Wracking my brain as to what I can do to support the good people working for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), during this ongoing government shutdown. They are working very hard for all of us, literally keeping our economy afloat, but they have not been paid in several weeks.
As someone who frequently flies between the islands, TSA workers are the most visible of all the federal workers impacted by the insanity that envelopes the White House.
The Mad King wants his wall and is determined to let nothing stand in his way toward getting it. He forgets that he reigns over a democracy with a Constitution that shares power between the executive and legislative branches. He forgets that governing requires the juggling of priorities. And most importantly he forgets that he is not the center of the universe, and that his actions have real impacts on real people. Either he forgets, or he simply does not care.
To end the government shutdown and return at least a semblance of normality to government operations, Congressional leaders must find a compromise that allows our king to “save face” and look and feel like a winner. It is clear that he will remain firmly stuck in his position, regardless of the collateral damage to working men and women, until he is provided with an escape route that he can claim as a victory.
So in a nutshell (pun intended), leadership in Congress must give him a victory without giving him his wall.
Perhaps a “blue ribbon commission” whose job is to evaluate and make recommendations on the wall, before additional funding is made available? Perhaps a process that acknowledges the many very real challenges faced by the “immigration issue”, that explores all of the various options and tools available to deal with that issue (including the wall), before additional funds are made available? Perhaps … you get the picture.
There are ways to deal with the immigration issue, that may satisfy the president but still fall short of the unnecessary, unrealistic, impractical, ineffective and very expensive wall. I am hopeful that there are smarter, more creative people than I who can figure this out, and in fact are seeking such a path that allows the proverbial “win win” to occur.
TSA workers should not have to pay the price for the inflated and or bruised egos of people who have never experienced what most would consider a “real job.”
These good folks simply want to do their jobs, pay their bills and enjoy life.
Everyone I know has bills to pay on the first and the 15th of the month, and everyone I know would be stressed to the max if their paychecks or retirement checks or their Social Security stopped coming in the mail. Our friends and neighbors working at the airport are no different. Their children need school supplies, their plumbing springs a leak, their cars breakdown and their landlords need rent like the banks need their mortgages paid. And yes, credit scores decline and take years to resolve or correct.
We as a community need to do something for the good folks that are going to work without pay, and thus allowing all of us to go to work and keep our economy going. Imagine the price we would all be paying if the airport closed down due to flight safety concerns.
We need to do more than just say “thank you” as we traverse the security line. I thought about bringing goodies, or treats or asking my wife to bake them a cake — until visions of Marie Antoinette flashed through my mind.
Perhaps the visitor industry can pony up some “staycation” rooms at the various resorts, as a special treat for these special people? Perhaps those of you who own restaurants could drop by gift certificates so they can take their spouse or special friend out to dinner, even while the bills continue to pile up?
Or a spa treatment, or even lawn care or a car wash…or whatever. Any meaningful gesture I am sure would be welcome, and would brighten the day for a hard working and unpaid employee.
It goes without saying that the Kauai County Council and the mayor should declare a “We love our federal workers day” and issue a resolution and a proclamation, even though as I write this the gesture rings hollow and without substance.
Bottom line is we need to show our appreciation in some tangible and meaningful way, each of us as individuals and as a community. What’s happening to the TSA folks and many other federal workers is just wrong, and we as a community must shoulder some responsibility for it.
Gary Hooser formerly served in the state Senate, where he was majority leader. He also served for eight years on the Kauai County Council and was former director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control. He serves presently in a volunteer capacity as board president of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA) and is executive director of the Pono Hawaii Initiative.