some sort of compromise that will allow more funding for the federal government to continue functioning. It will happen. It’s not the end of the world.
When the government shut down this morning, I didn’t hear trumpets announcing Jesus’ return and that life as we know it has ceased to exist. The real issue is that we need to move away from this cycle of putting something important off until the last minute and risking failure.
This is where you come in. The most important job for a citizenry is to remain informed about what is going on and to speak out when we see something we know is wrong. Living in isolation and apathy towards government is a dangerous position to take. As much as you would like to ignore politics, politics will not ignore you. Take charge, read the news, become informed and speak out. Politicians do listen. Love him or hate him, Ted Cruz listened to his constituents and stated their positions on the floor of Congress for 21 hours, reading hundreds of letters and tweets from ordinary citizens who spoke out about an issue. This was representational democracy at work. The people spoke and their representative in government listened.
So do this: tell Congress to stop procrastinating as if governing were some sort exam to cram for. They’ll get us through this shutdown in their own time, but we must send a clear message not to let this happen again. Your vote is your voice – let it be heard.