A Government Employee Speaks Out

by Ouida on September 30, 2013


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Last week we held an emergency meeting to discuss the possibility of a government shutdown. I half-jokingly invited my colleagues to send comments that I would post on my Blog. During that meeting I genuinely had no plans to publish anything at all. That is until I saw some of the political debates over the weekend. I was so sickened that I had to turn the TV off. As I write this, we are 4 hours and three minutes from a shutdown. In my almost 20-year career of service this will be the second shutdown my co-workers and I have weathered.

The Republicans in Congress have done a very good job of isolating the Federal Worker. We are portrayed as people with overly generous benefits packages who do little work. I went straight from residency training to this job so I cannot speak to my benefits package as it is compared to the private sector. What I can say is that I would have made more money and amassed substantially more assets over my 20-year career had I taken my Ivy-League education and deployed it in the private sector. Whatever my health insurance and benefits package, it is the same one our members of the house have voted for themselves.

There are 800,000 federal workers. We are doctors, lawyers, law enforcement officials, we are the military, we handle disasters both domestic and abroad, we are engineers, we build bridges and dams, we are chemists, physicists, we are teachers and technicians, we are information specialists, we are security guards and housekeepers. We have mortgages. We pay our bills.

Our federal housekeepers swab the toilets and clean up the messes of the men and women of Congress who have forgotten how to govern. I spoke to a friend today, a Republican, who told me he was so disgusted by the Republican party that he was going to hand in his card.

Federal workers spend money. We make plans. The plans we make will go unrealized and the money will remain in our pockets. Can our service-based fragile economy endure 800,000 people spending only what they must while we wait for the uncertainty regarding our pay to be resolved?

Like it or not Barack Obama won a second term as President of the United states and he did so by winning the popular vote. The Affordable Health Care Act was passed into law during Mr. Obama’s first term. The Republicans who oppose it are not among the 45 million Americans who lack access to care and they never will be. Increasingly membership in the legislative branch of our government has become less about governing and more about influence peddling and power brokering. Peter Schweizer in his book, “Throw Them All Out” reveals the sad truth that the majority of Senators and Congressmen leave government far richer than when they came, truly governing and finding a way forward for America simply isn’t a priority any more. The craziness we are seeing today isn’t about the insurance mandate or the need to protect the insurance companies (Rand Paul actually said that we need to be careful that we don’t decimate the insurance companies on Face the Nation yesterday). It is about not liking the man in the White House and wanting to turn the clock back to November 5, 2012. It is about closing the sandbox because you don’t want certain kids to play there. In any other Banana Republic we would call this a coup, a situation in which one faction subverts the government because they don’t like the outcome of an election. But because the Republicans haven’t gotten in tanks, taken up arms and rolled down Pennsylvania Avenue, we don’t call it that. Instead we call it government dysfunction.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Covington October 1, 2013 at 9:45 am

I just wanted to add one thing. It is a long standing policy of the United States of America that we do not negotiate with terrorist-PERIOD! be they domestic or abroad.

While I hate to see the government shut down even if it only ends up being a day or so, particularly not the federal employees whom will be hit hardest, but the coup is in fact Congressional terrorist. To reverse course and begin negotiating terrorist sets an irreversible precedence and would irreparably damage the presidency.

The question I keep wonder is this; are we seeing the demise of the Representative Republic we hail to the world as Democracy?

Democracy-the idea that government should be decided by we, the people had worked so well for more than 200 years that the very idea topple government as the people of other nations demanded their right to be heard. Our representatives fought to be heard and fight the good fight but in the end would the process ruled. Suddenly now, with this presidency, the people can be ignored and overruled. Why?

Americans have been led to believe they are either red or blue, right or left, but in reality is that most of us are a combination of these. In the past these differences were what made us the best of the best. Now that we are being forced to choose one of the other, things are falling apart. I think that is why the idea of President Obama-the hope, the change, a difference and yes, some diversity-was so appealing to the majority of people not only hear but abroad. While he hasn’t succeed at everything, he did one thing that the vast majority of our politicians have stopped even trying to do-kept his campaigned promise.

President Obama campaigned on the promise that he would bring long over due universal healthcare to we, the people of the United States and was said yes to that. Congress disagrees but they are not the people. For me the hypocrisy of this can been seen in how the divide us over the issue of abortion.

In the 40 years since Roe v. Wade we have lost nearly 100,000 unborn children and as tragic as this is, we have lost nearly a half a billion more Americans simply because we choose not to provide them with basic healthcare. So even while we were in the midst of the worst economic downturn we had experienced since the Great Depression, we the people voted President Obama into office on the promise that he would get universal healthcare and amazingly he actually delivered. While many believe this isn’t right, it is what we the people wanted so they then voted him back into office on his promise to see the Affordable Care Act through because the time has come. Again, he won not merely the Electoral College but the popular vote.

With this shut down or threat to shut down, the Congressional Terrorist are in fact saying that we the people do not have this right to make this decision, no? No!

So again I ask, is this the end of our America as we have known her from that Declaration of Independence? Will we now begin negotiating with terrorist? Will this coup be allowed to succeed? Are we at a point of no return?

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Ouida October 3, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Thanks Covington. I hope we are not at the point of no return, but sometimes I wonder. I really do.

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