On the heels of a cancelled school trip to Mammoth Cave, 9-year-old Meredith Gold fired off an e-mail to three congressmen from her home state of Kentucky asking that they get their act together. Mammoth Cave is a national park, and due to the government shutdown, it is closed to the public.
Expressing her disappointment, Gold wrote:
"Some kids may not be able to go to places like these unless they go there with their class. Also my family loves going to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We were going to go there next week, but now maybe not."
She speaks the truth. Attempting to encourage compromise, Gold continued: "At my school when we get into disagreements we compromise, work as a team, use leadership, have a positive attitude, and respect each other. I encourage you to do this in Washington, D.C."
The shutdown's repercussions go far beyond cancelled school trips. Hundreds of thousands of workers are furloughed and agencies are losing large quantities of staff.
As Jon Stewart pointed out last night , what upset the media, and specifically the Fox News crowd concerning the sequester, was the cancelled White House tours, not the higher loss of work that resulted, nor the cuts made to unemployment benefits, housing aid, and educational programs.
Will this email sway legislators? Who knows, but it's worth a try. Regardless, it says something about a culture that is more inclined to hear the cries of a schoolgirl who missed a school trip rather than the cries of children and their families in vulnerable circumstances, with educational and employment opportunities seemingly hardly in sight.