Heading into Christmastime last year, no one really expected a long government shutdown. Sure, we had grown wearily accustomed to things shutting down for a day or two here and there- but a five-week shutdown was as unthinkable as someone saying windmills cause cancer. Then, the five-week shutdown happened and everyone agreed that there was no chance that another shutdown could possibly occur. Of course, everyone said there was no way a movie about someone having a crush on an overgrown guppy would be taken seriously but then The Shape of Water was nominated for thirteen Oscars. My point is, everything seems to have gone a little crazy. So, we shouldn’t rest assured that varying forms of legislation have been introduced that would make it hard-to-impossible for a repeat shutdown event. None of them have advanced yet in Congress.
Now, warnings are starting to leak out that another shutdown could be in the works for October. Of course, it is way too early to say anything for sure now. However, various White House officials have begun making ominous threats that if they don’t get their way on budget negotiations, they will fall back on sequestration (remember that?) or just shut down the government entirely.
Hopefully, like a lot in Washington D.C., it’s all just talk. But if there is one thing we learned from the last shutdown, it’s that we no longer have the luxury of blanket dismissals of things once considered unthinkable.
Luckily, we have learned from the last shutdown. If another shutdown occurs, there are a few steps for you to take now:
- Set up a personal strike fund: If you are able to, set up a separate bank account and put extra cash in there every pay period. As we have a few months between now and the end of the appropriations, you will have time to build up a little financial insurance fund. The worst-case scenario is that everyone in D.C. acts semi-rationally and keeps the government open leaving you will a few extra bucks to spend on anyone who happens to have a birthday in October (Full disclosure: I have a birthday in October).
- Follow NTEU Chapter 23 on Facebook: During the last shutdown, most employees’ ability to get information was limited. To fill the gap, I posted information regarding the shutdown, deals offered by businesses to furloughed employees, tips, and more. If you have a Facebook page, don’t wait until later to follow us. Do it now. Don’t even read #3 until you’ve hit that little ‘Like’ button. You’ve already followed 28 separate pages about cats and one dedicated solely to the oddly specific genre of Game of Thrones/Lord of the Rings/The Smurfs mash-up memes. So, you might as well follow a page that will help you out.
- Get involved: We are painfully aware how much the events in Washington affect us. NTEU is a large and powerful organization and offers us many opportunities to advance our cause. Last time, we organized a rally, lobbed legislators, sent emails, organized a letter writing campaign and more. Of course, you don’t have to devote your entire life to the fight- there are still all those Game of Thrones/Lord of the Rings mash up memes to follow- but you can make a call or send an email. If you don’t stand up for yourself, who will listen to you? I’ve been organizing a few things. So, reach out to me if you’re interested. You know what a good way to get ahold of me is? The NTEU Chapter 23 Facebook page.
Hopefully, in the end there won’t be another shutdown. But if there is, I want us to be prepared. I have no idea if an era of drawn out shutdowns are the new normal. Really, nothing is normal anymore. They serve Burger King at the White House and there is that Masked show on TV where they put singers in alien costumes and make you guess who it is. So, everything more than a little out of whack. We need to prepare ourselves accordingly.
Primetime TV right here. I wonder how Left Shark feels about this.