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OPINION - We can do this without government help

by Chris Conley

NEWS BLOG (WSAU) A few weeks ago I visited The Dells of Eau Claire. It’s part of the Marathon County parks system. It was a gray, rainy day. Because the weather was bad, the park was empty. There was no county staff around either. Just me. I walked down to the waterfall, then up the gravel hiking trail to the bridge. I was there for about a half-hour, then I drove home.

My point is, I used the park on my own without any help. I certainly didn’t need any help from a government employee.

If I was in Washington DC, I could similarly visit the Lincoln Memorial without any help. If I was up north, I could also visit the Apostle Island on my own too. Or in Minnesota, I could pay respects to a fallen loved one at Fort Snelling National Cemetery without assistance. So why are these sites closed because of the government shutdown? The answer is optics and inconvenience. The administration wants to show us that real, actual things are closed. And they want the stories of school groups and veterans being turned away from the National Mall to demonstrate that real, average people are impacted. The Honor Flight veterans who bypassed the barricades at the World War II memorial demonstrated how much of an overreach this is.

Here’s my challenge to you. Imagine for a moment that you were cut off from the news media – you literally didn’t know what was going on. Would you have been aware that the federal government was shut down? I wouldn’t. But I live my personal life with minimal day-to-day contact with the federal government. The shutdown hasn’t effected me at all. I think most people are in the same boat. Food for thought: the more the shutdown does affect you, the more dependent you are.

Chris Conley