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The rest of us can't just 'shut down'

Oct 11, 2013 - By Chris Peck

Call your congressional representatives and tell them all to get the government back to work.

My daughter is a church minister who doesn't follow politics much so she asked the obvious question about the ongoing government shutdown.

"What would happen if all the rest of us decided to "shut down?'"

Good question.

She went on. If ministers just "shut down," they would quit making hospital visits. Stop showing up for funerals. No more marriage ceremonies.

OK, let's go with this.

What if teachers decided to "shut down?" Get up at 6 as usual but then decide, "Nah, I'm not going to school today" and head back to the sack.

Or law enforcement. Sitting at home, hearing a 911 call on the police scanner and just "shut down" and stay working on a hobby.

Ridiculous.

Most of us don't have the "shut down" option.

No, if you to work a regular job you don't just "shut down.'' Not if you want to keep the job.

If you manage people, you don't shut down for two weeks and disappear from your people, the public, or the paperwork.

And if you are the boss? Your shareholders would have you out of the executive chair in a matter of days if you decide "shut down" is your strategy.

Yet this is precisely the strategy that our elected officials have adopted for solving our political differences.

What kind of egos in the U.S. Congress think they are so important, so all -powerful, so wise that they can proclaim a national "shutdown" for 800,000 workers?

Let's remember that the federal employees who have been "shut down" didn't ask for it.

The rangers in Yellowstone National Park didn't ask to not work.

The BLM staffers who manage much of Wyoming's public lands, water, and resources didn't lobby for an unscheduled, unpaid vacation.

The federal workers who had been processing loans for homebuyers, had been monitoring the organic foods we eat, had been organizing the sale and relocation of wild horses, but are now home twiddling their thumbs, didn't ask for more twiddle time.

No, this came from the arrogance of politicians who decided to shut down valuable public services to make a political point.

Of course they are still getting paid. They still have their jobs, and their full benefits.

So no matter what your politics, no matter what you think of President Obama or John Boehner, ask yourself this: Is "shut down" a viable strategy for a country, or a company, or a Congress?

When you have the obvious answer to the question my minister daughter asked, call U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, and U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis. Give them a simple message: Get the government back to work.

If you can get somebody to answer the phone.

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