With no apparent way to escape the inundation of media reporting on the partial government shutdown, I cannot help but have a few thoughts on the subject. At this point, it appears that the typical paranoia of federal government officials claiming to be Republicans is maybe not as prominent as during previous such shutdowns. With a little luck (wishful thinking?), maybe we are at the threshold of a new and welcome genuine change in how “our” federal government does business. And we will owe it all to the man a lot of us held no hope for early in 2016.

I admit occasionally being at least mildly concerned, if not slightly embarrassed, by certain aspects of President Trump’s approach to dealing with the rival party in Washington, DC. However, I became aware a long time ago that one cannot always “play nice” with others who have only their own interests at heart. Somewhat like the president, on a much smaller scale, I spent a number of years as the leader of a group of volunteers attempting to work with the U.S. Forest Service in order to preserve our access to a small portion of “our” National Forest for our chosen recreational sport. There seems to have been certain accepted, but unwritten “rules” regarding precisely how one in such a position conducts oneself when interacting with Forest Service Officials. 

I soon found much of the standard protocol to be seriously lacking in productive returns on our investment of time, sweat and personal financial resources. Although my fellow club members spent a large part of the early years of our association with the Forest Service scared to death that I would get us banned-for-life from the Forest, most of them eventually came to realize what I had discovered very early on. As with so many instances that we have seen with national political figures, “Nice guys usually finish last.” But I digress...

With regard to the current shutdown and specifically the hand-wringing concern displayed by Democrat “leaders” and the national news media over the financial hardships being thrust upon the numerous government employees, I have mixed feelings. Having been in a position to be void of a regular paycheck a few times, I am sympathetic to the potential problems some government employees face. Then again, where was all the outrage when so many of us in the Working Class were left unemployed (with no promise of “back-pay”) a decade or so ago due to the downturn in the economy (during a Democrat presidential term)?

It is heartening to see news of some private businesses offering a helping hand to furloughed government employees. It is a testament to the goodwill of most Americans. Still, the last time I found myself without a regular paycheck, the best option I could come up with was to eventually find a new job. With all the unfilled job opportunities in America today, is it out of the question for some or all of the furloughed “non-essential” federal employees to look for gainful employment in the private sector? Many of them likely have never experienced the satisfaction of a truly productive job-well-done.

A final thought on another aspect of the partial government shutdown: President Trump recently prevented House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Company from flying to Afghanistan on a military plane shortly before they were scheduled to take off. If I could humbly offer some advice to the president, next time wait until they are over there before canceling their flight. I can envision a distinct possibility that Speaker Pelosi would find that she has more in common with many of the America-haters in the Middle-East than with most of the patriotic Americans with whom I am acquainted.

Fred Pittman


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