By Dawn Trottier
We’ve been thinking about nothing else—deep concern over the government shutdown and what might happen. Frustrations are apparent across the U.S. Our national parks had to close, and the veteran community is marching for our rights. Not to mention the Medicare and Medicaid cutbacks and the furloughs that took place. In the last two weeks, it’s seemed like the government is in the beginning stages of menopause, and frankly, it sucks to the bees’ knees. The country’s having hot and cold sweats—who’s right? Who’s wrong? Heck, who cares? I do.
As a non-traditional student and a veteran, it’s frustrating and confusing at the same time. I don’t know how I’m going to pay my bills come November 1st. I don’t even know if my mom will get her medicine. I don’t know how I’m going to feed my family because of the government’s indecision. I live on a very tight budget, just like every student, and being a disabled veteran allows certain benefits that I receive for my service, which pay for my household bills on a month-to-month basis. My education fund pays for food, gas, and other necessities for my household. I have to balance a lot of things in my life, and being disabled doesn’t help the situation. My education is also affected by this shutdown. If I don’t receive my funding next month, I’ll lose study time due to stress, and sleep over worry, not to mention I may have to apply for a part-time job that I have no time for. There’s the added pressure of not knowing how to tell the businesses that provide me with basic services, “Hey, keep my lights on, the government is shut down.” And how do I tell my mother, “Hey, Mom, sorry—no medication today, we can’t afford it. You’re just going to have to wait until the Government opens.” I just don’t know what to tell people. I don’t even make $20,000 a year to live on. I literally live month to month.
Some 1 million veterans and their dependents have enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities over the past four years, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. And this is a force that is going to continue to grow. Many veterans live month to month, and the money they receive is usually used for paying for books and monthly bills while studying. The government shutdown affects not just veterans but the community as well. If a veteran student moves to an area to pursue an education, the city or town will also be affected, because the veteran won’t have the money to spend in their local community. In my circumstance, this affects not only me but others as well, and this will have a ripple effect that may hurt many others.
I have followed all the rules and regulations, and I have maintained what needs to be maintained in my life. However, what I have earned as a veteran is now being ripped off by the government that I served under. I ask, is this fair or just? I’m not here to ramble or to act like I’m special. This post is about what is real and what is taking place across this nation.
Government officials don’t seem to understand what some people are going through, and that just chaps my hide! Last week, I received word that because the government is shut down, funding will be cut for veterans across the nation. I have also received information that the EBT program (food stamps) will be reduced, and what help I already receive will be reduced as well.
To many, this may seem like a rant or rave of frustration, but it’s not. Many veterans are asking, “Why me?” Others are holding tight and trying to ride the wave of the government’s menopausal crisis. I am asking this simple question—If the U.S. is falling behind in education compared to the rest of the world, isn’t education something we should be funding instead of taking away from?
Now that the government is OPEN again, I hope some things will change. It seems to me Lady Justice just took an aspirin to relieve a headache, and that still doesn’t answer any long-term questions or stresses that affect veterans at large.
This shutdown hurts many, and there is no real solution in sight. Certainly, there is more to come in the days ahead. We all need to hang tight and help one another in crises like this. I can only hope that this cycle passes soon. Menopause happens differently for every woman–apparently, it even includes the Statue of Liberty. I would highly suggest that we get a big bottle of aspirin, a heating pad, and a stack of poise and send it to those in charge who think they know how we feel. Welcome to the Change of Life, everyone!