Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Closed for Business

The flag continues to fly at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, in spite of the government shutdown.
I'm not a politician. And I don't want to be. But I think Congress could use a few Mom skills.

My kids undoubtedly got tired of hearing my oft-repeated phrase: "Be the bigger person." But I also know for a fact that at least one of them has now appropriated the phrase on occasion.

I'd like to know when the words "negotiate" and "compromise" became dirty words. I am not a fan of the extreme left. But I'm also not a fan of the extreme right. Can't we find a little middle ground?

As the government neared a shutdown a couple of weeks ago, Kansas Big First District Republican Congressman Tim Huelskamp had this to say:
“I’m from a district that pretty much ignores Washington. If you say government is going to shut down, they say, ‘OK, which part can we shut down?’ ”    Tim Huelskamp
I also heard Huelkamp on a newscast, saying that no one in Kansas would notice if the government shut down. I didn't think he was right then. And I don't think he's right today.

Let's ask federal employees in Kansas whether they miss their pay checks. Let's ask the towns where they spend those paychecks whether or not they'll notice an impact if those families curtail their shopping for necessities and entertainment. Will their churches notice if they can no longer put anything in the offering plate?

Does it matter to Kansas farmers that there's no current Farm Bill on the table? Yes, I'd say it matters a lot for decisions about crops and marketing.

As a Kansas Association of Wheatgrowers E-update said last Friday:
Two weeks into the government shutdown, effects are beginning to become noticeable and notable across the agriculture industry. USDA remains virtually shuttered, with only minimal staff. The Department is not issuing regular reports on crop production and exports that are considered essential to the continued functioning of ag markets. Negotiations with European countries on a much-anticipated trade agreement have been put on hold. The shutdown is having a particularly harsh impact on USDA wheat research. Research test plots are unable to be planted and greenhouse work has come to a standstill. 
It may not be the Grand Canyon or the World War II Memorial, but the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge is closed here in my own backyard. The people who work there haven't been paid for two weeks. (They are certainly not alone. But they are some of the people with whom I can put a name and a face to this government shutdown and its impact on communities all over the country.)
I think maybe the politicians need to come and visit here in South Central Kansas. (Of course, we'll have to take down the barricades, but I'm all for that.)
Maybe they should sit on a bench and breathe in some fresh air to clear their minds.
Maybe they need to experience Quivira during the golden hour, just before sunset. Maybe things would look a little different then.
Maybe a Kansas sunset would generate some new ideas or a new attitude - kind of like the light bulb illuminating a cartoon character's thoughts.
Maybe if they then turned a different direction, their perspective would shift and they could see things from another angle. 
And maybe they would soar like birds, instead of plodding along like lumbering Elephants or heehawing Donkeys.
It might be worth a try, don't you think?
(Quivira dusk and sunset photos were all taken in late September, before the government shutdown. I didn't cross the barriers, just so you know.)


  1. Kim,
    It would be nice to have the leaders of our country find middle ground and common sense would be a good place to start.

    The USDA reports seem to be a necessary evil. I think they are factor to how we run our Ag Business. A Livestock Indemnity Program would be nice in the face of Blizzard Atlas. We heard more sad loss stories yesterday.

    1. Continuing to remember South Dakota ranchers and farmers in prayer, Robyn! Common sense seems to be in short supply in Washington. Here's hoping they find some soon!

  2. Since one of our children is a federal employee, we are seeing the impact of the shutdown from an interesting perspective. He isn't worried, just frustrated. Probably the best discussion of this topic occurred Sunday morning in our adult Bible study. The take away was this - we need to pray for our country & our leaders, but most of all we need to pray for God's solution to this problem. Our group took that as our action point for this week & are encouraging everyone we know to join us.

    Thanks for sharing the impact in South Central Kansas. I'm finding the impact in various parts of the country to be quite interesting.

    1. Praying for our country is something we can all do. Thanks for that reminder, Debora!