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View from the Hill Blog: Hey Mr. DJ

By Nicole Palya Wood, National Grange View From The Hill Blog (4/8/11)

  APRIL 10, 2011 --

This morning on my drive to work, a radio DJ made a comment about our recent election cycles--both the Presidential held in 2008 and the Congressional and Statewide elections held in November. He claimed that his listening audience, regardless of who they had voted for, had all voted the wrong people into office. He was of course referring to the current situation we have in Washington, as the likelihood of a government shutdown looms due to the fact our House, Senate and White House can’t agree on a budget. I beg to differ though with this DJ on several counts. I think we voted exactly who we needed into office and there is still room in Washington for a few more financial conservatives.

It is understandable that the American public is scared of a partial government shutdown. Paychecks will be cut for our military and about 800,000 federal workers will be furloughed, not to mention the countless government contractors.  But for the first time in a long time, I am actually incredibly proud of our newly elected Congress. We have a freshman class full of, in some cases, first-time legislators who ran on the very platform of cutting federal spending. They stand today asking Congress to balance a checkbook just like their constituents sitting back home in their districts are forced to do each week. These Congressmen were given a mandate by the folks in their districts to go to Washington and tighten their belts and they are sticking to those campaign promises.

Further illustrating this DJ’s cloak of political naiveté, he noted how the federal government debt would continue to grow regardless of the shutdown. Yes, that is true, but to that I would use the example of credit card debt. It is one thing to be charging items on your credit card on a daily basis, and quite another to be paying interest on a balance while you pay it down. We must start somewhere.  Shutting down the government does save money, but more valuable than that is the awareness that will be forced on all Americans who are not normally engaged in their government. The civic complacency which runs rampant across America and hollows out the heart of this nation’s greatness is a disease and this government shutdown is but just one symptom. 

In the next few hours, we will most likely see many of our government operations shutdown, but it may be what forces open the eyes of the unengaged.

In an hour or so, I will get into my car and settle in for my hour or two commute home and I will still be thinking about what tomorrow’s news may bring. I say to you Mr. DJ, stick to the music and maybe the weather, because politics are way out of your league.

- Nicole Palya Wood
Legislative Director

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