Unexpected Consequences of the Government Shutdown: National Archives Closed

The government shutdown was easily preventable. Whether blamed on legislation or on one party or another, the whole thing is an imbecilic and catastrophic effect of the brinkmanship between the President and the houses of Congress. There are enough complications in the matter that no “good guy” appears.
in all of it. However, there are representatives of the United States people involved. I don’t care about their “big business” connections. I care presently about whether I can run my business and whether I can get to my needed resources to get my business done.

I am a genealogist. Without the National Archives open, I cannot do my work, specifically if I need a historical naturalization, it is nice and locked up. No one seems to have access if no one is working there. Conservation is not happening. Cataloging and all those things that the government does to attempt to have free and open access to public information stops. The government is, of essence, breaking some of its own laws without sufficient access to documents allowed by the Freedom of Information Act.

Case in point: Yesterday was the first time I tried to contact the National Archives since the shutdown. Although the phone line at the Chicago Branch rang, no one answered. I tried the National line and heard a voice mail about their being shut down due to the government shutdown. It’s so nice to hear that the nation’s archives, as formed as part of the Constitution, is non-essential. Isn’t that pretty?

I tried contacting my house representative first seeing as there were more representatives, maybe I might get a tiny touch more time than the Senator’s offices allowed. I found out who my representative was and emailed Jan Schakowsky.

From there, I looked up my senators. Mark Kirk and Richard “Dick” Durbin. Mark Kirk had someone there to help me find his email form and to allow me to voice a concern. Dick Durbin’s office may as well have not existed. His pre-recorded message indicated that his office shut down. So he considers himself “non-essential” personnel? *stunned silence for about three seconds* HOW DARE HE! I am one of his represented constituency. That means that he should ALWAYS be open and available. If not in an emergency, then when? There was an emergencies only line available and I called that and left a message. Apparently he does not want contact. If you are representing ME, you had BETTER want my contact and be willing to respond and to reply. No matter how well-connected in Washington you are, it does not matter if you do not pay attention to, listen, and field the concerns of your represented people.

Is he just a crony for policy, or does he truly consider himself “non-essential?” I have no problems making sure that he is non-essential if he does not consider contact with his constituency of enough influence to have even one person to staff a phone or field an email.

Whether or not Dick Durbin is attempting to make a point with shutting down his office in showing what the government looks like without workers, he is allowing the idea that he does not want to work for me. So fine, don’t work for me. I’ll find someone who will.

As for Mr. Kirk, he kept his office open and some nice people took my comments today. As for Jan Schakowsky, I called her today, left some contact info, and expect to hear back before the end of the day.  Whether I get SPAMMED or not, at least there is someone there to work for me instead of packing up and forgetting who got him or her to Washington in the first place.

And no, I have no problems in performing daily emails, phone calls, and even writing physical letters. I have no problems in organizing and going to their offices if necessary.

Messing with how I make a living and how I feed my family when you supposedly serve me makes me upset enough to do something about it. I would not be an activist if not driven to it.


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