How the shutdown affected families like mine
During the 34-day government shutdown, which lasted from Saturday, Dec. 22, to Friday, January 25, pundits spewed the same notion over and over: This shutdown is directly affecting 800,000 federal workers and their families. Despite anecdotal stories of workers having to pick up an Uber gig for extra money, single parents worrying about whether or not food was going to be put on the table and Coast Guard members who defend our nation doing so without pay, few can understand the struggle of furloughed employees unless they have gone through a shutdown. I have become familiar with their plight, as my father is a federal worker.
For as long as I have been alive, my dad has worked on behalf of the American people in auditing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). His job is vital, as he ensures that the IRS, which is responsible for tax collection, is not giving breaks to special interests or corporations. His division often intervenes before the break can be given, saving the government millions of dollars. While the job can seem mundane to some, as someone who wants to pursue a career in government (largely thanks to the work of my father), I grew up thinking he had the coolest job on Earth. I will never forget going to the Capitol as a child and watching him attend congressional hearings amongst senators I saw on TV daily.
Those kinds of glamour and benefits are overshadowed by the fact my father's job is exactly was the pundits have called it: a middle-class job. I was fortunate to live in an affluent area where I could attend superior schools, have access to Long Island beaches and ultimately go on to college. Fancy cars and designer clothes were never in the cards for me, but I was grateful for what I had and recognized I was lucky to be in the position I was in.
Then, the shutdown hit. In my memory, it has happened a few times before, notably over the Affordable Care Act in 2013 and over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in 2017. Granted, my life was not adversely affected, as they were quickly resolved and were over issues remarkably important to champion for the betterment of the nation.
This shutdown was different. With President Donald Trump bullying his way into negotiation and refusing to compose on his border wall that has been disproven to be at all effective by thousands of experts, concerns loomed over our heads throughout Christmas break. My school tuition was due, the mortgage had to be paid, food had to be put on the table, prescriptions needed to be filled and we needed gas put in our cars. We were the lucky ones. My parents are lucky enough to have savings they could dig into and my mother makes enough money to carry us for a while. If the shutdown had lasted longer, I don't know what would have happened to my tuition payments, car loans and even my childhood home when savings ran out. As widely known, many others were not so lucky. I was humbled by the outreach of friends and family offering to help if need be, a reminder of the continued greatness of everyday people.
President Trump leveraged my family as political pawns. It was recently reported only 12 percent of Americans favor the border wall. The president is adversely affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of families just like mine, along with ruining family vacations to national parks, preventing a young couple attempting to purchase their first house from receiving a mortgage and endangering anyone boarding a flight due to the shutdown’s utter negligence of Transportation Security Administration workers. I truly hope a deal can be reached so that not just my family, but others affected by the shutdown no longer have to live in fear. President Trump, supposedly the master negotiator, should use these three weeks to work out a deal, one which should not be determined by the month of Ann Coulter.