By Samira Baird
11:30 PM, September 30th, Washington DC. Stressful, hurried, and frustrating. The House, Senate, and White House are all attempting to prevent the inevitable time bomb from erupting, but to no avail. Just a half hour later, the Government shuts down. It’s 12:01 AM, October 1st.
The shutdown is an indirect fault of both Republicans and Democrats, but a direct effect of the Republican’s attempt to prevent funding of The Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. The two political parties have taken different approaches to the shutdown. The Democrats call it a shutdown, and are quick to point out all the ways in which services are being taken away from American citizens. Some Republicans have referred to the whole situation as a Government slimdown, and are quick to point out the government services that we can live without. While the specific reason for the shutdown was a disagreement over funding Obamacare, the shutdown is deep rooted in the biggest political question of the 21st century, a common thread for all of the problems we have encountered thus far: how involved should the government be in the life of any American citizen?
Andy Mutch, a junior, told me that “Obamacare is a Socialist idea. It will put us more into debt than we already are.” This puts him at one end of the political spectrum. A sophomore, who asked to remain anonymous, had a different response. She referred specifically to the results of The Affordable Care Act. “As students, we should be thinking about our individual futures. Imagine being denied health care because of a pre-existing condition, or being pushed off your parents’ health care just out of college.”
Sophomore Ryan Torie spoke specifically about Pennsylvania Republicans, who are seeking to end the shutdown. “To me, they seem moderate, and I like that, the best of both worlds.” Mikaela Watson, another sophomore, offered a new perspective on the government’s actions. “The people causing the shutdown aren’t the ones being affected by it, and that’s what bothers me.”
In analyzation of post-shutdown action (or lack thereof), sophomore Griffin Banks adds that “the loath between both sides to reach a compromise is quite disheartening.” He also put the shutdown in an economic context: “The United States is just brushing itself off after the last economic crisis, and if a deal isn’t met, we’re right back in the thick of it.”
So what do we take from this shutdown? “A cautionary tale” says Griffin. “That if we can’t put aside pride and lust for our vision of this nation, there will be no nation left to envision.”
At the core of the shutdown and the health care debate is a nagging dispute, a persistent question, one that has altered the dialogue of our government for the last few years, if not for several centuries: “How involved should the government be in the life of any American citizen?”