While the government shutdown ended late on Wednesday, Oct. 16, the United States Congress had for weeks been unable to agree on a spending bill, resulting in the partial shutdown of the federal government.
While those who were actually responsible for the shutdown were quick to point at every other possible entity to lay blame, trust in elected officials took a nose dive.
Americans knew where to place the blame.
However, there’s really no need to discuss the proposed policy changes that ultimately caused the shutdown head-butting. This is not what matters.
What matters is that the federal government (all of it, across party lines) continues to disguise repeated institutional failure and dysfunction in familiar, childish ways.
While thousands of government employees went without pay — among many others affected by the shutdown — Congressional representatives had a seeming disregard for the hardships of hundreds of thousands of their constituents.
Their focus, it seemed, was on what was obviously more important, things like overlooking basic logic in order to vote along party lines while maintaining their reputation and simultaneously running the federal government into a budgetary black hole.
The current situation in Washington feels wholly detached from the rest of the world, from the inability of those in need to use necessary government programs and especially in regards to the basic level of humanity needed to look past bipartisan bickering to see what — and who — the shutdown was truly affecting.
And while the shutdown has ended, the fix is only temporary and will again need to be deliberated in February, when the debt limit will again need to be raised.
Fortunately, NMU was not directly impacted by the shutdown. However, 16 days of proverbial finger-pointing amongst our elected representatives certainly didn’t help students and NMU administrators. For example, those working for national parks and other federally funded recreation areas or facilities were forced to stay home from work.
Yet the statistics, the talking points, the rhetoric and even the finger-pointing that characterized the 16 days of our government’s financial debacle — none of that matters. What this shutdown proved is that our government is obviously not capable of doing its job — it is incapable of fulfilling its basic duties, including, quite evidently, serving its constituents.
Now, with the shutdown over, all that remains are two groups continuing to point the blame at each other following 16 days of useless discussion to provide a temporary fix, claiming defeat only in the midst of what could have potentially been a massive economic meltdown.
But for those 16 days, one can only hope that these representatives and senators learned one thing — that despite what direction they’re pushing the blame and directing their fingers to, they should ultimately be pointing back at themselves.