Yep, we got it. It's not the Republicans' fault. And it's not the Democrats' fault. It's clearly someone else's fault. Who that mysterious person or group is will remain enshrouded in your inability to lead effectively. Done. But I'm not writing about the shutdown, because plenty of super-smart people have written about it and offered great suggestions to get this nation through this mess.
And it's too easy to slam Congress. I would love to write about the WWII vets who busted through the barricades at their memorial and lay wreaths beneath the pillar that bears their state's name. It's heart-wrenching to hear about the patients turned away at the NIH for cancer treatment trials and I would love to showcase each of the tiny kids who are missing out on potentially life-saving treatments. But I won't. I'm writing about how we can turn the shutdown around and make our country better in spite of it. And it requires just a bit of tequila.
Here are a few ideas:
1) Fly the American flag. Old Glory isn't meant to stay folded up in your dingy basement. Unfurl her majestic colors and hoist her up to remind everyone that while we are in a time of certain crisis, Democracy will prevail.
2) Check in on your neighbor. Go next door or across the street and make sure the people who live around you are okay. Is your neighbor furloughed? Make a coffee date! Plan a #shutdown party on your street with a signature #shutdown cocktail and make some spiky lemonade from this massive, rotting pile of lemons. And in times like this, the recipe calls for tequila ... just sayin'.
3) REMEMBER this! Americans have a storied history with forgiveness and while we should forgive Miley for that unfortunate and frankly uber-skanky performance, this might be the one time we shouldn't forget. Think long and hard about your role in all this: Did you vote in your last local election or did you blow it off? Did you just fill in the little circles without researching your representative's fiscal stance? When the next election rolls around, vote!
4) Make a donation to a non-profit organization. Non-profits are often staffed by a skeleton crew -- shutdown or no shutdown -- and when the proverbial you know what hits the fan, NP's spring into action. Find out which non-profits are helping veterans, small businesses or young families who are struggling and send a check. Nothing big -- $10 goes a long way.
5) Brush up on your civics. I admit I didn't always pay close attention in Mr. Izzo's civics class and it's catching up to me.
6) Support your local businesses. Local boutiques or specialty stores that line our metaphorical Main Streets always take a big hit during a financial squeeze. Buy local!
7) And to all the good, solid, honest men and women who ever considered running for Congress -- don't worry about the time you inhaled. We won't judge you on that. What we will judge you on is your ability to represent OUR interests. Not yours. Not those of the people who donated the most money to your campaign. Not those of the narrow-minded party leaders who care only about power. This is your opportunity to change the way our nation is run and to make thoughtful decisions about policy and not politics. Policy. Not politics.