For the last few months, I have drafted numerous letters to both my Senate and House representatives but never sent them; the words always seem elusive and I don’t feel I can fully articulate my point. I still don’t feel I can fully articulate my point, but, here it goes.
Last night the United States government shut down. I am sure all of you back home knew this sooner than we did and have had far more coverage on what this actually means, how long it is expected to last, etc. While the immediate shut down doesn’t seem as if it will effect Peace Corps Volunteers currently in the field, if the shutdown were continue for an extended period of time, well then we’ll see.
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, we are sent to developing nations to help find solutions to improve the quality of life of our host community. We work in sectors of health, business, and agroforestry to name a few, and ultimately, the goal is to develop the next generation of leaders for the countries in which we serve. We work with governmental delegations, small non-governmental organizations, and day to day citizens to increase health levels, education levels and spur on general civic service in these nations. Many of my fellow Volunteers do this with limited access to water, power, internet, or any modern day conveniences around them. Luckily, Shaun and I have water, power, and internet, but, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other creature comforts I don’t long for. We chose to serve, and, we continue to serve in the middle of a shutdown.
You know who else chose to serve? Our elected representatives in both the House and the Senate. They serve in their home states and DC, I am sure with access to running (hot) water, reliable electricity, Wi-Fi smartphone devices, and so on. But, how are they really serving? They are serving us, Peace Corps Volunteers and Americans alike, by again weakening the economy, causing investors to question the value of US stocks and currencies, all leading to an again damaged economy that surely doesn’t spur on job growth for when we get back home. They are serving their own selfish interest of thinking they can ‘stick it’ to Obama, when really, they are screwing over the American people.
A fellow Volunteer that arrived in Cameroon the same day as we did is working in their village to set up health care mutual funds so that families can access health care when they need it. I, too, would like to access health care in America when I get home in case I need it. Thank you, President Obama, for making young, not rich, families like mine and Shaun’s be able to access health care. But thank you Republican House of Representatives for attacking the economy and acting like a spoiled brat that didn’t get their way, all because I now have health care when I get home.
Step off of Capital Hill and realize that you have over 8,000 Peace Corps Volunteers serving to do their part in making a difference. Now do your part. Our next generation of leaders need you to stop acting selfishly and start actually serving the American people. Look at America, we all serve; teachers, little league coaches, food bank volunteers, post office staff, non-profit board members, librarians…while some receive salaries and some don’t the culture of service is evident. Now, please, stop playing these games that deflate the US economy and recognize you ran for office, and were voted into office, to serve.