The little boys and girls in the U.S. Congress have demonstrated all too well how their childish, self-serving, irresponsible and callous behaviors have adversely affected the lives and spirit of American citizens and the rest of the world. 

The partial government shutdown shut out various government workers and recipients of government programs from receiving salaries and benefits.  Was there ever a better example of bullying than what went on during the political fighting in Washington, D.C. – bullying that threatened to cause a complete government shutdown?  Bullying “involves repeated acts over time, attempting to create or enforce one person’s (or group’s) power over another person (or group).”  Bullying always causes misery for somebody.  Can I get an amen?

A quote associated with the Statue of Liberty says: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” (From the New Colossus poem written in 1883 by Emma Lazarus,1849–87; the complete poem is mounted inside the lower level of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.)  The quote does NOT say: Give me your huddled masses so that they can be made tired, poor and yearning to be free in the USA. 

Douglas Greenaway, president of the National Women, Infants and Children Association (WIC), said, “This [shutdown] has created a level of uncertainty in the lives of already vulnerable families.” 

WIC also offers access to food and formula.  The potential and predicted defunding of WIC makes mothers worry about the availability of food and benefits being shut off. 

The loss or threatened loss of funding for Head Start in many states meant that children would be forced to remain at home rather than attend Head Start programs.  This made parents agonize over finding babysitters, finding a way to pay babysitters or taking time off from work and risking the loss of their jobs. 

Head Start provides educational and nutritional support to children from families whose household income is at or below 100 percent of the federal poverty line, so the additional cost of babysitters would be catastrophic. 

I just touched on a couple of the ramifications of the partial shutdown.  Parks, zoos, museums, the military, etc. were also affected.  Thank goodness, as the bewitching hour for a U.S. debt default approached on Oct. 16, members of Congress arrived at an agreement that ended the partial government shutdown and saved the U.S. from the default. 

One only hopes that members of Congress will reassess their past behavior and shut up as far as the bullying the world witnessed.

Peggy Tarr

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...