Government shutdown a time to come together

Staff Writer
The Destin Log

It’s official, the current government shutdown has become the longest shutdown in U.S. history. Thousands of government employees are being required to work without pay. Sure, they’ll get back pay but who knows when that will happen?

Anyone else find it ironic that the Coast Guard, one of the key branches in protecting our border, isn’t currently being funded because of a shutdown concerning border security?

Security at airports is lagging as TSA employees continue to call-out. I can’t say I blame them, but at the same time their work is vital, as are thousands of the other jobs that aren’t being funded right now.

Nancy Pelosi asked President Trump to postpone his State of the Union Address so he forced her to postpone her scheduled trip to Afghanistan. I have to admit, I chuckled as I read his letter to her. The sarcasm and pettiness in his words is hilarious.

But jokes aside, many employees live paycheck to paycheck, so what do they do when the paycheck isn’t coming in? Some are finding temporary jobs to help make ends meet, while others are rationing their necessary medications that they can’t afford now or starting GoFundMe pages.

There have been a lot of businesses that have tried to do their part to help the government employees during this hard time. Cellphone companies like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile have all said they will waive late fees for workers impacted by the shutdown, and will work with them on payment plans. While banks like Chase, Citi, American Express, and Capital One are also trying to provide payment options for employee’s loans and mortgages.

I always appreciate the camaraderie and generosity humans and companies show during disasters and hard times. Like when Hurricane Michael hit our area and Airbnb offered victims free places to stay and hundreds of local organizations and businesses worked together to provide assistance and relief to those who lost everything. It’s been three months since that storm, but I still constantly see fundraisers and posts from people taking supplies over there. Neighbor helping neighbor. That’s how it’s supposed to be.

But there’s one thing I’ve seen that bothers me. There have been many celebrities who have put in their two cents about the shutdown and how upset it makes them. While there have been some who have put their money where their mouth is and helped in some way, a lot of them haven’t done anything. Are they obligated to help? Certainly not, that’s their prerogative. But I think that if you have the means and ability to help, and you honestly feel that passionate about an issue then you should be doing whatever you can to help. Whether that’s donating time or money, adopting a family for Christmas or serving at a homeless shelter, you can always do something.

Sheri Kotzum is a reporter for The Destin Log. She can be reached at or 315-4353.