Fear will allow shutdown to go on
Published 11:30 am Tuesday, January 15, 2019
There’s a dreadful fear associated with the current government shutdown.
It’s a fear that has prevailed in every instance when the little guy or the guy in the middle is placed in an untenable situation which is not of his doing, a situation which too often leaves him with too few choices of action to help him extricate himself.
This shutdown, the third since President Donald Trump has taken office, is an instance when, at the present, some 800,000 “little guys” are being forced to assess their situations and are undoubtedly confronting the fear of the unknown.
“When will I get another paycheck?”
“Will my creditors provide some slack until I start to generate income again?”
“Will I be able to make up the losses I’ve sustained?”
These questions are not new.
They were there when the UMW struck the coal fields in Pennsylvania and West Virginia and Kentucky.
They were there when the UAW struck Ford, or GM or Chrysler.
They were there when the CWA struck the phone companies.
Those questions were on the minds of all union people forced to walk the streets and refuse to work because of low wages, or miserable working conditions or lack of benefits.
But now is different.
Now people are literally forced to work without pay.
They are not walking the streets carrying anti-business signs. They are quietly going about their daily routine, but not being reimbursed for doing so.
And the fear with them is that they can do no better.
How many have probably thought of simply walking away from their job — as they rightfully could — and looking elsewhere for work?
How many could find a job somewhere else with similar pay and benefits?
Even though the American economy is humming along, and jobs are aplenty, it would not be so easy to find a job with the security or seniority or benefits or pay level which they currently enjoy … if they were being paid.
It is easy for high elected officials to minimize the misery that is being heaped on the everyday workers who are shouldering this shutdown.
“Yes, I can relate.”
If those at the top want a shutdown or want to continue a shutdown, those who suffer most from one should be able to make it real, not just for themselves, but for those who allow it to continue.
If every government worker, from the janitors in the capitol to the cooks in the White House to the air traffic controllers, the TSA agents, the capitol police, would simply leave their work unattended, it is easy to image the shutdown would end precipitously.
Imagine if airport workers stopped working and the air traffic across American came to a standstill.
The phone lines in the White House and the capitol would be immediately flushed with calls from airline CEOs demanding action.
Why won’t this happen?
It’s that innate fear of not knowing what the outcome would be; a fear as great or greater than that associated with not knowing about when it will be over. A debilitating fear not so easily vanquished.
And the little guy in the middle suffers.
Chuck Witt is a retired architect and a lifelong resident of Winchester. He can be reached at email@example.com.