Our federal government is in shutdown mode today. It’s difficult to comprehend what a sweeping statement that is. It does not mean that just the senators and representatives are not working. It isn’t like a holiday when the banks and post offices are closed. All “non-essential” federal employees are “furloughed” and won’t be paid until the situation changes. This affects entities like the military, the Centers for Disease Control, security at airports…just to name a few. Not being paid until the situation changes is as much a psychological issue for some as it is the physical lack of a paycheck. As I read what is termed “non-essential” I feel a sense of sadness and the hopelessness that comes of the inability in any relationship to reach a compromise. It’s difficult enough for two people who don’t agree on something and cannot seem to find a way through the impasse, let alone 100 senators and 435 representatives! At this moment in our history, this “shutdown” is emblematic of the divide in beliefs and the inability or unwillingness of people to listen deeply so as to hear and find ways to solutions.
What do we do now? Call me crazy but I think “solution” starts with attitude and the willingness to give up criticism as a way of social interaction. What is the content of our everyday speech? Do we find ways of lifting people up rather than finding their faults or just ignoring them altogether? Negativity is insidious and rampant now. Perhaps our efforts to turn things around will have farther reaching effects than we realize. And why not start by praying for our senators and representatives…and even the President…for a swift and amicable compromise?