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Dava Stein: America is hurting its own

I truly do not understand the reasons behind the current shutdown of our government.

It seems that the only species that actually attacks one of their own is man, but that usually involves crime and war.  So are the Republicans in the House at war with the people in the United States? It seems that way to me, because hard-working Americans are getting hurt. Why?

The last time we had a shutdown was just before I was born, when we lived in Cincinnati and my dad worked for the Centers for Disease Control. Even though he was working to save many lives, he was considered non-essential and didn’t get paid. It hurt my family, since many government workers live paycheck to paycheck.

Now they are doing it again, and this time someone I met seems to be the most responsible.  My mom, my sister and I have a condition called Sticklers syndrome, which eventually causes blindness. In 2003, 10 years ago, I was in Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati for eye surgery to try to prevent my retinas from detaching in the future, and Congressman John Boehner came to visit the hospital. I don’t remember much except that he had a deep voice and smiled a lot.

The other day, I heard that families of soldiers that died were not going to get death benefits, due to the shutdown. I was saddened and appalled. I decided to do something about it.

I had worked last spring in the Florida House of Representatives as a messenger and made almost $200, which I put aside for college. I was trying to find out where I could send it to help the mom of JJ Collins, a Marine who died earlier this month while the family was being denied death benefits. That was money to help bury their son, who made the ultimate sacrifice, but they weren’t going to get the money, so I was going to send mine to her.

In my economics class I learned about the International Monetary Fund and its managing director, Christine Lagarde. She spoke at Georgetown University the other day and spoke about how our country has an obligation to the world economy to do the right thing. I hope that she sits down with President Obama and Speaker Boehner to give them the benefit of her knowledge.

I don’t know what the future holds for me. I am considering going into politics so I can help my community and my country, but this whole shutdown thing has made me think for a moment if I should.

My mom lost her eyesight about six years ago and, despite the surgeries when I was younger, one of my retinas already became detached. The doctors put it back in place, but I lost some eyesight, and I don’t know if the surgery will hold forever. Some things you just can’t fix.

But I want to do my part to right at least this wrong, and maybe I will get more involved with government and stop this from happening again.

I’d like that.

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