From Washington DC To A Neighborhood Near You

Published On October 9, 2013 | By Marc Belisle |
by Marc Belisle
Living in the DC area, I personally know a lot of people who have been furloughed by the federal shutdown.  The number one reaction to being furloughed that I’ve heard is: boredom.  The people who work for the federal government WANT to go back to work.  Because most of them really LIKE serving you, the public, in their jobs.  Their jobs range from fairly mundane to pretty important, from maintaining public grounds, to staffing Smithsonian museums, from administrating political offices to supporting scientific research.  The people with truly essential jobs, like air traffic control and secretive Pentagon roles, are still at work; which goes to show that the federal government is an indispensable part of our society.  The only truly useless workers in the federal government are 217 members of the House.

409193733_e175477ed6_zBut my friends sitting at home, waiting to hear how and when House Republicans will stop using their livelihoods as a pawn, are not on vacation.  They have to stay close to the capital because they have to be ready to go back to work on a day’s notice.  But they’re also not getting paid.  Some are beginning to worry about buying groceries and making rent.  Some are beginning to apply for unemployment, taxing the system in precisely the way that the GOP pretends it opposes.  Mostly they are sitting on their couches, anxiously watching TV and trying to avoid spending money.

DC has more embassies than almost any other city on earth.  For many foreigners visiting our nation, DC is their first impression of America.  The shuttered museums, monuments, national parks, historical sites, federal offices are an insult to the American people.  But to foreign visitors on crucial missions in our capital, they also show an America closed for business, with no pride for itself, its history and its culture, wrestling with inner demons, locked in the throes of an extremist pissing contest with ideological hostage-takers.  If the thousands of foreigners who come to do important business in our capital draw the conclusion that America cannot be relied upon as it has been in the past, who could blame them?

The greater DC area, which includes major suburbs in counties of Virginia and Maryland, is a metropolitan area of 1.5 million Americans.  The furlough of hundreds of thousands in my neck of the woods is destabilizing the delicate economic balance of my city.  The stores, restaurants and labbars are deserted.  The city is losing millions daily from the usual throngs of tourists.  The metro feels like a ghost train during the day.  The economic repercussions for the DC area will reverberate for years.  Small businesses will be shuttered, leading to layoffs, higher unemployment, declining property value, etc., etc., etc…  DC has progressed rapidly in the last 20-30 years from dangerous slums ringing Capitol Hill to a chic, trendy, multicultural, urban mosaic, friendly to business and culture.  The GOP is casually determined to turn the clock back on DC’s development.

But I’ll give you one specific example of the kind of damage House Republicans are inflicting on the country.  I must be vague, but I know someone who works in an aspect of government health research.  The research has been paused in mid-experiment.  The experiment will need to be restarted after months of painstaking preparation and development at significant cost to you, the taxpayer.  But, most importantly, scientists have lost crucial time in a process funded by the federal government, with the goal of developing new drugs to SAVE LIVES.  As an indirect result of the Republican House holding the US government and debt limit hostage, people WILL die.

These are the tragedies playing out around me as the GOP violently screws my city and my country.  Ladies and gentlemen, we MUST clean House in 2014.

Photo Credit: Adventures Of A Good Man

Marc Belisle | Staff Writer | The Everlasting GOP Stoppers

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Marc Belisle

Senior Writer at Reverb Press.
Marc Belisle is a writer, activist and teacher. He is a regular contributor to The Everlasting GOP Stoppers. He has an Master's degree in International Conflict Analysis from the Brussels School of International Studies.

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