Tim Kaine was on Morning Joe just a few minutes ago telling us about the impact of the government shut down on places you just wouldn’t think about. Senator Kaine got much communication from people on Chincoteague Island, over on the Eastern Shore over the shutdown. Why on earth? That’s a conservative area in the middle of nowhere, isn’t it?
Chincoteaque relies heavily on tourism and that tourism comes from Wallops Island where NASA is based, Wallops Island National Wildlife Refuge, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, and Assateague Island National Seashore. 97% of NASA is closed. The other areas are totally closed. In essence, there is little reason during the shutdown to go to Chincoteague and the residents who rely on tourism and associated activities like fishing are suffering. Their economy which only has a finite part of the year to prosper has dried up.
Often, those of us who live in the DC Metro area see things through myopic vision–that which is right around us. Other parts of the state and country rely heavily on the government being open for employment, services, security and recreation. These people have already been hard hit by sequestration. Now that the government is totally closed, they are being hit even harder.
The banana republicans think this is what their very limited base wants? Perhaps that is true. I would have to say that base is limited in vision, is lacking in understanding outside their own geo-ethnocentrism, and their understanding of actually of how government really works. The Give-me-my-Way approach to governance hurts many Virginians and many Americans that we obviously are overlooking.
Thanks to Senator Tim Kaine for bringing areas like Chincoteague Island to our attention. While piece-meal funding of government might help these people avoid economic disaster in a remote area, do we really get to chose our favorites to save from shutdown? Do Congressmen and women get to pick their pet projects like the WWII memorial where they can put in a cameo appearance with the WWII vets? Should I keep my favorite parks open while closing others? Should we open NIH while shutting down Bonneville Dam along the Columbia River near Portland, Oregon? How about WIC and food stamps? People don’t really need to eat, do they? Babies don’t need milk. How about those people who are already down to the bare minimum?
Obviously, picking and choosing our favorite government subsets to fund is unfair and should not be considered. We need to fully fund the government and get on with the business of the nation.