Politicians should place people before principle during shutdown

There is a recklessness in Washington, D.C., that has consequences extending beyond the mere 68 square miles of the capital district, the 535 members of Congress and the commander in chief.

Because of egotism, national leaders have chosen to hold the government hostage. As a result, political gamesmanship has been put ahead of the common people.

The real tragedy is that people and lives are being negatively affected by this government shutdown all across America.

The national parks, “crown jewels” in America’s backyard, have been shut down. The closing of these “public lands” has furloughed 21,000 employees of the park service.

Beyond that, imagine the business lost in the surrounding towns that depends on visitors and tourism. The hotels, tour operators and supply stores are suffering. From Acadia, Maine, to Yosemite, Calif., closing off these American treasures displays a total lack of propriety by our nation’s policy makers.

Moreover, a backbone for health and medical research, the National Institutes of Health is facing the effects of the shutdown alongside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Employees are sent home, research studies are suspended and scientists seeking funding are delayed. It is simply just impolitic to impact these healthcare agencies, which promote the health and safety of human life.

Small businesses that cater to the services of government agencies and large blue-chip corporations that contract out to government departments are feeling the ripple effects as well. Defense companies are making moves to begin furloughing their employees. There is clearly a systemic fallout from this shutdown that requires an end to this brinkmanship.

Each side in this debate is reclined in its backrooms, plotting the next moves in what seems like a game of strategy. They find ways to hone their message, deliver to their base, and win this “battle” with the other side.

What they may have forgotten is that when people and lives are involved, it should never be a political game. Put people before politics.


Raymond La is a junior majoring in microbiology.