A big thank you to the unpaid TSA agents and Air Traffic Controllers who got us to Colorado safely!
There are different opinions about the state of our political system and the current partial federal government shutdown. Many of us would likely agree, however, that having large segments of our government working without pay, some required to do so, has significant potential negative consequences for all of us. I have thought a lot about that in the last few days as my family and I have flown across the country. While the partial government shutdown hasn’t affected me directly before now, (other than the potential economic ramifications for all Americans) it certainly has the past few days.
Thinking of our upcoming vacation and the need to fly across the country has had me nervous in a way I have never felt about flying before. I fly frequently and usually do so without even thinking about what could happen. But this time was different. And the difference had nothing to do with the anniversary of the Miracle on the Hudson and Captain Sullenberger. It had everything to do with the partial government shutdown. It was knowing that two groups vital to our safety, TSA agents and Air Traffic Controllers, are working without pay. The stress that creates for them and their families can result in a rollover effect for their customers. Additionally, the fact that those who would do us harm have a situation that could make that easier to accomplish, created a fear in me that I had to work hard mentally to overcome.
The fact that this trip included our daughter and her family, including our three precious granddaughters (and our daughter and son-in-law are pretty precious also!) and the risk involved for them to fly across the country, at times had me almost immobilized with fear. Thinking about how I was able to overcome that fear and fly on a pleasure trip put me face-to-face with the only possible answer; trust.
This is not the first time that I have thought about all that is required to get us from one city to another or one country to another by air. There are many facets to the miracle of air travel. There are also many facets to us traveling safely by car, or even remaining safe in many situations. I chronicled this lesson in my recently published book, Changing Me from the Inside Out: My Hurricane Irma Experience on St. Maarten Experience and Other Life Changing Events; available from Amazon.
Many of us go about our normal days not aware at all of the trust required to do so. Trust that we will not have a health event and crash while driving a car, or that we will not face a car traveling the wrong way on our side of the road. Trust that our car will not catch on fire as some we see have, or that our plane will not blow up from a terrorist bomb. Trust that the food we eat and the liquids we drink haven’t been laced with poison by someone determined to have their moment of fame, unconcerned about not just our safety but their own. Trust that our banks will protect our money. And yes, on some level even trust that most of the politicians we elect to serve us will eventually stop being self-serving and put the good of the country and its collective people ahead of party agendas.
Trust is like Faith; it should not be blind. When trusting others, we need to do our due diligence and assure that they are trustworthy. When putting our trust in an airline carrier, we need to not put our lives in the hands of one with a bad safety record. When the engine light comes on (again!) in our fairly new car, we need to take it in to be diagnosed and repaired. It might even be appropriate to cancel any non-urgent flights if work stoppages result in no TSA agents or unsafe numbers of Air Traffic Controllers at a particular airport.
Our experience and our trust should tell us that we are so interdependent in the U.S. that the government shutdown cannot go on indefinitely. Trust that even with many indications otherwise, that we have enough politicians with their own vested interest in resolving the political differences between the parties to become solutions-oriented soon.
Trust in our collective ability to remove them if they don’t.
Contact your representatives and see which side of the vote they fell on. There have been two votes to pay government employees during the shut down. All republicans voted to pay them their wages, all but 6 democrats voted against paying them, and with the newly elected democrat majority in congress, they won the vote and folks didn’t get paid. It’s ALWAYS the democrats fault. (and btw, I’m not a republican.)
Thank you for your comments. While this post was in no way intended to be a political statement, I understand that political implications can be deducted from it. My focus is not the politics, but the realities of how this situation affects all of us, and my gratitude for those who came to work in spite of not being paid.