Today…the federal government shut down (again).
First of all, a government shutdown is nothing new. This is the 18th shutdown in the last 37 years.
The average shutdown is about a week and the longest was the most recent, which lasted 21 days between 1995 and 1996 during Bill Clinton’s first term. These shutdowns happen no matter which party is sitting in the Oval Office or who is controlling Congressional Houses.
But because of this shutdown, there are 800,000 people furloughed at their homes, trying to pay their bills, 100% at the mercy of the 535 folks sitting in Washington posturing their next political move.
That’s right, it’s not about what’s best for the people. It’s about what is best for their career and the next election.
If it were about “the people”, they wouldn’t have ruined so many vacations by closing every federal monument and national park. Imagine if you had taken your week of vacation to take the family for a visit to the beautiful Yellowstone National Park. After months of planning and waiting, reservations all set, the gates are locked.
Now you’re stranded. You relied on the government to make something available to you when you needed it the most. Obviously, a big mistake.
Because of the government shutdown, large swaths of land which are supposed to be maintained for “public use” are closed to…well…the public. This time, it’s not because of your safety, but just so the egos in Washington can watch out for your best interest.
This is your chance to realize your best interest is to wake up to a single notion. The federal government stands for FAILURE.
It’s not just this recent shutdown. The federal government has its hands in almost 40% of the economy. Aside from its spending of over 9% of the total economy, the federal government is also deep in bed in key sectors, including; agriculture via Farm Bills, food and drugs via FDA and Food Stamps, banking and finance via the 6 agencies for oversight, rental real estate via Section 8 housing, cell phones via the LifeLine program and almost a dozen major undeclared wars since World War II.
It would be easy to name billions, or trillions, of dollars of fraud and waste that goes into each and every one of these agencies and programs. Including the trillions of dollars of promises made into the future that they can’t mathematically keep (it may even be hard for them to print money fast enough to meet the demand).
So, that’s where we stand. We are 300 million Americans making plans to improve our own future, with heavy reliance on a federal government that is known for failure.
What can you do?
That’s a more difficult question. With the ever-increasing reach of the government, moving off the grid is a tempting option.
It’s not a resilient solution.
Instead, that ignores the significant increase in the standard of living that we’ve enjoyed the previous three generations. Resilience is the solution.
Resilience, by definition, is the ability to recover quickly from difficulties. Or as Andrew Zolli mentioned in his book, how things bounce back.
The first step of resilience is waking up to the reality that others will likely fail you. A dependence on the system, the government, or people not intimately connected to your purpose will always result in disaster.
With that knowledge, you then must begin preparing yourself to bounce back from an inevitable failure.
You do this by reviewing your sources of energy, food and water to find the weak points. Using current technology, you can make several small changes to enable you and your family to bounce back. Sure, there are lessons we can learn from previous generations about resilience, but we can do better.
But it’s not about separating ourselves from the systems. It’s about leveraging things like solar, vertical gardening, aquaponics, and water purification methods to position you and your family to bounce back quicker. Previous generations knew a lot about being independent. Resilient communities are stronger.
PS…In all irony, the statistics from this report are from Wikipedia. It’s because these wonderful federal government workers are redirecting all traffic to special shutdown pages. Yes, even those static reports that just sit on a server…blocked. They really want to make sure you know that this shutdown is “to benefit the people”. In another side note, did anyone else notice how many buildings had real signs that were specific for the government shutdown? They spent money on those, your money.