THE BLOG
10/15/2013 12:22 pm ET Updated Dec 14, 2013

Helpless in a Hopeless Country

October 9, I received a call from my father who's worked for TSA for nearly 11 years. He's been warned that his Friday paycheck may reflect seven days of work instead of 14 -- the number of days he actually worked. He goes on to tell me that they are mandated to work and to do it for free. I get it, he's not the only one, it's just that he's my father and the effects of the shutdown instantly became very personal and alive to me.

According to an article by Allison Kilkenny for The Nation, workers from government agencies such as NASA, TSA, Capitol Police and other law enforcement agencies are expected to continue working without compensation.

Another recent article by Jim Snyder and Jeanna Smialek for Bloomberg cites The Office of Management and Budget stating, "the two-week paychecks for many civilian employees on Oct. 11 will reflect only the work they did in the last week of September, before the shutdown."

Barely a half hour after the call from my father, I spotted a shared Facebook article from a friend entitled "Congress Still Gets Paid During the Shutdown- Here's How Much". I'm passionately curious and I absolutely needed to know. My voracious pre- dinner appetite dissipated. Did you know that the 27th Amendment prevents any change in pay for the members of Congress until the beginning of the following term? Did you know that the base salary for a member of Congress is $174,000? That's right, each member of Congress earns an annual salary of at least $174,000. The article describes a website www.congressstillgetspaid.com, created by Steve Nowicki and two co-workers from Saatchi&Saatchi, an advertising firm not associated with the website. Through simple calculations, Nowicki and his team determine exactly how much Congress continues to earn since the beginning of the shutdown at Midnight on October 1. As of 10:47 EST on October 9, the 532 members of Congress earned $2,268,250 and counting....

What can I do right now? My mind drifts to a documentary I recently watched called Vanishing of the Bees and images of French farmers marching against the use of Bayer pesticides which they believed to be one of the major sources of Colony Collapse Disorder. My mind drifted to these images because they won, they facilitated change through organized, passionate protests. It's the only thing I can think of, but who will join me? As I continue to scroll through Twitter and seemingly useless information about Kris Jenner and Spring 2014 fashion trends, I am made helpless. I reach out and ask my Facebook community what we can do. They concede to the same robbing feeling and liken their disposition to that of famed Grumpy Cat. Without exerting the tiniest mobilization towards change, I am rendered helpless in a hopeless country.

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