The quiz was a great way to start off this political discussion. I believe many young people today are not as fixed and rigid on their political stance as earlier generations. This may be a generalization, but from my experience and talking with my peers, it seems today people may identify with one party, but are more open minded and willing to stray a bit away from their party’s ideals. This is the visible problem with government. The two parties are becoming more polarized and unwilling to wander from its ideals. Upon taking the quiz I identified as a Libertarian, which did not surprise me. I am more conservative on fiscal issues, and liberal on social issues.
I found a very thought provoking article on The Nation. The title of Kramer and Comerford’s article caught my attention: ” That Time When DC Stopped Funding Domestic Violence Shelters While Both Congressional Gyms Stayed Open.” The main argument is who can and should decide what services are “essential” during a shutdown?
Clearly many government services have been shut down during this 16 day government shut down, such as national parks, Domestic Violence centers, and some departments for education and commerce, to name a few. Why was the government in control of deciding what was essential enough to stay open and what was not essential?
The article states, “Prioritized above all else were, of course, “national security” activities, deemed beyond essential under the banner of “protecting life and property.”” If the government was concerned about people’s security and “protecting life and property,” they ignored many people. For example, federal funds for infant food were in danger, funds for early education were withdrawn and the National Institute of Health (NIH) did not accept any new patients. Ironically, about thirty children every week visit the NIH for experimental treatment, of these thirty kids, ten typically have cancer. Shouldn’t treatment for cancer be considered “essential” if cancer is the main cause of death among kids under 14 years of age? This is very upsetting to me. Moreover while these necessary services were unavailable to the general public, the congressional gym remained open and supportive law makers were still getting paid. This illustrates how this shut down was very selective and biased.
The shut down clearly affected many people’s daily activities and people had a harder time meeting their basic needs. Why should the majority of people be punished for a few people who cannot seem to compromise? The two parties are become more and more polarized, which has caused a significant impact on the daily lives of many Americans. Why should workers who are trying to work and support their family be punished due to the government’s negligence? Why should domestic violence shelters who support and provide security to women struggle with funds? How can an organization as important as the NIH turn new patients away? All of these services seem essential to me. The government would not have had to choose between what services are “essential” and “nonessential” if they started to do their jobs more efficiently and conclusively.