Fellow Southerners, I am worried. Antsy. It is official. We have been sequestered. You know…that thing that was never supposed to happen. That thing that was supposed to be so horrible that it would force our representatives to work together. Well it has and it wasn’t.
I am sure that everyone has heard all about the sequestration negotiations. (Or lack there of) It was kind of like playing a game. (Kick the Can, anyone?) We, in the south, might call it playing chicken…see who blinks first….who cries uncle. Only, our economy should not be a game board. What makes matters worse is that the Republicans obviously forgot who won the last election. They forgot that we voted for the very plan Obama put forward. Closing loopholes in the tax code. Raising taxes on the wealthiest among us. So…what in blue blazes happened?
Government is too big. It needs to just get out of the way! It does too much! We can not spend our way out of this recession. We’ve all heard it. The Republicans have been feeding us a steady diet of this rhetoric, and many have come to believe it. In some areas, I would agree. But, was this the best way to handle it? I think not! Sometimes, we choose not to think of what will be lost if they “get out of the way”. Let me tell you, we stand to lose a lot!
Individual states will be losing tens of millions of dollars in federal aid for primary and secondary education. That means hundreds of job losses for teachers and aids. Millions of dollars no longer there to fund the education and special needs of children with disabilities. Head start programs and vaccinations for our community’s children will be severely compromised. Dream big, teach small.
Our community elders will lose hundreds of thousands of dollars for nutrition assistance. Programs like Meals on Wheels can not function without the help of “big” government. Respect your elders, even if they are starving.
Let’s not forget that our very health and safety will be impacted. There will be cuts to law enforcement and fire fighters. Funding slashed for our emergency responders. Thousands of working and contributing citizens, who work on our military installations, will become unemployed. We appreciate your service, but we can’t pay you.
And I have not even mentioned the decreased funding for food safety. Or the lack of monetary aid to small businesses. There will be less funding for mental health that helps countless men, women, and children receive care.
I know, I know. You’re thinking…maybe now they will come to some sort of agreement. Well. I am about as hopeful as a fly caught in a spider’s web. If there is anything worse than actually being sequestered, it is the knowledge that our government has become all but useless. House Republicans have made it their mission to destroy anything President Obama sets out to do. If he said it was raining, they would swear he was spitting on them. They show no regard for us, the people. It was thought that cutting military spending would be so abhorrent to them, that they would compromise. So much for that.
Shortly, we will be deciding whether or not to raise the debt ceiling. Who out there is hopeful? Well…I am. If we have to write and call so much that representatives are sick of us, so be it. If they have to get to know you on a first name basis, so be it. We have got to stop complaining in Wal-Mart and church basements, and speak up where it counts. These people need to be reminded that they work for us. We don’t have the money of big corporations or lobbyists. But…we are the voters. It won’t do them a lick of good to run ads every two seconds if we decide not to vote in their favor. We must stop talking about it, and BE about it.
Fretting about prayer in school and displaying the Ten Commandments right now is a waste. You, your homosexual neighbor, and the girl who had the abortion will all suffer. Both the black child and white child will attend a school with fewer educators. Because it seems that we have all, to some extent, been takers. GASP!!
I am not expecting Jesus to take the wheel. But I sure hope the people who work for us do. Because sequester bites won’t just itch. They will be painful as hell.