Government shutdown: What can you do?
OKLAHOMA CITY – The longer this shutdown drags on, the angrier Americans are getting at Congress.
While many feel helpless, there are things you can do now to make your voice heard.
The government’s last shutdown was 17 years ago.
While this isn’t the first time the government has come to a halt, it isn’t a common situation in other countries.
Political science experts say a shutdown is unique to our system of government.
They say while it is a negative thing, it doesn’t mean our system of government should be changed.
Tim Riley said, “We’ve really got a reverse process going on right now. Government is not working on our behalf.”
As the shutdown continues, Oklahomans are growing more frustrated.
Peter Werneke said, “I think it’s just a bunch of old people acting like toddlers, really.”
Imani Baker, whose dad is a federal employee, said, “Personally, I think it’s just a huge mess.”
A mess that doesn’t seem to happen anywhere else, except a shutdown in Australia in the 1970′s.
In that case, the queen stepped in and the entire Parliament was dismissed and new elections were held.
But political experts, like Dr. Jan Hardt with UCO, say that wouldn’t happen here because of the checks and balances we learned about in school.
Hardt said, “I think it’s our particular system that we have divided government between the House and the Senate and the president and that causes that to happen.”
Hardt says when it comes to a resolution, protests and petitions aren’t bad but if you really want your voice heard, you need to take different action.
She said, “Really, the best way is to talk to the member of Congress directly.”
Having worked in a congressional office, Hardt says those politicians really do take note.
She said, “We would be recording yeses and nos and where people stood on the issue.”
History shows Americans tend to forget; however, what happens in the next few days could play a big role in the next election.
Riley said, “Our society moves so fast I think people will forget and I hope when the next elections come they do remember.”
Hardt suggests contacting your representative by phone or email.
For a list of Oklahoma Congressmen, visit the Govtrack website.