NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

October 11, 2013

Government shutdown punishing the innocent

Despite what has to be the most beautiful of months so far this year, there is a sourness among the states we call united.

Except for local distractions, it presses upon us from our nation’s Capitol, but temporary escape is possible.

We seized such a moment in Amesbury on Sunday past by taking advantage of the launching of a whaleboat and to cheer a new age for Lowell’s Boat Shop.

How different an experience that was from what others were facing in national parks across the nation where those employed by federal government were meeting face to face with ordinary citizens.

From coast to coast and from border to border, they are obeying orders from on high to block entrance to federal parks.

There have been some exceptions — allowing war veterans to visit what has become almost sacred ground in Washington for one.

That was permitted only after former servicemen, some in wheelchairs, just kept on coming.

But not being able to visit places like Plum Island’s bird sanctuary because of political outfall?

We send representatives down to Washington to protect our values.

It is called representative government, dearly sought, painfully won and sporadically responsive to agendas of those with competing political philosophies.

In Congress, however, stubborn individualism doesn’t get you very far.

There are two overriding contesting voices.

The one would keep federal involvement in our lives at a level considerably less intrusive than would the other.

That other, however, has succeeded over the long reach of history to expand federal presence far beyond the vision of our nation’s founders.

It has had its stumbles along the way, but it was born of great necessity during the years prior to our Second World War and with fits and starts it has brought us to where we are today.

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