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Madelyn Smith
Madelyn Smith '13

About  Posts

Hometown: Eastsound, WA
Major: International Relations / Minor: Economics
Currently: Thailand Fellow for Global Playground

When the Real World Shuts Down

October 4, 2013 by

Walking through the streets of Washington, D.C. there is an air of uncertainty that permeates all that we do these days. This uncertainty is accompanied by a skepticism and distrust in government that I have never felt before. It is disheartening, this feeling of uncertainty, yet I understand the frustration that many people are feeling. People are disenfranchised by the inability of the government to compromise or agree.

Abraham Lincoln stated in the Gettysburg Address that the United States should be a government by the people, for the people, and of the people. Our public officials were elected to office to represent the voice of their people, to stand for bills and policies that would help the American Public, not put 800,000 people out of work. So, who is to blame? The media has pointed fingers at our congressmen and women- the people who are slaving hours on end to negotiate a resolution to the budget and debt crisis. Yes, congress is polarized with strong personalities who have made the news for their opinions, but I am optimistic they are working on our behalf to make positive change. Many people say that it is Obama’s stubborn stance on Obamacare that has created this mess. The truth? No one REALLY knows… It’s not the answer that any of us want to hear. Everyone thinks that there has to be someone or something to blame in order to put those pent-up emotions somewhere.

Well, here’s the truth: it’s the system. The system that allows us the freedom to debate. The system that allows us to share our opinions. The system that gives Congress the power to decide our fate as a country. The success of our country is built on this system. The liberties we have are a result of this system. The problem is that as well as this system functions, there are occasional mishaps that cause major Government shutdowns.

This is not the first time that the government has shut down, and I can guarantee that it will not be the last. Rather than become jaded by the United States government, I have decided to take a different approach. What I recognize, is that in order for there to be some sort of change, people are going to have to let go of their ego; something that will not happen voluntarily. Instead, come October 17th the threat of defaulting on the Debt will be so great, and there will be so much external pressure on Congress to act, that they will have to compromise. My hope is that there will be an agreement sooner, but there is no way to know. The best I can do is put my faith in the people who are working their hardest to make things right.

You might think that I am living under a rock speaking favorably about the Government in this time of crisis, but I still have hope. Hope persists despite the uncertainty, despite the shootings, the riots, the shutdowns and the crises – hope persists when the real world shuts down, because hope is all that we have.


  • Daniel says:

    There are those at fault, but it doesn’t matter right now who’s to blame. They need to make a compromise to avoid a default, and then we can analyze what got us to this point and fix it.

    In my opinion, the source of this crisis began decades ago when the federal government continued funding social welfare programs without the money to pay for them. We have racked up trillions in debt funding welfare, medicare, medicaid, social security, etc. with other people’s money that dried up 20+ years ago. These programs are great when we can afford them, but we can’t, so cuts need to be made. I would start with re-determining eligibility of everyone on these programs – non-citizens and those without a legitimate disability should be cut off immediately.

    It also began decades ago when we allowed healthcare costs to skyrocket and millions to go without healthcare due to lack of regulation in the industry and allowed American’s jobs to be shipped overseas. I do believe healthcare legislation is needed to reorganize the healthcare system, but I don’t think Obama’s version is the answer, and it’s definitely not at the right time considering our nation’s enormous debt at insolvency.

  • Daniel says:

    *debt and insolvency.

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