Friday morning, as most of us were getting ready for the homecoming parade, I had a visit from George Brozowski.
George and his family have lived in Waxahachie for more than a decade.
He works for the federal government and offices in Dallas.
Since Wednesday, he has been on furlough due to the government shutdown.
“I just think it’s important for folks to know that the government shutdown is not just about Washington, D.C. It’s hitting close to home because in every community in Ellis County, there are federal employees that are feeling the pinch because Congress can’t come to an agreement.”
George said he decided to stop by the paper after an incident at the bank when his wife was trying to explain why the bills would be late this month.
“That’s pretty much all we’ve been doing since Wednesday — calling up all the companies we have accounts with and explaining why I’m not getting a paycheck and that the bills will be late,” he told me. “But what was surprising is the reaction. Nearly everyone we talked with thought the government shutdown only affected Washington, D.C. Most folks didn’t have any idea that we have federal employees living in Ellis County that are having to get by without a paycheck until Congress can reopen the government. I thought you might like to let everyone know that the government shut down is also hitting close to home.”
As the family’s sole breadwinner, George said they have modest savings that will help them get through the month, hoping the shutdown ends before then.
“We’re OK for now, but who knows how long this is going to last,” he said. “I get so frustrated watching TV because all I hear is the saber-rattling and posturing and not one of our elected officials acts like they are interested in working out a solution. It’s extremely frustrating.”
I told George I shared both his concern and frustration.
Following the news coverage, I was particularly upset about a report from Fort Worth of the nonprofit Honor Flight organization that was taking a group of World War II veterans to Washington to tour the memorial — only the memorials were closed and barricaded due to the shutdown.
As a member of the Ellis County Honor Flight chapter, I had the honor of helping take three groups of veterans on that trip and saw first-hand what it meant to those men and women. Knowing all of the work that goes into fundraising and planning those trips, I couldn’t fathom arriving in D.C. with a group of heroes who have waited nearly 70 years to see their memorial, only to be turned away.
While American politics has always been a blood sport, I can’t remember politics being this polarizing — or such an unwillingness from both parties to find common ground for the greater good.
I wish I had an answer. I truly do. I don’t know why it’s so hard for a group of individuals who are supposed to represent the best and brightest America has to offer to work together.
Maybe we should do what my P.E. teacher at Gibbs Middle School did when two kids couldn’t get along on the playground. Maybe, we could take the Democrat and Republic Party leaders into the gym, strap a pair of boxing gloves on them and let them duke it out until both of them were ready to shake hands and stop acting like a spoiled brat.
It worked in junior high. Who knows, maybe it could work in Washington.
Neal White is the Editor of Waxahachie Newspapers Inc. Contact Neal at firstname.lastname@example.org or 469-517-1457. Follow Neal on Facebook at Neal White – Waxahachie Newspapers Inc., or on Twitter at wni_nwhite.