Mother Nature didn’t shut down

According to my calendar, we’re entering another week of government shutdowns…and it doesn’t appear as if there is an end in sight. After this weekend’s early blizzard in the upper Midwest, I have a few things that are on my mind.

Apparently Mother Nature didn’t get the memo that there was a government shutdown. In fact, Mother Nature decided to show many just who is in charge…and it was a hard lesson learned. They estimate that as many as 100,000 cattle have died from the results of the massive blizzard that took many by surprise.

Yes, snow in October is expected. But this was more than snow.

And where is the assistance? The websites of information that could be used to help? Oh, sorry, didn’t you hear about the furlough?

But don’t worry, while the government is shutdown, hosting its own two-year-old tantrum, claiming that no one wants to play fair, workers that aren’t guaranteed pay are pitching in to help, organizations are offering services to connect those that have lost cattle and those that have found cattle, setting up sites for information and tips on how to make sure your losses are reported.

At a time when assistance from elected officials could be felt the most, there is no one there to answer the phone.

#DearCongress: Mother Nature is not on furlough. Farmers and ranchers are not on furlough. Emergency workers are not on furlough. It’s time to do what you were elected to do…grow up and represent our country, lead us to a better future, not down a path of destruction.

On the plus side, perhaps this shutdown will lead many to decide that it is time to step out of the shadows and start becoming actively involved in our government. Remember, this is our government…not just the government.

Run for office, whether it be township, county commission, school board, state or local offices. Let your voice be heard. Write letters. Make phone calls. It is well past the time to start charting our course back on track.

We cannot go back and change the actions of the past, but we certainly can make sure that our future is a different story.

A government shutdown will not have an impact on Mother Nature. But it can unite us in a drive to finally do what we should have been doing all along…be involved.

Shutdown solutions…from the farm

So, here we are…at the beginning of the much-anticipated government shutdown. Aside from the angst and anger aimed at the powers that be, I have found a few solutions to some of the problems we may be having. Let’s look at them, shall we?

First of all, the fact that we are at this point is sad and telling of the state our country is truly in…there is nothing like having to explain to our children that the government is “shut down” because two sides can’t communicate effectively. Perhaps it’s time to implement that t-shirt you see on Facebook so often – you know, the one where two kids are stuck in the same shirt, until they agree to get along? I’d pay good money to see a few delegates in those!

Second of all, why is it that the people who refuse to work together are those least-affected by the shut-down? Shouldn’t their jobs be the first on the chopping block? Perhaps that would be a little more effective in getting some rational discussions taking place.

But it seems to me that if our government is laying-off workers, we should easily be taking care of a few shortages around the country. And although I completely realize that the workers laid-off are highly skilled and needed, I wish that the lay-offs would hit the lawmakers first. If they did, here are a few of my suggestions:

1) Apparently the shut-down is affecting farm laborers – but if we have laid-off park rangers, etc., then shouldn’t the problem solve itself? I know that sometimes on the farm, our greatest requirement for a skill set is the ability to shovel manure…and I do believe that qualification is easily met.

2) There is a daycare shortage around the country. I’m guessing that many workers could find a part-time gig helping out by watching children. Of course, that may require a little juggling of skills. But really, if you deal with the whining on the Hill successfully, children may be even easier to handle.

3) Government websites are shut-down, as well as Twitter feeds. It’s not as if someone is hired full-time, just to hit refresh on a page…or are they? But really, if we have some web-savvy folks looking for something to do, I have a page or two they could work on.

4) Perhaps some of the USDA folks looking for good, cheap meals to stretch their waning dollars could go eat lunch at a near-by school. It’s supposedly cheap, and although it’s not filling, it definitely won’t make you fat. Just don’t expect to get much out of it, perhaps pack a snack…since those available through the school are now regulated as well.

5) Substitute teachers are needed as well. I’m sure that those workers that are looking for some temporary employment could easily find a subject that would fit.

I’m thinking that next week I may propose a farm shutdown. But unfortunately, the first one affected would be me!