Sarah Reinhard is a Catholic wife, mom, writer, editor, marketing professional, and coffee drinker. You’re just as likely to find her hiding out back with a book as you are to discover her playing in the yard with a few farm animals (or wait — are those her kids?) She is the author of many books, the most recent of which she co-edited with Lisa Hendey: The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion: A Book of Daily Reflections. She blogs at SnoringScholar.com and writes online regularly at CatholicMom.com and Integrated Catholic Life. Reinhard holds a master’s degree in marketing and communications and has worked for many years in corporate and nonprofit organizations. She lives in central Ohio with her husband and children.
My first response upon hearing that the government was shutdown was to snort-laugh, with an eye roll, too. I mean, really? Guys? That's the best you can do?
Now that we've gone multiple days, even my small-town America existence is being affected, though I'm not a federal employee, and my mail's still functioning just fine.
My husband works with federal employees on contracts for his firm. My father-in-law draws a military pension. My brother is active duty in the military.
And then there are all those women and children I can't stop thinking of, since Simcha brought it to my attention the other night.
To be honest, I'm still not really affected. Not in a my-life-has-changed kind of way. You wouldn't know that from the way the various media outlets are dealing with it, though, would you? In a list CNN put together of how life would be affected, it came down to this: the collective psyche:
"America is the largest economy in the world and a beacon for how democracy ought to work. To watch elected lawmakers engage in a high-stakes staring contest with no one willing to blink is no way to do business. A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll found that 51% would blame Republicans for the shutdown. The United States has operated without a budget since 2009 and has avoided a government shutdown with last-minute deals. It's been one stomach-turning sequel after another.
"Not only did the government run out of money on Tuesday, the nation is set to hit its borrowing limit and potentially default on its debt in mid-October. Together, they serve — in the words of CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta — as a dysfunction double whammy."
I didn't even know there was a panda cam until the shutdown.
There's a feeling in the air, though. Someone mentioned to me that he was going to get some money out in order to have cash on hand "just in case."
"In case of WHAT?" I answered. "If things get THAT bad, your money won't be worth anything for long!"
But what about the federal employees who — unlike the members of Congress, who can decide to donate their shutdown salaries — could be facing rent due and no income?
"The federal employees that [William] Dougan [national president of the National Federation of Federal Employees] represents are all too aware of the consequences. Around 800,000 federal workers, who make an average salary between $25,000 and $75,000 a year, have been furloughed without pay during the shutdown. This furlough comes on top of other furloughs they've seen this year because of budget cuts."
When I stop and think about it, the shutdown is giving me an opportunity to pray for my country in a whole new way. I'm not the best at remembering that in the midst of my daily petitions and distractions. This week, though, "praying for the country" has been a pretty top-of-mind intention.