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When Government shuts down

I was looking forward to going with my grandson, Henry, to visit Fort Sumter on a recent trip to Charleston.  Arriving in the city a couple of days after him and his parents, I asked Henry if he had seen the fort yet.  “No, the boat is not working,”  he said.  
Since the ferry to Ft. Sumter is operated by the National Park Service, it was closed when the government recently shut down.  My grandson got his first taste of what happens when our government closes due to policy differences.   It will likely become more common as Congress and the President move away from compromise and the fringes of the left and right take control.
It is amazing at just how far the fingers of government reach down into our everyday lives.  We may be for smaller government, but when it starts affecting us and our loved ones we tend to take it personally.
The blame game is going full force as we edge ever closer to the debt ceiling limit.  The irony is that while some may be blamed more than others, no politician goes scot free.  The approval rating of those of both parties and Congress in general has sunk to its lowest rating ever.  The president gets hammered as well, just not as much some of the congressmen.
There was a time when serving in Congress was one of the noblest callings a man could have.  Later, women joined the ranks and probably made the discussions in the back rooms of the Capitol more civil.
The latest polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans are in favor of throwing the bums out, as the old saying goes.  Not just a few, but every single one.  Even a political junkie like me is so sick and tired of listening to the excuses of why it is always the other party’s fault.
My mother used to make my brother and I stare at each other when we got mad.  No matter how furious we got, one of us would eventually crack a smile and before long we were laughing out loud.  Perhaps we should make the Democrats and Republicans line up and stare at each other.  
The sad thing is that no matter how disgusted the people become at their elected officials, we will re-elect almost all of them.  Incumbency is difficult to overcome, especially when the power has gone to the head of those elected.  Politicians will fight to the end to serve just one more term.
Perhaps this is why some of the best of our statesmen come back home to find some other way to serve.  Any congressman will tell you that you can get more done at the state or local level.  Good leadership still makes a difference where we live and work every day.
It may seem odd to pray for your government.  However, it seems there isn’t much else one can do at this point.  Pray for common sense, level heads and leadership more concerned about our country than the next election.  
We elected the bums and only we can bring them home.  Remember that the next time you vote.   Our country is counting on us.
Dan Ponder can be reached at

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