I woke up and checked our bank account before I checked the headlines. Sure enough, I saw the same thing I see twice a month, every month: Deposit – DFAS-CLEVELAND NAVY ACT.
The government may have shut down, but the 1.4 million active duty military members got paid.
So why do I feel like I just had dinner with someone who stiffed the waitress, screamed at a secretary, dissed a grandma?
Surely we military families ought to be jubilant. The President personally promised that ongoing operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere will continue and the U.S. will ensure those in harm's way have what they need.
We military families ought to be feeling that our servicemembers are valued and respected. We ought to feel that our lawmakers and government officials treasure the sacrifices of the military every bit as much as they say.
I don’t know about you, but in my head I keep hearing my dad telling me to pay attention to how people treat the less powerful people around them. "Don't judge people by what they say," my dad once told me. "Pay the most attention to what they do."
And I keep thinking about what this government is doing. Because even though active duty military will continue to be paid, 800,000 government workers won’t.
Half of those furloughed work with the military. These are the Marty Bodrogs of the world working in the Pentagon to make ships safe and administer housing contracts. These are the people who research treatments for PTSD to return combat vets to normal life. These are people who offer classes to help young families prepare for their babies. These are people who update websites. These are folks who work at the commissary so they can buy Cheerios and chicken breasts and fill their Chevys with gas.
These are normal people. These are normal people are going to suffer because Congress didn’t do it’s job. That is a hard behavior to swallow from our government.
Because in the military, we value those who get the job done. I take that back. Value Scmalue.
In the military, we demand that people get the job done. Adapt and overcome is a way of life. In the military, you make it work because so many people are counting on you to make it work. Just like the Blue Star Families book says, Everyone Serves.
So it is strange to wake up and realize that your employer does not feel quite the same way.
I don’t know what to do about that feeling. Partly, I find myself embarrassed. How could our government be so dismissive of our government workers? What does that say about them?
Partly, I’m more wary than ever. Because even though Congress came through with a military paycheck this time, sequestration marches on and on and on. What does that mean for us?
Leadership guru John C. Maxwell once said, “In the end, people are persuaded not by what we say, but by what they understand.”
And this government shutdown may make us understand those things we don’t really want to know.
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