Government Shutdown

I wrote the following letter to my House Representative, Jim McDermott. I don't know the answers to the current problems in Congress causing the Federal Government shutdown, but since I spent some time thinking it through, I wanted to share it publicly here as well.

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Hi Rep. McDermott-

I know you are not one of the Congresspersons who is directly responsible for the current federal government shutdown,  but since you are my representative, I wanted to write in and let you know how disappointed I am that this is happening. I do hold Congress in general somewhat responsible. 

I can't even pretend to know what exactly you (as a Democratic member) can do to influence the Republicans on this issue, but I know in my work as a WA state employee, I am expected to come to work and manage my projects and workflow in such a way that things get done. I know there are many, many federal public servants out of work right now who would love to be able to do the same. And there are "essential" federal employees right now working for no pay, while Congress seems to be getting paid for no work.

I am not naive to the political forces behind this shutdown, but it seems that if there is a possibility that a small but vociferous faction in the House can shut down the entire Congress, and by extension, the entire U.S. Federal government, the checks that the founders intended have gotten out of balance. While the political forces causing this are obvious to me, the procedural issues that allow it are not. It seems some procedure needs to be improved on so that this cannot happen again, and it seems the resolution of this shutdown must be found in a procedural loophole rather than a political solution. It's their game, but you need to beat them at it. 

Shouldn't it be illegal to refuse to fund a program that has been passed into law and even ratified by the U.S. Supreme Court? It seems that way to me, and I am surprised it's not. And where are the reasonable Republicans in this? I know they cannot all be this radical. What scares me the most about this is that over the past few decades, we have seen governments in the Middle East and Africa fall to radical minorities, but I couldn't possibly imagine that this could happen to the mighty, plodding, almost seemingly immovable U.S. Federal Government. 

The Tea Partiers seem to have gotten exactly what they wanted- less government. And they have no plan. They do not even have the willingness to start it up again. It's an unreasonable, reckless and dangerous approach to governance. As an educated, professional, middle class woman, I fear for my own rights and safety as well as for the people who are in weaker positions than I am in U.S. society. Not to sound too hysterical, but the women and children are the ones the radicals come for first. The Tea Party named themselves after a small group of revolutionaries, but what does revolution mean in the U.S. in 2013? We're so concerned about Al Qaida and other foreign terrorist networks, but in the meantime our own home-grown "revolutionaries" have brought our government to its knees and are now sitting back to gleefully watch it suffer.

Good luck to you, and I hope you and your colleagues can come to a solution on this before we have any major catastrophes. Those of us who do not have the power you do are waiting, watching, and trusting you to come to some solution soon that makes us feel safe and good about being Americans again.

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