HURTING THE INNOCENT
By John Berry
As I write this column on Saturday, the federal government partial shutdown reached a milestone as the longest US government shutdown in American history. What a shameful reflection on our broken and dysfunctional government in Washington.
I write this on a business trip out of town; a trip I began on Thursday, the day before federal workers were to get a paycheck of zero – even if they had to go work during the shutdown. Reflect on that a moment. A paycheck of zero not because they didn’t do their jobs, or not because they did something wrong, or not because they voluntarily took some time off without pay, but instead because two of the three branches of the United States government have utterly and totally failed to do the jobs they were hired by us to do. We’re still paying them; their paychecks weren’t zero. Rather, the innocents paid the price.
When I flew out of ATL I made a point of thanking every TSA Officer I encountered for being on their posts and doing their jobs despite the situation they had been put in. Most just said thank you, or nodded, or ignored my comment. But one young woman looked at me with moist eyes and quietly said, ‘I have kids. I don’t know what I am going to do is this goes on.’ It broke my heart. Here was someone probably not making a lot of money, doing her job, dedicated to protecting me and ensuring my safety, and our government was making her life stressful and uncertain. Due to its failure and incompetence.
We know, as a human services nonprofit, that we will be seeing many federal employees who will be facing eviction, hunger, utility shutoffs, car repossessions, and untold stress and pain as a result of the failure of our broken and dysfunctional government. It is an outrage.
Any member of the Executive or Congressional branches of government, in any position, who accepts a paycheck while innocent federal workers suffer should be ashamed of themselves. If their incompetence makes innocent people suffer than the least they can do is sacrifice and suffer themselves.
This needs to stop. Hurting the innocent is not policy-making; it is sin in its most heinous form.