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Employees are pawns in a dangerous game

I am an employee of the federal government who has been furloughed due to the inadequacy of this Congress. The shutdown of the government isn’t time for an elementary school-level blame game. It is not about getting media attention to get public opinion on one side or the other. It’s not about damage control. It’s not about using leverage to get one’s ideological preferences to enact or repeal legislation.

It’s about those who have optioned to serve their country by choosing to become civil servants. Hard-working individuals, who have sacrificed for the good of this nation, have become pawns – intentionally or inadvertently – by this Congress. We have gone years without a cost-of-living adjustment in our paychecks, suffered the wrath of what has become “sequestration” and now this.

We just try to make a living, the same as everyone else. We are your neighbors, your friends and the cohorts in your children’s PTAs. We worship with you, eat dinner at the same restaurants and buy gas from the same filling stations as you. However, we now find ourselves trying to make sense of this unfortunate and preposterous situation in Washington.

We are scrambling to find ways to pay our mortgages, feed our families and pay for clothes for our children. This shutdown isn’t just about “one faction of one party, in one house of Congress, in one branch of government … all because they didn’t like one law.”

This shutdown is about 800,000 people – your families and friends – not being able to serve their country to the best of their ability. These are people who want to work. They want to do what they have been trained to do, and enjoy doing. Remember these people who will soon not be able to afford to buy food for their families and pay the mortgage for their homes.

Geoff Fenwick

Amherst