Friday, April 8, 2011

What 'Government Shutdown' Means to Me

In recent days, you may have seen a great deal of statuses on Facebook regarding the possibility of a government shutdown.  I say that you "may" have seen these, because unless you have a military family member / friend / etc. it's highly likely you're not hearing half as much as I am.  Allow me to explain for my not-so-silent sisters who share with them the rank of "Silent Ranks".

I'm not a huge fan of politics.  This much you can easily learn about me, probably within a few seconds of having met me.  So I cannot explain to you or anyone else all of the legalities or history lessons behind this.  All I can say is that there is apparently something mightily wrong with my nation's funding (not that this is / was news to me).  My husband is in the military, and that is our sole income at this time.  Today, I awoke to a phone call from a friend who is also a military wife.  I listened to how the government has until midnight tonight to decide whether they shutdown or not, and if so what all of that means for the military personnel.  Because when the country runs out of cash, the sensible thing to do is to have our troops continue serving their nation in dangerous situations -- WITHOUT PAY. 

Now, I want to apologize to my military-wife girlfriends... because this isn't an angry blog.  In my mind, I'm not standing before congress screaming my head off, "GIMME OUR MONEY YOU B-------------!!!!!!!!"  Neither am I going to get on a soapbox over this or any other issues regarding it.  Not right now.  Because this won't help jack-squat. But I also will say that maybe I'm not as worked up as I should be (yet).  Which is why I wanted to go ahead and write this.  Before I get really angry and say things online that I shouldn't.

What I Fear: I fear government shutdown because I see it as being a shutdown of pretty much everything.  Governement shuts down.  They may try to give us (military personnel / dependents) some form of notice to give to companies they owe in order to prove that they indeed cannot afford to pay them for the moment.  But I don't see that lasting very long before such companies stop accepting those scraps of paper because of the financial squeeze it places them in.  To be completely honest, a nation without money, is a nation without all of the niceties we have.  As a nation, we take so much for granted.  We prefer to drive vehicles instead of ride bicycles.  And our towns and cities are mapped out accordingly.  So basically, to sum up, it's not at all difficult for me to picture rewinding our national tape a few years.  Like all the way back to the 1930s.  Or even farther back than that to the 1800s when we had no electricity and fire was this magical thing that kept us warm in winter.  The difference this time around would be the massive outbreak of vehicles just sitting around on the streets where they were stopped / parked because of a lack of gasoline. 

The above having been said, I'm certain things won't get quite so bad as I've imagined.  But there ya go. 

The Blame: I'm sure there are those wondering whom I place the blame with for this problem.  No one really.  If I were to blame anyone, it would be pretty much everyone.  It's not just one person.  Because to me, America is like a huge family, the government it's parents.  We've had both good parents and bad ones, but as far back as the early days of our nation's existence, our "parents" were making bad financial decisions for the entire family.  For instance, I'm happy we have the Statue of Liberty, but last I heard, we are still paying her off to France.  I'm happy we have the government we do, but they seem to have been bought rather than truly standing for their own beliefs. 

Us: So what does "Government Shutdown" mean for my husband and I?  For me, it means an advanced-level repeat of a few things that have happened in the past... basically, I would probably have to move back home with my parents and pray they would be willing to feed me until I get a job and Drew and I get paid again.  It would mean that I cannot pay for anything we owe.

My Take: I'm upset, yes.  This would be a terrible thing to happen.  But I'm not worried and refuse to worry (other than contacting companies and letting them know beforehand) until I know exactly what's going down.  I can do this because of my faith.  No matter what happens, I know that God will take care of us.  I know that we'll be okay, somehow.  And I don't say that flippantly.  I truly believe it.  I urge my fellow "silent ranks" to believe as well.  Believe that you and your families will be okay.  Believe that your husbands / wives will do what is necessary to protect your freedoms, including the freedom of being paid.  Believe that no matter what we can all get through this.  I understand I'm asking a lot, especially from those of you who are parents.  But one thing I've learned about the military is that despite some of the downsides, we do act like a family.  If something happens here, I know I have friends who will help get me out of here if necessary.  I know that we will stand up as that family and help one another.  I know that we will work together through all of this.  This is a test on so many levels.

To Our Servicemembers / Active Duty Personnel: Now is the test of your true selves.  It is a test of your valor, of your ability to truly serve your country.  Look upon it as such.  Know that the families and friends you have left behind here love and support you.  DO NOT WORRY about what is going on at home.  FOCUS on getting home safely to us whenever you are able.  This does not mean that you abandon all hope and bail; though if your leaders see fit to create this opportunity, by all means...  You have support systems here to help your families through a difficult time.  As I've already mentioned, this is a test for us, too, so know that you are not alone.  Our prayers are with you.  All of you.

To My Sailor: I love you with all my heart.  Always.  Forever.  Never forget that.  Which translates to - don't worry, I'm still here for you, and "I've got this".  Even in the moments when I'm dropping the ball.  I know this because I know you.  You wouldn't have married me otherwise.

To Our Government: Do what you will.  You are in my prayers today that you will make the best and wisest decisions for the entire nation, including those within your military, and their dependents.  There are many things I could say in addition to this, but I digress.  So I will leave you with this -- I hope that whatever decision you make, you can live with.

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