We are the Government

This post is fairly ranty and not just because spellcheck keeps telling me that “ranty” isn’t a real word.  It is a real word and I’m proving it right now, spellcheck.  Question me again and I’ll explain why “stabby” is also a real word.

If you don’t live in America you can skip this post.  If you do, then you’re probably with me when I say that if I could have one minute to have a sensible heart-to-heart with our government I would take a deep breath and smile supportively and then say, “GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, YOU ASSHOLES.  YOU’RE RUINING IT FOR EVERYONE.”

This is not a partisan post and I live in a politically mixed marriage so I have the ability to see both sides.  I’m also a normal human so, additionally, I have the ability to see both sides of two children fighting over the playground slide, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to just sit there while the kids pull out gasoline and proceed to see who can burn the slide down fastest.  In other words, I’m pissed.  I’m seeing friends furloughed.  I’m seeing people I love out of jobs.  I’m seeing people unable to get the basic care needed for their children to survive and thrive.  This shit happens every day, but it’s not every day that it’s the fault of the government shutting down.  I don’t expect that anyone in the government will read this.  They don’t care about little old me and that’s pretty obvious.  I’d like to think that if enough of us banded together they would care, but it’s probably not true.  The whole nation is looking at them with disappointment and they’re still blaming each other.

That’s not what this post is about though.  You can find people complaining about the government all over the web if that’s what you’re looking for.  What I’d like to do instead is to feel a little less helpless about what’s going on.  So instead of pressuring the government to just DO THEIR JOB I’m going to instead write about a few things that we can do to pick up the slack they’ve left behind.

Right now WIC is running out for many, blood drives are being cancelled from lack of workers, people are out of work and worried.  So how can we help?

Call your local food bank, or church to donate.  Food is good, but money is better as they can use it for perishables.  Or donate to Feeding America.  Every dollar pays for 8 meals and you can do it online.  It’s crazy easy.

Donate blood if you can.  Click here to find the nearest place taking donations.

Send grocery cards to people you know who are struggling…particularly those who rely on WIC, or who are government employees who are working without pay, or are furloughed.  If you don’t know of anyone, call your local Women’s Shelter.  There are a lot of people (especially single moms) who rely on the Women’s Shelter for help and they can pass on the cards or diapers and such to people who need them.

Be nice.  This one is hard because right now everyone is a little freaked out about the fact that our Government is basically the equivalent of your dad not coming home because he’s passed out at the bar.  Tensions are high.  It’s easy to blame each other or lash out at whoever we think is the biggest asshole in the asshole parade, but that’s not solving anything.  Take a deep breath, remember that we have each other’s back, and do what you can to help…even if all you can do is pass on a helpful word, or a link to great resources, or a thank you to the men and women who are working without pay or who are sitting at home waiting for this shutdown to end so they can get back to the work that’s piling up.

We’re all in this together.  And in the absence of the government…we are the Government.  

That’s a scary thought.

PS. Any other ways you can think of to help?  Leave it in the comments.  Please try to avoid partisan blamey comments and don’t fall for it if someone leaves one.  The whole point of this is to not get caught up in the same BS the government is fighting about.  We’re better than that.  Or at least, I hope we are.

512 thoughts on “We are the Government

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Gift cards to baby supply stores like BabiesRUs are also good because then parents can get formula, diapers, etc.

  2. Thank you for the suggestions and reminding us what is really important. They should be obvious to us all, but I’m grateful you chose to “rant” about this. I don’t know anyone personally being affected by the furloughs, but I know the phone number to my local food bank and women’s shelter.

  3. We are definitely better than that.


    I mean, the government might be all "I'm going to throw a temper tantrum" at the moment, but Allie Brosch just posted a new dinosaur themed entry. So. That's essentially proof enough that we're better than that.

  4. Well said. Thank you for not pandering to either side and joining in on the blame game.
    Thank you also for thinking of ways to improve a bad situation.
    I for one appreciate this post in a time when it seems most are just taking sides and nothing good comes from that.
    For any argument to end, both sides need to stop blaming and move on toward looking past their differences. A lesson most people are supposed to learn in kindergarten, but which it seems our representatives in both houses of the government have not yet learned. And they are trying to drag us all down with them into the pit of taking sides.
    I’m proud of you for not doing it.

    Thanks again!

  5. Great post. I’m glad someone can call these turkeys on the carpet without getting all partisan blamey (ranty is fine in my opinion). More importantly, it’s good to focus on what we can do to help our fellow citizens as opposed to just sitting around complaining about the situation. High Five Peaches!

  6. Thank you. We do need to be the grown ups – just like the 9 year old does when dad is passed out at that bar. Another way to help? Keep your eyes and ears open. Be willing to help people you don’t know. Not with money, Gods know I don’t have any of that, but with time. Open the door for that person pushing a stroller. Smile at someone. Behave like a good person, not like the asshole that you are expected to be in this messed-up world.

    Be brave. Be kind.

  7. This is stupendous. Thanks for reminding us of what we should be focused on. I would add that our local food bank is always asking for diapers and formula. That would really help all of those WIC folks. Going shopping tonight!

  8. I don’t live in the USA (brazilian girl living in New Zealand), but this is the most amazing post I’ve read in a long while. I hope your american followers take your very sage advise. This whole world is going bottoms up and it’s up to us to help each other. Good luck guys! I hope this sucky (also not a word, but who cares) situation ends soon for you and things get better. All the best from this little corner of the world.

  9. Meals on Wheels is running out of money, and that is a hot meal for the elderly and shut-ins (and sometimes their ONLY meal for that day). Also – even if you aren’t a religious-y person – churches almost always know who has needs and how to get those people the things they need.

  10. I saw there were no comments on this yet and contemplated yelling “FIRST!” but that isn’t very helpful. Now other people have commented, and I missed my moment. Which is probably for the best, because I have nothing productive to add, except that I agree with you on this.


  11. whatever happened to a government that is “of the people, for the people, by the people” rather than whatever mess we have now.

  12. Wonderful words. BE NICE is especially needed.

    Might I suggest something else? Along the lines of the movie Pay it Forward.

    Every once in a while, I’ll be in a drive thru and will buy a lunch for a minivan behind me. Typically, it’ll be a mom and her kids and typically they’ll be some sort of ruckus that I notice. I don’t do it often enough, but I must. I was the mom in the minivan a dozen years ago, as I waited in a Wendy’s line in Woodland Park, Colorado. My kids and I haven’t been the same since.

    Also, If you see a man or woman in uniform, walk up to them, shake their hand, tell them that you appreciate their sacrifice. Because they DO sacrifice. (I was also an Army brat, so I know it’s not easy being the enlisted guy or his family.) If you have the cash, buy THEM a meal or a cup of coffee.

    KINDNESS. It’s what we need now, not yelling, not name calling, not derision, not anger. Leave that to those pinhead in Washington.

    My rant over, and thank you.

  13. Jenny, thanks so much for posting this. I was able to purchase 200 meals for people in need. I only wish I could do more.

    I think we all need to just hug it out.

  14. I love that you are refocusing to the positive. It’s the only way that we little people can a make a difference. Wait, I don’t mean leprechauns or actually little people, I just mean not big powerful political type people. You get the point.

  15. I understand the desire to avoid partisan conversation, but you’re talking about a political institution which is deeply partisan. One side of this is more invested in the function of government – including government function in delivering things like WIC, and food stamps and ensuring access to healthcare for the poor, working class and middle class, which is why there is a conflict in the first place, because one side does not think our government should be in charge of ensuring that we collectively provide those things. Taking away a function of government – specifically the guarantee of decent health care – is what this whole shutdown is about. If you care about WIC, and you care about people’s access to mental health care, then I am somewhat suspicious that you do understand the partisan nature of this problem. Pardon me for disagreein’ with your rules, but polite disagreement is what comments are here for.

  16. You know, when my 13 year old Aspie step-son can sum it up as “That’s really not cool ’cause they’re hurting regular people. And besides, a law is a law. They should just do their jobs.” then you know that the government is acting like a bunch of spoiled children.

    Anyway, I would also add donating personal care items and pet items to local food banks (if they take them) as from what I understand WIC and SNAP don’t cover these anyway, and if someone is having to use their already meager income to cover food, then these are the things that might go by the wayside.

    Also, for us anxiety people….take a deep breath, turn off the news, find something soothing to do. Focusing on the scary only ramps things up and you (I) don’t need extra panic attacks on top of the stress.

  17. I know contacting your representatives is frustrating and the definition of unfun, but please do it anyway. I’ve been emailing my rep every day, even thought I have ulcerative colitis and if my gut rotted and fell out due to lack of medical care, she would laugh and point.

  18. If we are the government, then JENNY FOR PRESIDENT! Victor can be vice president. I would like for the bear head to hold some important office because cool.
    Seriously – WIC needs help and I’m especially fond of that program because when my preemie twins first came home from the hospital & needed special formula AND stuff to put in the formula to give them extra calories and nutrition, WIC saved me and the kids.

  19. Amazon Gift Cards! Can be used for a TON of things and done over email to people who aren’t close to you.

    BE KIND! Everyone is sufferring because of the fucknuts. Smile, say thank you, let someone with two items go ahead of you in line when you have 50, give a child a (parent approved) sucker, hold doors open, pay for the person’s coffee behind you in line… just put since niceness back out there. Because right now we need a fucking Mr. Rodgers Bitchslap to the entire USA.

  20. You are a voice of reason. (Bet that’s a sentence you never thought you’d hear! 🙂 ) I wish more people would do what you are suggesting. And “stabby’ and “ranty” are totally words. I use ’em all the time.

  21. Yes. Yes. Yes. I wish everyone were as sensible as you are here.

    Which reminds me I have a bundle of too small diapers that need to be donated asap.

  22. I saw a bit from The Daily Show on gerrymandering of districts. Honestly, as long as I have worked in politics, its an over-looked issue but virtually 100% responsible for Ted Cruz and Co. Democrats tried to introduce a bill yesterday to end shutdown and Boenher wouldn’t allow it to come to a vote. We can keep pretending its not political but it 100% is.

    We are trying to just be more understanding and helpful for those that are super stressed. 90% of my family works for the government or government contractors so it just blows. Blech!

    In case you are interested, this is the link from The Daily Show that I found very quick lesson on whats been going on for decades (its super bad in Texas):

    Shutstorm 2013: America Sits on Its Balls – Republican Shutdown http://on.cc.com/156rffQ

  23. Thank you, Jenny. I’ve been pondering this myself. I have some friends who I know are furloughed and scared to pay some of the bills that need to be paid so they can pay for essentials to live. Thank you for putting my thoughts into words when I didn’t know they were the words I was looking for. 🙂

  24. My husband and I are both government workers. I am considered “essential”, but he is not. What that means is right now, I’m working for free (or IOU), and he’s not working at all. We live paycheck to paycheck. And nothing makes me sadder than to hear people talking about our “cushy government jobs” or how the government shutdown isn’t affecting anyone. I’m not panicking yet, because in holding out hope both sides will get their heads out of heir collective aasses and remember who they work for, but in another week or so….I just wanted to thank you for your post of support and compassion.

  25. PS. Any other ways you can think of to help?

    Yeah. Vote democrat. Unless your old, white, and well-off the Repubs don’t give a shit about you.

  26. Hi Jenny,
    I’m from the book club with the “penis cake”. I am a huge fan of yours. I’m a disability analyst for SSA and am furloughed. Your words of support mean a lot to me personally. I think I’m gonna go volunteer this week at the SF East Bay food bank. Thanks for the great idea! They can take away my paycheck, but they will have to pry my pride out of my dead cold hands!!! All the best, xoxo Susie

  27. There was a time when politicians did what was right for the country. Now they do what they deem right for themselves and/or their party. Screw that. DO WHAT’S RIGHT FOR THE DAMN COUNTRY!

  28. And this is why you’re my hero. In my town, our already struggling food pantry will take yet another hit, so we are having a food drive to accept non-perishables and monetary donations. I suspect the same is true for all small towns. I hope everyone gives what they can; and those who need the help shamelessly accept it.

  29. Oooh! Oooh! I have one! Regardless of which side you’re on, think of ways you can come toward the middle a little bit. Maybe you’re not going to EVER budge on one issue, but think about some other issues you’d be willing to try to see the other side a bit. Then, QUIT ADDING TO THE EXTREMIST RHETORIC, and let’s all try to find some common ground. Because of representatives are doing just that; REPRESENTING us. And from what I see on the Internet, we aren’t doing such a swell job of getting along either.

  30. What if, instead of “In God We Trust” it was “Just Be Nice.” I’d really like it to be. “Don’t Be a Dick” but I know the chances that has of flying.

  31. I’m a federal worker in DC working at an agency that isn’t affected by the shutdown (like USPS, we’re self-funded), so I’m lucky, but it’s sad and scary to see what’s going on around me. So many of my friends who already had furlough days this year are now off with no pay and no end in sight. Day cares have been shutdown because they’re inside federal buildings. Sure, in theory, we should all have grand emergency funds to sustain us for 3-6 months should something like this occur, but let’s be honest, how many people are in that position?

    I agree with the recommendations. Donate to the food pantries. Better yet, call the food pantries and see if there’s anything specific they need. If you know someone who is struggling because of the shutdown, invite them over for dinner. But in general, just be nice to each other. Regardless of who you think is to blame for this mess, we all agree that it is a mess that needs to be resolved.

  32. one that is a really BIG deal to a lot of people (and I’m sure some on here too) is Head Start

    Yeah, a day care for people who are working poor so they can keep working.

    If you know anyone who needs it, perhaps you can donate babysitting (either yourself or your favorite sitter) for someone so they can keep going to work.

    I don’t know if Head Start will take donations to stay open (they’ve already been ordered to close) but I’m betting there’s a whole lot of working parents freaking out about now.

  33. I guess I want to say one more thing: I am extremely disturbed that this can happen with important programs like WIC. Seriously, punish the babies?

  34. I work for a blood center and we did not cancel any drives or close donation centers. Not all centers are government run. So yes, donate your socks off people! And niceness always wins.

  35. I wrote both of my Senators yesterday. One is Democrat and one is a Republican. I have never written before but I felt compelled to write. This is a black-eye for them all if they can’t try to work together! Life is hard enough without our leadership fighting with each other. This is how I felt after 9-11 – insecure. Thank you for the post.

  36. in the same vein, if you have time on your hands go to your nearest women’s shelter and offer some babysitting. Those women never get a break and they’re in a horrible situation. Bring some books and read to the kids for a few minutes. I’ve done it and its really helpful.

  37. Although, really, we are the government all the time. I know, it’s a republic and not a democracy, but we need to commit to our role better than we do.

  38. If you’re one of those weird suburban farmer wannabees and have backyard chickens (hey, I can say weird because I smell my own kind), don’t forget that food banks and other agencies for those in need can REALLY use fresh eggs!

  39. Thank you for some concrete suggestions on what to do in this situation. It is so much easier to get blamey and post memes on FB but a reminder that there is true need that we can address is much more sensible.

    As usual, you are such a good egg Jenny!

  40. Ugh…mixed political families. I regularly threaten to delete my hubby from my Facebook with some of the crap he posts. He’s a Republican for their economic policies (he doesn’t care for their moral high ground crap since he’s agnostic) and I used to call myself a Democrat, but I’m fed up with both parties at the moment. Washington, GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER. In the meantime we’ll definitely be giving more than usual, especially with Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner. I’ll give that to my hubby. He’s a very generous and charitable man. We also have family and friends that are out of work because of this mess. I hope this crap is over quickly.

  41. And good for you for DOING something about it. You’re right..it is our government. If we can help our brothers and sisters, shouldn’t we?

    You’re beyond awesome.

  42. As a furloughed government employee, I want to thank you for being logical and making these suggestions. Logic is often lacking these days.

  43. Thank you…for caring…for posting. I am old enough to be your mom just want to say I love you just like everyone else here!

  44. I don’t find it terrifying at all. In fact it’s quite liberating. As a people we can do a much better job with far less wasteful spending. I suggest everyone google “voluntaryism” right now and give it some honest thought. Peace.

  45. I live blocks from the Capitol, which was earlier on lockdown, but now off, due to a woman that rammed her car into a security booth- injuring a Capitol Hill officer, and getting herself killed. Her child was in the car.
    I have no idea if her level of desperation turning suicidal had anything to do with the shutdown, but with small children, no money coming in, no way to buy food- people will do crazy things.
    Being Nice Matters. And the government isn’t being very nice right now.
    Call local food banks and see what they need most. Donate diapers and formula and baby food. Give coupons to local grocery stores. Donate socks and underwear for kids. Give gas cards so people can drive their kids to school if they need to or go to dr’s appt’s.
    The biggest thing we can do is vote. VOTE in your next election, pay attention to the issues that matter to you and LET THEM KNOW in the next election how you feel.
    Don’t like what our elected officials are doing? Get them the fuck out. VOTE.

  46. I have tried to not read the rants, although this one was lovely. However when I saw that there was a guy shooting on the capital and the cops who responded aren’t even being paid right now, I wanted to go shake someone.

    Donate formula to WIC. Or to a mother who you know is on WIC. Be kind to your neighbors. Take meals to firemen/cops/paramedics and any park official who you know isn’t being paid.

  47. I’m not an American, but I didn’t skip your post because, you are awesome, and you are proving it again. Jenny Lawson, a woman with a big heart that says “fuck” a lot

  48. It staggers me, as a UK citizen with a weird fusion coalition government which is (sort of) working together, to see that the US politicians are throwing their toys out of the pram over this. “I didn’t get my own way so let’s SHUT THE COUNTRY”? I didn’t realise you could do that!

  49. I don’t live in the US, but here’s an analogy: If you need both sides to agree on something, and one side says ok, I’ll go along if you punch yourself in the balls, and the other side says no, and the first side says: see? they don’t want to cooperate, it’s everyone’s fault, then it’s not reall everybody’s fault is it? I’m sry Jenny, I love you and your writing, but false equivalency won’t help. There’s part of the political spectrum that is batshit crazy and the other is not. The crazies have to go.
    I wholeheartedly applaud being kind to others and not fighting with others, but the politicians? Not all of them are to blame, at least not equally.
    Let’s not throw rocks at our neighbours, but when u DO throw metaphorical rocks at Congress, aim for the crazies first alright?
    🙂 Hugs!

  50. Jenny for president!
    The White House is is dire need of giant metal chickens and costumed taxidermy.

    This “rant” is easily overcome by the good, common sense suggestions for helping those in need. Heaven knows the dipshits in Washington are more worried about their cushy jobs than really helping Americans.

  51. I miss the Constitution and the whole “for the people, by the people”. I say we hold recall elections for the whole lot of them and start all over. *end of rant

    I agree; donating to food pantries is essential right now, as well as blood donations. I’ve already heard about random shootings here and there, and sadly, as this shutdown continues, I fear it will only get worse.

  52. Ok. I donated to Meals on Wheels and Feeding America. I told them you made me do it. You might get an email from them that says I donated in your memory, like you died or something. Just be cool. Nobody has to know the truth!!

  53. The need at food banks never ceases to amaze me, even when times are “good.”

    I have extra motivation to purge. Our boys don’t each need ten winter shirts, so we can pass on a few. I’m donating anything we have extra of that could benefit someone else more than it helps our closet shelves.

    I also am trying really, really hard to be more gracious and generous in the little things. Letting people in during bad traffic, sharing baked goods instead of freezing them, softer, kinder tone with my boys, gentler and more understanding with myself and my husband….

    Thanks for your encouragement, Jenny. I love this call to step up and fill the gap.

  54. Remember that time Todd Akin said my magical vagina found a “way to shut that whole thing down”, too? Yeah. STOP ACTING LIKE VAGINAS, CONGRESS.

  55. This too will pass. In the meantime, there’s a bright side: people are banding together for a common cause, bloggers are posting actions for positive change (like this post!), folks are reaching into their billfolds, purses, back pockets, the cookie jar for money to donate to help the needy. This too will pass. Keep reminding ourselves that fact and remember to practice being Teflon man/woman and let the idiocy bounce off.

    Now if we can just eliminate the aisle in congress so that our representatives are forced to sit next to each other, maybe they’ll start working together, too.

  56. Also – I read this as “Wear the Government” which I took to mean we should skin all the politicians and wear their hides a trophies.

  57. Excellent post, but I hope everybody will keep in mind that given the War on the Poor, these needs are NOT going to go away when the shutdown ends. We’re going to have exhausted, stressed out, hungry people as far as the eye can see, and they can’t rely on government to help them any more. That leaves we the people.

  58. Any congressman or congresswoman who is seeking re-election should be voted out of office!!!!!!!!!!!!

  59. I’m voting for you to kick the asses of our current congressmen and women. If that’s not an actual job, it should be.

    In the meantime, you have the best suggestions ever and I kinda love you. (NYC doesn’t really have taxidermied animals, but if they did, I’d send you an a mouse dressed up as Shakespeare).

    While I am struggling, I’m not out of food, so I am donating to feeding america.

  60. Oddly, the IRS says that while they are technically shut down, that all taxpayers are still obligated to file all required forms in a timely manner and yet if the IRS owes YOU a refund, you will not get them until the government is ‘back in business’. I’m paraphrasing a long IRS newsletter but seriously?? I’m just saying.

  61. Pick up diapers and donate to a local women’s shelter or a day care. Funds are short for everyone right now and everyone can use our help.

  62. Brilliant! I am going to donate to my local food bank. Tired of all the bickering, let’s all do something to try to make our fellow human’s lives better.

  63. Hubs and I are furloughed from the National Park Service. There has been such ignorance and animosity aimed toward those of us who just want to work! THANK YOU Jenny, for the ranty reminder of all how people should behave during this horrible time. (Now I am going to crawl back into my closet and hide from reality until I can work again because otherwise the stress is going to eat me alive!)

  64. Now is the time that we live up to the rhetoric the idiots in DC keep slinging at election time. We need to rely on each other and understand that by helping someone up, it does not shut us down. The economy is rough — and has been for years — but it’s time to dig deeper to be the people our parents wanted us to be. Help your neighbor. Give where you can. And recognize that it’s still about basic kindness. That will get you through a cold winter knowing you’ve donated what you could to help buy space heaters for those less fortunate, or diapers for children whose mothers struggle with necessities, or help feed a child whose school lunch may be the only meal they have a day.

    We can do better. And we will.

  65. Great post! Definitely yes to the food banks and also clothing closets. Also local shelters and housing services, because furloughed people may not be able to make their mortgage/rent payments. A lot of the local businesses in DC are providing coffee, tea, some food, etc. for free to furloughed folks. They are charging Congress members double. 🙂

    I would add: Pay attention. We are from a generation that has grown accustomed to the idea that we can’t affect government, and therefore accustomed to not paying attention. Educate yourself. It’s important. How? Do not restrict yourself to only one source. Do not get your news or opinions solely from one side. Read carefully. Think critically. Ask questions. BE POLITE! We don’t have to all agree, but we would do well to learn what the heck is going on.

    If you were suddenly hit with the news that you have a rare and unusual disease, what would you do? You would read everything you could find, figure out who knew what they were talking about and who had their heads up their asses, and become such an expert that your doctors would ask YOU. Do the same about civics. Not politics– at least not the political games that many professional politicians play– but issues. Because really, we ARE the government. We are just being cruelly reminded of that fact.

  66. Donations to local school in case there are kids without lunch money? Also, I elect you as government. 🙂

  67. Every relationship is 50-50. Communication is key. They are failing at communicating, they are failing at compromise. Remember it is a two way street folks! Their pride, egos, desire for power, and greed are getting in the way. I would have so much respect for them if they stood up and said “Yeah, we are a bunch of fuckers. We take the blame and we are sorry.”

    I cannot donate blood, did less than two weeks ago. I can give cash and will to the Greater Boston Food Bank. It is a steal at 1500 meals for $500. I will have to be a little more conservative right now though.


    And I told my daughter that she could steal zoo animals since there is a government shutdown. She is heading in for a giraffe. Anyone else heading in with me?

  68. I have been laughing about this raccoon video for two days. Today I happened to find it with commentary and I swear I almost cried.

  69. I wrote a blog post about this, which offers solutions but I think its just all gotten too convoluted. The simpler, the better. Love yourself. Love each other. Stop fighting. Sheesh!

  70. I am also furloughed, “non-essential”, and extremely worried about how long this sudden loss of a paycheck will last. And so, so tired of being treated like a leech and a burden because I hold a non-military federal job. Thank you for your kind, uplifting, and helpful post.

  71. I know, that comment had absolutely nothing to do with your blog. Sorry. I’m reading it now though. I promise.

  72. I live and work in the dc area as a federal employee (maybe that’s why I’m depressed all the time) I have the kinda job where I have to keep working and that is both a blessing and a curse. but you are right jenny, it is really, really bad right now so I am doing exactly as you suggested. as I drive to work in the crazy traffic (which I thought would be better with everyone furloughed but not so much) I think: All I can do today is stay calm and in that calmness I can find someone who needs me to be nice to them because they are having a hell of a time getting through some shit. it’s like exercising, it has to be deliberate. be still and think about it, BE NICE!!! Jenny is a genius!

  73. Thanks as always for your wise take on things. I second all votes for grocery/gift cards–a few times I’ve been the recipient and it’s amazing how rich you can feel with fifteen unexpected dollars in hand. I’m looking into basic CERT training where I live, so if even more crap hits a bigger fan I can run out and give CPR to my neighbor’s cat or do what’s needed elsewhere. It’s a small thing that helps me feel more connected and less like just throwing everything away, myself included.

  74. I couldn’t help but read and nod a whole buncha times. Problem is I’m a Canadian. I’m sorry. Am I arrested?

  75. They (our elected officials) really should take a page from your book (Not your literal book) and act like they’re on the phone in front of a confused elderly neighbor and vow “YEAH. I’m gonna get shit done , MOTHERFUCKER.”

  76. Coming all the way up in Canada:
    omg you’re awesome. THIS is what it should be like all the time I support my local food bank by picking up donations from friends and clients. It can be a lot of work, but I’m doing it to make it easier for people to give and receive.
    You’re amazing.
    I love your book.
    Keep it up.

  77. Thanks for this. I’m planning a coupon haul for my local food bank this week to help support them and all the hungry families in my town — it’s good to read more useful, practical, and ranty suggestions!

  78. It’s been two days. I don’t think the sky is falling quite yet. Hang in there!

  79. My comment is waiting moderation? That is weird. All it was “Vote, maybe” – how did that set off internet bells?

    (It’s because you usually comment as “kat” but you changed it to “Kat – Austin” today. My spam filter sees you as a new commenter since you used a new name so you go into automatic moderation. You’re out now. 🙂 ~ Jenny)

  80. Nitabobita, Pam, Tess, zaftiguous, and any other furloughed posters after I post this- keep your heads up. You’re in our thoughts.

    Really, people posting political crap after Jenny specifically said not to- this is not your soap box. Get on the positive train or get the hell out. WE’RE TRYING TO SAVE THE WORLD HERE.

  81. Love this. I’ve already scheduled an appt to donate blood after work.

    Keep it going you guys.

  82. The lovely people of this board have already mentioned the big ones. With WIC out of the picture, food bank donations are SO important. A few other things that came to mind:

    Call your local library. They often have affiliate programs to deliver books to shut-ins in your area (elderly ladies and gents, those with physical or mental disabilities that make it difficult for them to get around). Offer to attach grocery cards or restaurant deliveries to those most in need. They’ll know who is being hit the hardest, and both you and the receiver of your donation can remain anonymous.

    If you have the spare cash, get in touch with your doctor’s office and offer to cover costs for the next person to walk in hoping to get their free flu shot from the annual influenza program.

    If you know someone who has been furloughed, give them a call. Take them out to coffee. Invite them over for dinner. Show them your support in whatever way best suits your relationship. All money issues aside, it feels awful to be told you’re “non-essential.”

    The warmest of hugs to anyone who has been affected by this nonsense.

  83. Throughout most of the United States, people who need help with essential health and human services can dial 2-1-1 to get to an information and referral hotline. Most are open 24/7. If there are services available, they’ll probably know about them.

  84. Seriously! I am on short-term disability. My payments were supposed to renew this week but I don’t know when they will. Even though they have all my paperwork and Dr’s note, there are not enough workers in to office to process everything. Most of the offices have been closed for months because of the sequester. I still haven’t paid my rent for Oct. On top of that Women, Infants and Children is hit hard. I am afraid I won’t can’t get my baby’s WIC coupons.

    I am not posting this as a sob story, pity me thing. I am just hoping that people reading remember that there are real people put there, fellow Americans, hurting right now.

  85. Don’t forget homeless shelters. We take donations, too. The one I work for isn’t just soup and a cot to sleep on. We teach classes, help clients with housing , jobs, government assistance, medical, mental and addiction issues. All of the funding for that is stalled now and people are stuck at the shelter longer. We need laundry detergent, personal hygiene items, food and snacks for their sack lunches (volunteers do dinner), cleaning supplies, basically everything needed to maintain a home and office. So please look into your local homeless shelter, not just your women’s shelters, we need help, too!!

  86. Oh, Jenny, Thank you for a voice of reason in the midst of all of this. And I surly know what you mean, as my mom often had to pick up my dad at the bus station because he passed out on the way home.
    Love you!

  87. I don’t think both sides are equally to blame, and I think it only counts as “blame” when you’re making something out to be someone’s fault and it really isn’t. There’s a difference between blame and diagnosis.

    I’m a little worn out from all the false equivalency arguments. They don’t make good politics. They basically mean we remain stuck in the mud, never really solving anything.

    But there isn’t anything we can do about the actual problem children in this situation until next year. Still… keep this in mind. Remember it very clearly. Don’t get comfortable and then get distracted by something shiny that the miscreant in your district happens to promise you next year. Because first they wanted to take away health care reforms that helped you, and then they took away your government for a little while. And that is not something you should readily forgive or forget in the name of Ooh Shiny Syndrome (OSS).

    Get OSS about the latest Doctor Who shirt at TeeFury. Not about politics.

    And that’s the closest I’ll skate to doing what Jenny asked me not to do. Thank you, Jenny. Sharing.

  88. Some Panera bread establishments in Houston gives bread for free on certain days of the week, each week. A friend of mine use to pick up TONS of their bread made that day, and pass them out at the apartment complexes. Also, my friend’s church use to have garage sales at the apartment complex..but they would pay nothing. The residents would just take what they needed.
    And a bunch of us USE to go downtown with potluck dishes and set up tables and just feed people….but our Mayor put a stop to that. Maybe that can change!

  89. Thank you for the reminder. I’ve written checks to a homeless shelter and a food pantry. This is our country and we are responsible for each other.

  90. Thank you for this. I am so tired of the blame game as well. My husband and I are very affected by this shutdown. About 6 months ago my husband moved to Alaska for his dream job. Myself and our 2 daughters have stayed behind until we could afford to make the move. This past summer he was furloughed for awhile and that was a big enough hit on us finacially and now this. We pinch and save everything we can while maintaining 2 households. We just can’t seem to make ends meet, let alone afford this move. I miss my husband. Our girls miss their Dad. This shutdown affects so many people and the longer it continues, the more people who don’t think it involves them are going to feel the effects.

  91. I work for WIC and we are still open at this point (because our budget is done in advance from what I understand). Never mind that personnel hours were cut a couple of months ago due to sequestration, so employees are already feeling it! My boss tells us we are good thru the 17th of October in our particular office. I am sure everyone is different depending on the state. If it goes that long and we cannot stay open, I really do worry for our clients.

  92. God I wish I could. After the sequester my Unemployment was cut and then eliminated entirely. So I am no longer officially unemployed, just not getting any money. The company that said they would hire me in August had cutbacks, so maybe January? My depression and anxiety keeps me in the house most of time these days. My husband can’t pay all the bills, so our savings is trickling away. Not poor enough yet to go to a food bank, and 80% of our spending is on rent anyway. My congresscritter is Nancy Pelosi, and frankly I’m in agreement with her stance. I guess I could tell her that, but she is pretty busy right now. Not really feeling the two sides to every argument sentiment, sorry. It is kinda like when Patrick Stewart’s mother was told by the police after she was beaten, “There are two sides to every argument, Mrs. Stewart.”

  93. People like myself, who get heating assistance are gonna to start feeling this if things are resolved very soon. Winter is fast approaching – it’s already dipping into the 30s here at night. I’m scared.

  94. I have a friend whose husband is a government employee. They lose about $400 a month from their income because of the 2 furlough days a month he has to take due to the Sequester “solution”. Now if the government drags on for any length of time they will lose both their house and their car because they will be unable to pay their mortgage or car loan.

    We need to vote all of the politicians out regardless of party or House of Congress, even the president, and start over again.

  95. Ditto….we need direct vote. These “institutions” are not serving us and we have brains to decide for ourselves….cut out all the middlepersons.

  96. I wholeheartedly support more use of words like “ranty” and “stabby”.

  97. I have friends and family who are deeply effected. Share what you can spare was always my family’s dictum.

    My husband is presently on worker’s comp with the Dept of Labor and we’re still unsure of whether the monthly check will come, though Huff Post stated that section of DoL is still operating. I’ve shuffled bills again in my ledger to make sure we can withstand a missed check, but its scary. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have to depend on WIC or another federal program to feed my kids.

  98. I work at a women’s shelter and we can always use household items that get used up very quickly – cleaning supplies, toilet paper, etc. We can also use nice clothes for women to go on interviews. Towels, warm blankets. New underwear and socks. Diapers and wipes.
    Please call your local shelter and ask them what they need. They’ll tell you.

  99. BRAVO!! Well said… it’s what I’ve been thinking and certainly the slant on my FB posts (which of course we
    know is the recepticle for all musings, ruminations, rants, and vacation photos). From FB yesterday (cause we’re not friends, no offense): How is it that dysfunction is becoming the new norm? When did it become okay to not be cooperative, collegial, or compassionate? Why is it that inefficiency and ineffectiveness are rampant? After a day like today I know the who and the where but the rest, rhetorical as they may be, are beyond my comprehension. And I am left to shake my head in disgust as a result.

    BTW, “ranty” is totally a word as is “judgy”.
    BBTW, you are brilliant and hilarious and much loved.

  100. Hey, thanks so much for writing this. As one of those furloughed Feds, I’m feeling sad and stressed about the whole thing. I’m not one of those who makes a gazillion dollars a year with cushy benefits, either. I’m a staff assistant…basically, a secretary. I go to work every day (at least, I did…) and I work hard, and I’m proud to be a civil servant. Meanwhile, the people who created this mess have deemed themselves essential to fixing the mess, so they’re still at work (if they actually work), drawing their nice fat paychecks, and enjoying their cushy benefits. And there is so much RAGE out there against the government in general that it’s slopping over onto the rank and file….you wouldn’t believe some of the hateful things I’ve been told when I’ve tried to express my frustration in public forums. So thank you for writing something kind and supportive – it really does make a difference. I think I can speak for many of us ‘non-essential’ federal workers when I say that we’re as frustrated, sad, and frightened as anyone else. And there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it but sit home…and wait.

  101. Thank you for that.. We (no matter what political affiliation) are all PISSED at our government right now.
    I really hope they see it, I hope they hear us.
    I donated to Feeding America – I wish congress would do the same.

  102. Sounds as if the Dunkirk spirit is being discovered over the pond! Keep calm and carry on and don’t let the b…….ears get you down is what we in the UK would say. Oh and I my completely disagree with you but I will fight to the death for your right to your opinion and of course that old conundrum Demoracy is this worst form of government but better than all the other systems that have ever been tried – which seems to be rather forgotten By the powers that be Keep safexx. (I certainly do not have sleepless nights about healthcare thanks to our great NHS.sorry couldn’t resist that one)

  103. Thank you for caring. Blamey doesn’t help or feel great. Since I am helped by a food bank, I will donate time. I can give back and pay it forward. Thanks for the nudge 🙂 🙂 🙂

  104. Nonpartisan blamey comment: Fire the damned government and start over.
    Does anyone here feel like their representatives in DC are in touch with your state? Are they in touch with any part of your state that’s not big money- energy, banking, industry?
    Does anyone here believe that the federal gov’t has concentrated on the good of Americans as a whole in the last, oh, let’s call it forty years?
    Just curious.

  105. I work for a domestic violence shelter, and we all rely largely on federal funds. The Office of Violence against Women, which administers much of these funds, is in jeapordy due to the shutdown.

    I appreciate both your frustration and desire to find a positive action to take right now, however I don’t agree with your choice to punt down the middle, politically. This is not about two parties squabbling, this is about the extremists in one party trying to take America hostage. To frame this as two children fighting on a playground is playing into the hands of those extremists.

    That said, I applaud your focus on channeling our collective frustration into positive action with tangible results for those who need it most.

  106. As one of those Feds working without pay, with a spouse who is furloughed and 2 kids in college… Thank you! I love your posts, you are always funny and insightful – and dead right on this time!

  107. Jenny, I love you, but I have to very kindly and gently agree with the previous commenters who criticize the false equivalency argument here. I am absolutely not painting broad strokes about dems or reps in general at ALL, but in this particular instance, a small group of political extremists have caused this. If Boenher was willing to put it up for a vote, the clean CR would pass the house and the shutdown could end NOW (thanks to enough democrats AND republicans who have the common sense to do this).

    All that being said, trying to make something positive out of this and providing resources is a great idea.

  108. If you’re a raging republican that has a raging democrat for a daughter, and she happens to work for the government, please send her a note that says: “I’m sorry. This must be negatively affecting you. I’d like to pass on a modicum of care.” Or something like that. Because hearing nothing from your super Christian, conservative parents/ENTIRE family while you’re sitting at home by yourself and out of groceries is the opposite of fun.

  109. Excellent advice! My only addition would be for the folks who are furloughed. If you can, try to volunteer somewhere. I was unemployed for a long time, and the only thing that kept me going was volunteering. It’s not just about helping others, although that is awesome. It’s about you feeling useful. Getting out of the house and doing something can help keep the anxiety away sometimes. Maybe it will take your mind off the situation for a few hours. I know what it’s like to feel helpless about a problem. And the anxiety just builds. So if you can, do something outside of the norm. Animal shelters need dog walkers or people to play with dogs to socialize them. Kids need help with homework. Sort all the food that will be pouring in to the food pantry. Animal shelters sometimes have pet pantries too. I realize it’s not feasible for everyone, but if you can, give it a shot. You will feel better, I promise. It worked for me.
    Positive thoughts for all Americans.

  110. Exactly! And our veterans are losing services. You can visit or donate to your local VA hospital, etc.

    The elderly or infirm near you may need help as Meals on Wheels is halted.

    I shared the food bank links yesterday on my personal FB, thank you for posting this, you gave me the courage to talk about it on my blog. I have many friends on both sides of the aisle and didn’t know how to not rant and offend people I love- you put it just right.

  111. You continue to use your powers for good, and I love it. Way to call bullshit, but still take the high road and remind us to help others rather than bitching to the internet about how unfair the shutdown is.

  112. There are a ton of other government agencies trying to pick up the slack, on the state or local level. I mean people like our local Fire Department, who are up in the mountains behind my house doing major fire suppression brush clearance, because the fire possibility rating is at red (high) and the Forestry Department, who normally do this work, is shut down (and the public isn’t supposed to be on trails during a red flag). So if you see a local or state agency stepping up to the plate, make an effort to stop and thank them. Or give them gifts or thank you cards. Just to let them know that you have noticed, and are grateful.

  113. Thank you. And as I was reminded not so long ago- food banks are already under extreme stress due to funding lost as a result of the sequester. So to everyone- give what you can even if you think it isn’t enough to make a difference. Collectively it does make a difference.

  114. Just an option – I often attend a monthly networking event called “Tampon Tuesday“ where guests donate “lady garden“ products to the food bank for women in need. That stuff is expensive! Hope things get better for all. From a Canadian neighbour!
    ps Did I use Lady Garden in the correct context ?

  115. This is what the founding fathers expected. People helping each other. Not the government doing it

  116. Thank you for the link to feeding American. I try to donate a little every month to charities, but I don’t like donating to the big corporate ones and tend to stick to local animal shelters, wounded warriors and the wish fund for foster kids. I really do appreciate having another option that I can support with good conscience.

  117. Thank you for being a voice of reason among the hysteria. All my spare cash recently went to my sister’s SO to help him through a business reversal. But it doesn’t cost anything to Be Nice. Be Kind. Be Encouraging.

  118. If you have extra cash, Meals on Wheels will frequently take donations of pet food, as well. In our area, shut-ins will sometimes share their food with their pets if that’s all they have. Our local dog rescue collects and sends pet food to Meals on Wheels two-three times a year. Small bags, please, as older or disabled people can’t manage 50-lb bags!

    I know people are more important than animals but our companion animals are parts of our families, and many older people are alone except for their animals.

  119. Wonderful idea, as usual. But, you never disappoint. Where to send? Is there a paypal account (hint: Jenny?) a special fund? I have no idea where to send but no matter how little or how much, would love to help. Your friend, Laurie F.

    (If it goes through me first then I have to pay taxes on it and that’s less money to go to people who need it. Best to just donate straight to your local programs, Feed America, church drives, etc. They’re tax-exempt so the money goes to the right people without having a big chunk going back to the government. ~ Jenny)

  120. Gas! See someone at the pump buying only a few dollars to get to the job they do have or the kids to school? Help out by buying them a few more gallons. Or fill it up for them I’ve done this even when there is a so called government up and running learned it from watching my Dad do things for others.

  121. “And in the absence of the government…we are the Government.”

    Hmmm, I think that we can all work together to do a better job than the government does…because it would be a hard job to do it worse.

  122. VOTE. In your local elections, in your federal elections. Read the bills when you get bored, write letters.

    Find the truth, then explain it to others. Not truth regurgitated from your brand of news source either. The Daily Show is now the most reliable… And while part of me weeps for that, the other is just glad he and Colbert exist.

  123. Great blog. Lets all remember that WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT! Even when the actual representative s we elect aren’t governing. We have been letting a few idiots run the zoo, and it’s our own fault for not calling it out when corporations bean writing laws and electing their own employees. Corporations are not people! The tea party is all about wasting the tea, and not fairness of economic growth. Get them put of government!

  124. I’m pretty pissed off and I’m glad you are able to write this as I couldn’t. But I can heed your advice and try to help in spite of my pissed-offed-ness.

  125. Yea! Best post I have seen for DAYS! Food banks are always short. Also, Mobile Loaves and Fishes is a good org for the homeless. Bless you, Jenny.

  126. Jenny,

    This is, by far, the best and most loving thing I’ve read about the whole government shutdown mess. Thank you for being a person. Thank you for caring. Thank you for your tact and respect. I love it. You and your clan of followers give me hope.


  127. Thank you for this post. We do have to do what we can for each other since the gov’t isn’t. It is scary now, my husband is furloughed and I am scared to find out what it is like to not pay our bills. I. Can imagine it is very scary for those relying on the gov’t for dinner.

  128. Geek Goddess thanks for the suggestion about the pet food donation. My kitty just passed away recently and I have lots of cat food I didn’t know what to do with. Thought about donating to an animal shelter, but now would rather donate it to those who are in need who have pets.

    Thanks for mentioning Feeding America, my own favorite non-profit. They do great work and a little goes a long way.

  129. Voting is a good suggestion. Actually getting involved is a better one. Get on a city board, or city council. Or county, or state, or even federal. It’s so much easier than you think to get someplace where you can actually pull some levers of power, and seriously make things happen.

  130. If you ran for office and had a bumper sticker that said “Jenny 2016 – I’m going to get some shit done, motherfucker!” I would soooo put it on my car.

  131. Jenny, i don’t think you would want the job ( i wouldn’t) but i would put you in charge of the whole government in a heartbeat. you are sane -REALLY. saner than many many professional politicians. more grounded in reality.
    i used to want and expect so much more from our leaders than just sanity.

  132. Right now, food banks need donations and not just mac n cheese and tuna. Toilet paper, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies and diapers are all needed and you can’t buy them with food stamps. Formula is needed, but check with your food bank first, some will take it and some won’t. Also, food stamp benefits have been cut for many, so food banks are going to see greater demand. And don’t forget pets. The shelter I adopted my guinea pigs from runs an animal food bank so families do not have to give up their pets in hard times.
    Got hotel sized toiletries taking up space in your closet? Donate them to a homeless shelter.
    Another thing, two separate churches in my area are asking for socks and underwear to distribute before winter starts. I plan on adding some socks and underwear to my next trip to Walmart.
    Lastly, if you know someone affected by the shutdown or even someone who’s lost their job in this crappy economy, offer what help you can. Meals, a gift card, even a jug of laundry detergent when they need it can really help someone struggling.
    If each of us does what we can to help, it will help the most who need it.

  133. I think they’re going to have to make stabby and ranty actual words after all of this…

  134. Don’t blame people who aren’t responsible. Like the park ranger at your friendly national park? The guy who had to close the gate? He wishes he were anywhere else right now.

    Oh, and he’s not getting paid to work right now, since the payroll office is closed. The only people guaranteed to get paid right now are active duty military and Congress.

    My husband has an ulcer right now, and I seriously hope this ends before I have to worry about the November mortgage payment.

  135. At this point, it’s entirely John Boehner’s fault. The votes exist to end the shutdown. But Boehner isn’t allowing a vote.

  136. Today I had a conversation with a stranger on the elevator about the importance of simply saying “thank you.” When did we lose our manners?

  137. Schools (especially in Texas) are facing tremendous cutbacks. Teachers spend so much of their own pitiful salaries to buy supplies for their students. Volunteer at a school. It can be as simple as helping shelve books in the library. Go through your junk drawers and pull out extra pens, pencils, markers, scissors and give them to the school. That doesn’t cost you anything. If you can afford to, buy some new supplies (or snag some from work). Kleenex & hand sanitizer are great, too.
    Thanks, Jenny.

  138. Register, read up on the issues and candidates ahead of time, and vote for people who are willing to put feeding babies and old people ahead of throwing childish tantrums.

  139. I work at Walmart amd we donate to Feed America. In our town, what we donate helps to feed over 20, 000 in our area. At one time that is how many, in our small SE Kansas town, needed help with food during the winter. You hear all the crap talk about walmart but this is one thing I’m proud of walmart for.

  140. In the short term, yes, support these worthy causes. For the long haul, though, please remember to vote in EVERY election no matter what your affiliation. My husband is a federal employee deemed essential so he will be paid…eventually. It’s important to remember that federal wages have been frozen for 2+ years now; not even cost of living increases. Then, many departments were hit hard with the sequestration. Now this. So there are people out there who’ve been under a lot of pressure for a while and this is the icing on the cake. Please consider donating to local shelters, crises counseling centers or NAMI.

  141. Thanks Jenny, I am a furloughed fed too and it is scary. I love my job and I love public service – I went into it because years ago I got a Fulbright scholarship and realized I wanted to give back to this great country that gave me such an opportunity. Now I feel like a hostage. I’m trying to see the silver lining and I think that will work for a week or so as I catch up on my sleep and finish some necessary home maintenance projects. But if this drags out much longer I’m going to face some big problems. How do I pay the mortgage and my unexpected recent medical bills? I’m talking to the credit union and looking at local temp agencies, but I am fairly sure nobody is going to want a temp worker who could go back to their federal job on short notice. My parents have offered to help, but they are already helping my brother – who is not a fed but barely makes enough to keep his family going. I can’t ask them to deplete their savings for me too. In fact, up until now our plan was for me to start giving my brother money every month to give them a break.

  142. Be nice, but it’s also important to remind your Representative and Senators that they are there to represent their constituents. Our democracy has processes and procedures to get things done and this is not it. Allowing the government to shut down is NOT acceptable and is NOT in the best interests of America. My 2 cents on the issue: http://notdrinkingcoffee.com/2013/10/01/how-congress-hijacked-democracy-or-my-thoughts-on-the-shutdown/

    As many others suggested, volunteer at local food pantries, soup kitchens, schools, etc. Donate what you can. Dollar stores are great to find school supplies and food stuffs on a budget. And above all, VOTE in November and every election for true representatives, not politicians, to represent your district.

  143. First, pray.

    Second, help SOMEONE that you can help. Not everyone, just SOMEONE.

    Third, don’t get lost in the shrillness and anger and madness. Try to be humane and kind.

    Fourth, vote the bastards out. Every one of them. Just start over. Get rid of the professional politicians. Break the damn cycle of Democracy Abuse.

    Fifth, drink wine. The good stuff. Because, shit, we need it.

  144. I totally agree with all of the above, but don’t forget to contact your congress people (regardless of if they are an R, D or GDI! It may seem superfluous, but they need to know how you feel. They need to know that shutting down the government and not taking care of our debt ceiling is unconscionable. WE, the people, need to make our voices heard and our government uncomfortable under our scrutiny.

  145. Brother with three children and stay-at-home wife furloughed by this one – they are alright and we will help them as needed…but for everyone else, I second the mention of schools above – if you live in a community with a lot of federal workers, look to the after school and free/reduced lunch programs. Children will feel the stress of this, but it’s rather hard to understand (Mom/Dad still has a job, but the government won’t pay them because there are two different groups that don’t like each other and they don’t want to share?!?). Schools are strapped already but will try to fill the gaps. Love all the other suggestions…best post about the shut down I’ve seen!

  146. I know I have been more on edge the last few days. My husband works for a company that gets a large amount of their money from the federal government. If they succeed in stopping the ACA he could be out of a job. I think my kids are still okay on receiving their free lunches at school but not positive and have been worrying about that and now I see that social security checks are in danger and that is my parents only income and we would have to help them as well when we are barely keeping ourselves afloat. Seeing that people do care and are willing to help makes me feel a bit better but right now I am feeling so on edge and so pissed off that the people who have control of all of it don’t seem to give a damn about the rest of us. I just watched Les Mes the other night and tried to talk my husband into going out and starting a revolution by singing and he would not help me. So instead I guess I will just hope this passes soon and help others as much as I can in the meantime. You have good ideas and I know there are a lot of people who are worse off than we are right now and we are going to do what we can to help.

  147. We can write, tweet, email, whatever, our representatives and tell them that we want things to be done differently.

  148. As a non-American, I had thought the shut-down was similar to Australia’s Double Dissolution – where the Governor-General can dismiss everybody in the Senate and House of Representatives and call an election to try and break the stalemate. And then if that still doesn’t work, both houses can be mushed together for the vote.

    The American shut-down makes me angry. I would riot.
    Especially since I believe that health and education comes before anything else and should be available to anyone regardless of income. It’s worth it, since healthy educated people are more able to bring themselves out of poverty and stay out of prison, and countries that give their citizens these options have longer life expectancies and even lower health care costs (just look at Japan).

    Those are my two cents. I hope your government puts their big boy pants on soon.

  149. Thanks for reminding me that the blood drive at my gov office was obviously canceled. I’ll take my furlough day tomorrow to get my butt to the Red Cross blood center and give them a pint. Then go out and get me a pint.

  150. I sincerely love you, Jenny.

    And despite it all, I seriously think WE, the people, could do a damn sight better at running this country than our so called “government” is doing – since not a single one of them can figure out how to act like a grown up and do what they were elected to do.

  151. I’m still struggling with the whole idea that a government can shut down….. Admittedly our system in Australia is very different, but seriously? The government has one job – to govern! And they’ve just thrown a tanty and aren’t going to play nicely with the other kids, so they shut down????????? I just don’t get it. And I feel for everyone else who is suffering from this stupidity. Hang in there…

  152. I’m a non-essential federal employee. Here’s a suggestion that costs nothing: please quit congratulating furloughed acquaintances on their vacation. I’m not vacationing, I’m unemployed. My furlough notice paperwork included a generic letter to my creditors, because they’re all going to be crazy impressed with that.

    No, I have not yet found my zen. Thank you for this post.

  153. Yeppers, excellent use of blogging during this asinine shutdown. Great ideas!

  154. Amen and amen. Jenny for President 2016!!

    If you don’t have $ just do something nice for your neighbor, mow their lawn, take their trash to the curb… just some little thing good make a huge difference for someone who’s struggling.

  155. Thank you for reminding us not to behave like children and for making positive suggestions that we can do to help!

  156. ” People have the power to redeem the work of fools” – Patti Smith
    Stay kind and stay strong everyone ! Cheers, Jenny ! Joss

  157. Contact your local animal shelter and make a donation to their Pet Food Bank. If they don’t have one ask them who does. It could be the difference for someone who is struggling financially in keeping a beloved pet or giving up for adoption because they can’t afford per food.

  158. This post made my day. 🙂 Thank you!

    You don’t have to be American to understand how bad this is. I’m crossing my fingers for all of you that this won’t last long.

  159. Nobody says it better than you – again! Thanks for the inspiration and ideas.

  160. I love you, Jenny. This is exactly the approach we need to hear. Veteran’s Support groups like The Wounded Warrior Project are also working hard to help to get people through this, and could really use support.

    I do think it’s important to note that there are some Congressmen working to get the government going again. A few are even being reasonable about the much bigger economic crisis looming on the horizon. You can easily contact your representative here http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/. Forward them this post, and let them know that we are the Government, and we’re fed up with elected officials who can’t lead.

  161. I can’t donate because I’m one of those who’s relying on unemployment (which just got cut by 7.2%, thanks a lot, assholes) and will have to go apply for SNAP benefits soon. But I love the idea of it all and I will try to stifle my rage and try to be nice.

  162. If you have managed to read this far — here’s yet another way you can help. A young college student of mine is doing a survey for one of her classes. It’s on Social Anxiety, which I know is a favorite topic around here. If your answer to the first question is a clear “no” you don’t have to do the rest of the survey. Everything is confidential and you’ll be helping a student learn how to help others! And it might distract you from the political madness. Political anxiety probably doesn’t count 😉

  163. “Be nice” is the best advice ever.

    Another good way to help is to invite impacted friends over to dinner at your place. Some people are too proud to take help when it’s money but it’s much easier to accept a dinner invitation. Food with friends nourishs body and soul.

    My gramma used to tell me stories about the Depression when men would come to the door looking for work. Even with ten children to feed my Great Grandmother never turned them away. She pulled up a chair and added another cup of water to the soup.

    Good luck to everyone impacted. This too shall pass.

  164. Some ways to donate normally – probably not very good for this situation we’re in – is to donate hair to Locks of Love, donate to the ASPCA, or donate to St. Jude or another Cancer Research Hospital. That’s for something a bit long-term, though.

  165. And by the way, I usually only lurk here. I’m having a tough time concentrating these days. I work for a government institution but I’m not on a federal salary, so I’m working — at home because I’m not allowed to go to the building. I am especially concerned about the food service, security, and cleaning staff who I’m guessing don’t make a lot to start with and will feel the loss of salary keenly. They love their jobs and always make mine more enjoyable with their smiles. Many of them probably aren’t federal workers either but with the building closed it isn’t like they can telecommute (“Want gravy with your mashed potatoes? Sure, I’ll send it over by Skype”). Thinking of all of those who just want to get back to work.

  166. Our government representatives are all acting like children. SOMEONE NEEDS TO STEP UP AND BE THE HERO. Real people are hurting and there is no end in sight. They are doing everything they can to start a new Civil War in this once great country. We as Americans, are now the laughing stock of the WORLD. I am ashamed to be an American right now.

  167. Jenny–as always, thank you for your kind words and humor and for thinking of all of us federal employees here in the DC area and our federal employee colleagues all over the United States.

    We are employees who are home on furlough who want to work, but by law we aren’t allowed to and we don’t know if or when we will be paid for forced time off we didn’t choose to take. We are also the “excepted” employees continuing along with our “normal” work routines under circumstances that are anything but normal, with no idea when we will eventually be paid for the hours we are currently working. We are fiercely patriotic Americans who felt called to serve our country and our fellow citizens and we WANT TO SERVE. We want to make sure your food is safe to eat. We want to help Americans own their own homes. We want to go to the moon, explore Mars, and find a cure for cancer. We want to help you find jobs, predict devastating storms to save lives, and make sure your children are fed and educated. We want to make sure you next flight is safe. We want to protect you from a terrorist attack. We want to make sure our environment is protected. We want our National Parks to be open and for you to visit. We want to do our jobs.

    Thank you all for your generous words and actions–they mean more than many of you will ever realize.

  168. Jenny Lawson for president!! <3 You could change our national animal to the unicorn! But seriously, great post. It's scary out there and to see you support the men and women affected by this is amazing. I know you're such a kind heart anyway but, seeing the proof is just wonderful. Great suggestions. The only one that I have to add is one that you have already put out there that helped me… http://www.wishuponahero.com is a great place to find people to help one another. I wish I could do more. Someday, I will.

  169. Oi. I have been chased off of Facebook today because of the ranting from everyone. Everyone pointing fingers and everyone is paranoid and everyone fighting over what is true and what isn’t…. all with various levels of sanity and coherence. I can’t even go over there today. It was so nice to see your post <3

    *Everyone meaning, My timeline everyone, not .. you know… EVERYONE.
    I do have a suggestion – if you have a friend who is having it a bit rough – maybe offer to help them with laundry. When things are bad for us, spending money washing clothing for three people on pay machines (which aren't very efficient) gets very spendy very quickly. We struggle to keep food in the house so it often comes down to food OR laundry, and there is nothing even vaguely romantic about trying to wash school clothes for the kidlet in the tub, especially without a clothes line or a nifty wringer thingy. Never underestimate the power of clean and dry clothes!

  170. I’m saying this with love, so please take it that way. I think maybe part of the overall problem is thinking that the government is your daddy and that he (it) will make everything okay for you and solve all your problems and make sure that your life is peachy-keen wonderful. Grow up. It’s your job to make sure you make a living and do right by your children and leave a legacy. Not the government. The government is not your end-all/be-all/solve-everything thatyou think it is. I’ll say it again: grow up.

  171. Thank you for this Jenny and everybody else. I’m “essential” so they’ll pay me someday. Tried to explain that to Chase today. My stepdaughter is furloughed and 6 months pregnant. She doesn’t need this stress. You just reminded me that it’s not just us. Thanks.

  172. I just made a donation to my local Senior Services. I gave you credit so maybe you will get a thank you note 🙂

  173. LOVE Corey Ann’s comment: “BE KIND! Everyone is sufferring because of the fucknuts. Smile, say thank you, let someone with two items go ahead of you in line when you have 50, give a child a (parent approved) sucker, hold doors open, pay for the person’s coffee behind you in line… just put since niceness back out there. Because right now we need a fucking Mr. Rodgers Bitchslap to the entire USA.”

  174. As a Canadian attending a conference in San Fran last year, I was overwhelmed by the number of homeless people (men, women, children) in the city core. I was also stunned by the amount of food available at our conference. At evey break I would fill my pockets and bags with as many packaged goods as possible and would distribute on my way back to the hotel. I will never forget the surprised looks and grateful thank yous – much better than a few coins…Try it…

  175. Well said Jenny. I’m hoping all this nonsense gets settled soon. You’ve reminded me that I should go give blood. It’s been awhile since I’ve done it and it’s an easy thing to do to help out. Thanks

  176. These are some great ideas. I say we lock the doors while they’re gone. Stop their paychecks and put some super moms and super dads in office and get this shit sorted out! They know how to run things. When the “government” decides to come home, like the run-away brats they’re all acting like, all their crap will be on the lawn with a note: “You think you’re so grown up and important and know it all? Go get a real job and pay your own way. We got this. Love, America.”

  177. This giant tantrum is ridiculous! WIC was important to my family when we were foster parents-so many count on it. I think “they” should have their pay taken away each day they can’t pull it together and give that money to food banks, shelters and to others impacted. Hit them where it hurts-pocketbook!

  178. This columbus day I’m holding a blanket making party. A bunch of friends and family are coming over with as many yards of fleece they can afford to make no sew blankets for the local womens shelter. We had been planning on this for christmas anyway but what can be more comforting when things are falling apart than a warm blanket to cuddle in. We’ll continue to make them as we can up through early December as well.

  179. Thank you so much for this common sense reminder that we’re all in this together. I’m reminded of an article I read on the BBC website about a million years ago that said that, once they got over 50% women in the Welsh parliament, the whole tenor of things changed and folks were able to get things done. Here in the States, we’re not quite to 20% women yet. Perhaps we could run more women!


  180. And do not be deceived when they (Right left and in between) say the Military is being paid. They are, but a dear friend of mine was waiting on bonus/relocate pay that didn’t happen. He is in the Navy and on a boat and her rent check is going to bounce. They are literally just paying them. No more than if he was at home and able to help. Which he isn’t and she has 2 kids and a newborn. These aren’t bonuses for just being awesome, they are for the fact THEY AREN’T at home for 6 months. And have orders, and have to move.

    I agree, ask who needs help, help, donate, be charitable, breathe, and pray ALL the politicians can get their collective heads out their asses and DO.Their.JOB.

    /Soap box removed

  181. Well said! I know I was getting caught up in the partisan blame game a little bit, but really, everyone’s to blame because they’re all stupid and they all made this mess together. And you’re right. It’s time for us to do what they aren’t doing, which is take care of our people.

  182. I was thinking about this on the way home. One thing: Tip your postal worker early this year. I believe they are only allowed 20 bucks a year or something stupid, but at least it’s something.

  183. so perfect. finding someone in need. it’s so simple. we are not living high on the hog by any means, but we have more than a lot of people. love the idea of just finding someone you can help out in a way that matters. I love HEB gift cards. because who doesn’t eat? thanks for a great post during a tough time. :o)

  184. Each one, reach one.

    What a better America this would be if everybody in the country made that their motto.

    Thank you for all you do. All of you…everyone here. We’ll get through this BS together.

  185. As someone who knows way too many furloughed / wondering if they are next people right now – thank you.

    And I’m thinking of telling my congresscritters that any contribution they may have been getting this year will now go to the local food pantry – where it will do infinitely more good.

  186. You. Are. Fantastic. Thank you for this breath of fresh useful, helpful air. You’ve got the basics covered, I think just being aware of who is struggling within your circles and trying to keep support up or reach out a little to say hey, I’m here for you is the best we can do. If we all do it together we might even make it through ok.

  187. Thank you, Jenny, from another furloughed federal worker. This post made my week.

  188. Once again, I am late to the party, but just wanted to let you know how awesome this post (including the comments) is. Wish I could help peeps financially, but maybe my blood will help instead. Thanks for that link.

  189. Thank you for being such an inspirational voice during this time of political chaos. I appreciate your putting something proactive out there for your peers to follow.

  190. Great post and totally agree. Don’t take sides and let’s help out the ones in need until they get this resolved (which is hopefully soon). I have a son in the Air Force and all the commissaries are closed now…no pay (for now) and have to shop off base at 30% more.

  191. I am from Australia and just made a donation to feeding America. Dig deep guys. This too shall pass

  192. Jenny – I’ve been donating blood for 40 years, and I just hit my 120th unit (15 gallons). I am scheduled again for November 8th. I might also suggest that people contact their local hospital maternity ward. There are many new mom’s who are totally frazzled upon leaving the hospital, and don’t have grandma or some other family member nearby. These new mom’s can use a helping hand, or a listening ear. Share what you have learned as a parent. Lots of social service agencies are, or will be, affected by any loss of government funding.

    As for gift cards, contact your local church (even if you don’t go there) and ask them if they get requests for assistance. Our congregation (about 150 people) budgets $1200 a year for the purpose of passing out grocery store cards. We’ve already exceeded that and will keep on giving, but our members also donate cards. Oh, and our congregation is in a pretty affluent suburb of a major metropolitan area. The poor are everywhere.

  193. Hi, I wish to be your new BFF….I read your book…and had my book club read it…Your sense of humor is my sense of humor. Anyway, I am a teacher. My husband is an engineer for the Army and is furloughed. My middle son has a very rare form of dwarfism called Kniest Dysplasia….He has had myriad surgeries….I work pretty much to pay his medical bills. Therefore….this furlough is devastating to us. Thanks for your post and for keeping it real.

  194. As a DC resident with many friends furloughed or working for no pay, I am ashamed to say that I did not think about these options. Thank you so much! My recommendation is to give to a diaper bank. We have a great one here in DC called DC Diaper Bank (http://www.dcdiaperbank.org/) but I’m sure there are other great places around the country where you can give.

    In the short term, you can call or write your Congressperson (you can find out who they are at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/members). I would actually suggest emailing, since the mail takes a long time on the Hill. If you can, call their district office (the one in the state where you are), as they are often now where a lot of the constituent services are located and your comments may make the biggest difference. Please be as nice as you can while expressing your opinion. As a person who used to answer those phone calls, people who were rude or just plain mean were the worst. Remember the person you are speaking to is currently working for no pay and be kind.

    In the long term, you need to vote. The people in office now are there because sane people like yourselves are not voting. It is super easy to register at sites like registertovote.org and you will make a difference. The crazy does not end at the Congressional level so make sure you vote at all your local and state elections. If no one sane is running, consider running yourself. This country gets better when good people take charge.

    I will now get off my high horse and go put my money where my mouth is.

  195. If Jenny is President, and Victor is V-P, can Beyonce be Secretary of State?

  196. Jenny—you ROCK SO HARD!!! YES!!!

    And really, this is “supposed” to be a democracy so WE REALLY ARE the Government…so there’s that.

    Less partisan bullshit and more good deed doing!!!! <3

  197. i am on snap so i pretty much know that i am going to get cut, but i’m ok with that. in times like this i think of the “stone” soup story. we can do so much more if we band together. i can’t do much, not a lot of funds, my phobias keep me away from people. but i try to help in a weird way. i walk a lot in my tree city and we use dirty water for irrigation which means we have gutter grates to move gutter water around. i walk with a little rake (my mother used it to rake her shag carpeting) (and yes, the turquoise and green mix is still on the floor) anyway, when i see a grate that is clogged with leaves and junk, i rake it off to the side so the gutter wont overflow and flood a home. (I know, crazy lady with the rake) if the water is running way too high in the gutter, i call the city to give them a heads up. i found this little saying the other day by Edward Everett Hale. it went like this.

    I am only one,
    But still I am one.
    I cannot do everything,
    But still i can do
    And because I cannot
    do everything,
    I will not refuse to do
    the something
    that I can do.

    carry on

  198. I totally agree but why does it takes a govt shutdown to get people to do it? I give on a regular basis wherever I see the need. My niece can’t find a job ( check in the mail to her). Elderly man alone with a brain tumor- been cooking a meal every week for over a year. I’m not tooting my horn- just trying to help those that need it. What a difference we could make if we all did just a little bit more. We’re in this together folks . Do what you can. A hug a smile a handshake is all it takes to let someone know you care. It all makes a difference!

  199. Thank you Jenny! What an uplifting post! Today I donated grocery cards to our local WIC program. Council on Aging/Meals on Wheels is next, then ?
    You’re right. Feeling a little less helpless about what’s going on.
    Love your blog. Loved your book.

  200. Maybe this is what we needed to shake us out of our complacency and get involved in our communities, caring about our fellow human beings again. To be kind, even when it’s inconvenient. I have an elderly neighbor that I’ve been taking a plate to everyday, despite being regularly told my ‘soul was dead, just like my grass,’ as she grabs the plate, because that’s what decent people do. We look beyond the differences and care anyways. You’re awesome, Chicky!!

  201. If you’re in the LA area, or feel especially giving towards the LA area, you can always donate to 826LA – an after school tutoring center (among other many many wonderful things) that provides one-on-one tutoring to over 10,000 kids in the LA area: http://826la.org/donate/donate-online/

    Also? You know that person who you think has all their shit together because they manage to juggle multiple jobs, kids, and have gone back to school to pursue their dreams? Your neighbor downstairs, that girl in your class, the other person on the other side of your cubicle wall? Yeah, that person. Go ask them how they are doing, bring them coffee and a muffin, and tell them how much their hard work inspires you. Trust me, they may look like they have it all together, but NO ONE has it all together.

  202. Thank you, Jenny! I really appreciate the ‘kick in the ass—I am very fortunate but been depressed and completely forgot to look around me and help someone.

    Couple of things I have done in the past to help: Go through the grocery/drugstore ads with an eye towards taking advantage of big sales for donation purposes. Along the same lines, I’ve also picked up some great things (toys, clothes, underwear, socks, personal items) in the Clearance section (in store or online) to donate. (I’m writing them out so I remember to GET SHIT DONE, MOTHERFUCKER!)

    Love to you and all the commenters (and thank you also to our friends in other countries–your kind words of support mean a lot).

  203. It’s not an immediate answer unfortunately…but since it’s written in law that Congress and Pres will always get paid…let try and get that changed so they can feel the stress of how are bills going to be paid especially when you exhausted your little built up savings because you have only been working for a year. Also in the event of times like these AND Congress still getting paid they should be working 24hrs until resolution and weekends. If its highly recommended that exempt employees don’t take leave for fear of being furloughed than neither should they, oh and work on on federal holidays without the extra pay.
    I am directly affected. Husband furloughed, working with no certainty of pay. Yet the stress still looms that ANY day we will be sent home.
    I really don’t care at this point who is to blame. But when we are trying to end bullying in our kids school we are victims of it from our government. Im seriously speechless and seriously stressed..

  204. We are a one income family and my husband is a federal employee…. A very hard working, over 30 years at his stressful job, federal employee. And this year he’s been furloughed and now the shutdown. We’ll be eating a lot of pasta until this is over (and afterward) but what I worry about mostly is how I’m going to pay next semester’s college tuition for our oldest, and next fall when I have two in college, where is all that money going to come from if we use everything we have to pay our mortgage and bills now? This is going to have long-term effects. It’s not just about putting food on the table during the shutdown, it’s going to hit us hard for months to come.

    P.S. If you do run for President, you’d get my vote.

  205. Of all the fans in all the world…Jenny, you have the best. In the 100+ comments I read, only TWO ignored your request to not post blamey comments. Most jumped in and energized the entire thread with heaping doses of awesome.

    That’s proof that YOU, Jenny Lawson, make a difference.

    I volunteer at an animal shelter. People have called concerned about not being able to feed their pets. Donate pet food to food banks, as well. If people can keep the furry friends (that make them smile and feel a bit safer) there are less cats and dogs that are destroyed due to lack of space.

  206. This isn’t about us or what’s good for the nation or even the economy. This is an exercise in dick-waving:

    Rand Paul to Mitch McConnell: I just did CNN, and I go over and over again: “We’re willing to compromise. We’re willing to negotiate.” I don’t think they’ve poll-tested “We won’t negotiate.” I think it’s awful for them to say that over and over again. […] I think if we keep on saying we wanted to defund it, we fought for that, but now we’re willing to compromise on this, I think—well, I know we don’t want to be hear—but we’re going to win this, I think.

    It’s about a bunch of old white guys retaining their stranglehold on power, the rest of the nation be damned.

    Almost makes one thankful for “open” mics.

  207. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.-Thomas Jefferson

  208. I just donated some unexpected money from an insurance mix up. Today is also Pittsburgh’s Day of Giving where the Pittsburgh Foundation matches donations to local charities. It was like the Universe was saying help feed the people.

  209. Maybe congress should operate like jury duty. You get called in and put on a committee. That committee gets handed a problem and no one gets to go home until they get their sh*t done. I’m pretty sure there wouldnt be all this posturing ridiculousness going on then.

    I would say find out what services in your community need help (or will if this drags on) and do what you can – be it donating time, materials or money. We should all be doing it anyway.

  210. My husband is furloughed. It is a very stressful situation. My SIL, who works for a mortgage company, informed us that there is a program for mortgage holders who are on unemployment (yes, in some states furloughed Feds can get unemployment, but it has to be repaid if you get retroactive pay). This program allows them to only pay their escrow amount while they are furloughed. All the other fed families might want to check into that!

  211. thank you for mentioning the women’s shelters. they do such crucial work and i think they get forgotten when people are thinking about charitable giving (both time and money). and look at the difference your one post is making. thank you for writing it.

  212. During this time, also please consider donating pet food and litter to your locate humane society. Many are collecting for furloughed workers so that they can feed their pets.

  213. Since money will be tight, if you know a family struggling, make dinner for the couple, and bring some candles or flowers for the table. Then, take the kids back home with you to watch so mom and dad can have a date without the cost and without the kids!!!! Couples really need to support each other in all of this. We want healthy families.

  214. government employee here. I get furloughed next week unless something happens. so really, I’ll be watching Maury and screening calls from the student loan collectors on Monday.

  215. Wish you were the government!!! Usually your posts make me laugh so hard I nearly wet my pants, but this one is especially special to me since I am one of those anxious furloughed Federal employees. Thanks for some common sense in this time of insanity!

  216. Thanks for this. My husband and I are both Feds, we are both furloughed and, while we have cushion to last for a while, this isn’t how we wanted to spend our rainy day fund. And if it lasts too long, then that rainy day fund will run out. It just sucks and is stupid beyond all get out.

  217. Lots of suggestions!
    People being furloughed: see if you can volunteer your skills at a school, church or temple. You have skills people want to know more about. Especially at schools where the kids outnumber adults

    Tutor or read aloud. Read for the blind (really, esp textbooks and technical manuals)

    Care for the elderly. Many are on social service for healthcare and may suffer in the confusion.

    If you need money while furloughed, see if you can bid on jobs through TaskRabbit or other such organizations. Take the time to sell that stuff on eBay.

    And please, remember that children do not have the sense if history and understanding we do. They might be scared, frustrated and upset. Try to be gentle: “right now our government has a big problem and some things that happen easily need more help. So that is our job! We are going to step in and help where we can.”

    There is so much we can do. We are where our government started and, ultimately, it comes back to us as well. Regardless of what party you back(ed?) you have something meaningful to you. This gives all of us the chance to show it.

  218. I work in an Early Head Start and while my daycare isn’t being directly affected by the shutdown because the center has other funding, all the families whose children I care for everyday were already struggling and now this. It may just push them too far and if “my” kids aren’t at the center then who knows if they’re going eat and who knows where they’re staying all day. It’s making me sick worring about who may or may not be in class on Monday morning.

  219. This is such a great post. I think so many people are getting all panicky and ranty in a detrimental way, and forgetting that there are some things that we can do to help each other out. These are such simple suggestions that make such a difference. Thanks for being awesome, as always.

  220. You? Are awesome. These are fantastic ideas.
    I will see what I can do — locally Arizona is hurting because we have so much federal land (National Parks!)…


  221. “our Government is basically the equivalent of your dad not coming home because he’s passed out at the bar.”

    Best quote EVER.

  222. Positive thoughts from Canada to all of you affected by this, I truly hope things get straightened out for all of you soon! <3 Oh and Jenny, your super-awesomeness is showing….again.

  223. Get out of my head girlfriend! I was just saying these things to my mom this morning! (although you say it a lot better!) xoxo

  224. Thanks for reminding me that there are things that I can do. Can’t give blood (the Red Cross won’t have me, since I had a not-negative result over 20 years ago and they blackballed me as a result, even though I am a willing O+ donor), and I don’t have any money (unemployed for over 2 years, and I’m over 50 which means my chances of finding another job are minuscule), but I can clean out my pantry and donate that food, and I can clear out my closet and donate clothes, and I already always thank folks in uniform.

    As far as the government, we should kick them all out and start up a lottery system putting we the people in charge. We couldn’t possibly do a worse job, and the lobbyists would lose their power and the old-boy network would be out on their ear. I’m tired of the whiny spoiled children currently running things!

  225. One of the best lessons I ever learned from my mother was that no matter how difficult your situation may be, there are people who would “trade up” into it in a heartbeat. I was never aware, as a kid, that we didn’t have much money because we were clean, fed, and cared for. Many times I watched my mom load up food from our cupboards because someone needed it and we had some to spare. If we had it to spare, she would. She also showed kindness without prejudice.
    My husband was furloughed from his airline four days before out first daughter was born. We struggled through, blessed immensely along the way, until he found a new job 2 1/2 years later. We are still playing catch up 3 years later, and now have two kids. In all we’ve gone through, the thought that there are people who have much worse problems gives me perspective and keeps me grounded. My family has so much to be thankful for, and I try to be mindful to spare what I can. My daughter’s school just had a big food drive. I have been tearing through my house in preparation for a yard sale, finding tons of things to set aside for donation (maternity and baby clothes are huge on that list!). My favorite advice you gave is “be nice”. I feel like that is the overall take away from this post. Some people commented about how you can’t just take government out of this. Either I missed the point or they did, because what I was hearing was, forget about the politics for a minute and look at the people around us.
    All of us have to individually keep doing what we can to survive. That’s life. Doing what we can to aid the struggle of our neighbors- that makes it a life more worth surviving for us all.
    All you can do is do what you can. If everyone did that, this world would be amazing- am I right?

  226. Make sure your friends are checking with their banks – we bank with USAA and they are offering zero interest loans/pay advancement for employees waiting for their checks. Hoping we won’t need it, but what a HUGE relief if this piece of crap goes on.

  227. I NEED the new healthcare law as it stands because I have a long list of chronic health problems and our premiums are now being cut in half. Holding it hostage is freaking me out, but thanks to the new healthcare law, those fucktards at the insurance company can’t say “oh, sorry, nutjob, you’re just gonna have to kill yourself cuz we already paid our 50% of 10 visits this year with the ONE in-network underqualified person. . . and we don’t do hospitalization.”
    My friend at Fort Knox arranges funerals for fallen soldiers, and they cannot get arrangements at federal cemeteries, and families can’t get death gratuity: $100,000 that holds them over until death benefits kick in, which is sometimes a year, if at all.
    The stores on military bases where I have family, are empty, the ER is open, but can’t get their appointments for their disabled kids.
    There is a shit ton of things wrong with this shut down, and it is only being pushed and relished by ONE party. Unless, of course, you would like to negotiate with me on what parts of your house I can burn down. Come on, NEGOTIATE! (not YOU Blogess, its just a pretend thingy)

  228. Thanks. I utterly, totally, and deeply agree.

    My husband is a furloughed federal employee. He spent the first day of the furlough cleaning the willow-tree detritus off his parents’ roof so that the rain wouldn’t back up under the shakes and leak into their house; followed by two hours picking apples at a charity orchard an hour away that grows, harvests, and processes food for the indigent.

    The next day, he did housework while I did genealogical research as a volunteer.

    Today, he spent a good part of the day arranging to get windfall apples from that same charity orchard, bring them to his commercial cider press (a hobby), and press cider for friends and family. He also got a chainsaw running because a woman I’ve met twice posted on Facebook that she needed one. He filled it with gas and oil for her.

    Tomorrow, we’ll spend the entire day gleaning apples and pressing cider, most of which he will give away. 50 or 60 gallons.

    That’s just the way he is…and I admire him so much.

  229. I went to the Library of Congress website to check something out and found a sign about it being closed. Ridiculous.

  230. We need to put the We back in We the people and start doing the shit that needs to be done. We have to do it ourselves mostly anyway.

  231. While you’re helping out, don’t forget about the disabled combat veterans who are going to be losing support from the government. There are a lot of charities that help veterans that you can donate money or supplies. These men and women have given up a lot for us – we can’t forget them when they need us now!

  232. I don’t know how many people will see this at this point, but a really easy good deed to do is to sign up to be a bone marrow donor. You can do it here:


    It’s quick and really easy, and can be done right on the internet. They’ll send you some cotton swabs you’ll rub on the inside of your cheek, you send it back, and then you’re on the registry, and have the chance to save someone’s life. Registering was on a long list of things I intended to do but never got around to for so long. Then recently, one of my sweetest bar patrons came in and told me that he had cancer and may need a bone marrow transplant in the future, and none of his family/friends are matches. It was a good reminder to me to step up and get my name on that list, because maybe somewhere out there is another dear and wonderful person in the same predicament, and I can be their match. Sometimes, I get dejected that the world can be so terrible sometimes, and I feel powerless and lacking the resources to make it better. But then I remember that even when I don’t have time/money/resources/spoons to help, I have blood, and marrow, and someday organs, and I have the power to give someone the gift of their life back.

  233. Contact your local VFW. There are a lot of disabled veterans and veterans’ widows that subsist on government assistance. With SNAP (food stamps) benefits being cut, a lot of them are in danger of going hungry. Many VFW chapters provide a lot of assistance to the community, and they will be able to tell you how to help.

  234. Am in the UK but didn’t want to skip the post. And I’ve donated what I could, as I’m sure every little bit will help.

    What’s going on over there is just crazy and I really hope it can be sorted soon!

  235. I’m in the UK watching all this unfold with a sense of horror and disbelief. Our government may have its problems but it’s nothing like what you’re going through. Reading through some of the comments here is heart-breaking.

    I’ve made a couple of donations. Like someone else in this comment feed, I put your name down and said I was donating in celebration of you. Now I hope that enough people donate giving your name that we start a rumour that you’ve died or something.

    You’ve also given me a kick up the ass to do something more local to me. We may not be struggling in the same way as a country right now, but I’m sure there will be people who need the support in my own area.

    I’m also reminded of when we did elections at university. Every ballot paper in Students Union or society elections had to have RON on it, which stood for Re-open nominations. Basically, if you didn’t like any of the candidates, you could vote not to have any of them. How about a vote of RON for your entire government?

  236. I don’t live in the US, so I’m just one of those billions and billions of people being utterly baffled by this notion that the government can just shut down. Because some (let’s face it; rich) politicians can’t get their shit together, millions of perfectly ordinary people are out of a job/have to make do without any benefits? And how is this supposed to motivate the policiticians? Oh, and this forced-to-work-without-pay business? We have a word for that.

  237. During this crisis, I would strongly encourage people to think about donating time/money/items to organizations that can immediately help people who are furloughed or otherwise affected. I’ve been disappointed to learn that some services are only open to people who go through a lot of hoops to qualify for them – which is fine, I don’t knock the organizations for having rules, but they don’t help the people who are freshly (and for some, hopefully, just temporarily) in need. I’ve seen a number of people online classify furloughed workers as “fake poor” and “not really in need,” to shut down their appeals for help, and it sickens me. So I’m looking for places to give that will help furloughed workers now.

    I live in the DC area, and my partner and I (and my father, and many of my friends) all work for a government agency that’s furloughed 97% of its civil service employees – the highest percentage across all federal agencies. Fortunately, some of us work as contractors and have been allowed to continue to work for pay because our contracting companies already have the money to pay us and we can do our work off-site without continuous oversight. But the flip side of that coin is that many contractors cannot continue to work (their funding isn’t there, or they can’t work off-site) – and they will not get back pay, regardless of what Congress eventually decides to do about back pay for civil servants. They’re burning their leave hours, and then they can go on unemployment until this shutdown ends. (Of course, sequestration cuts to our budgets have put all of our jobs in jeopardy, and I am likely to be laid off within 6 months when the money runs out.)

    Thank you for posting something nice among all of the horribleness. I can barely read the internet right now, with all of the people saying that non-essential workers are overpaid and lazy, or that agencies that are closed shouldn’t resume services because the shutdown proves we can live without them, or all of the other crazy shit that makes my eyes bleed when I read it. Thank you for getting people to think about how to remain positive, and help others, and not just be scared and angry and sad and mean.

    But as a footnote – please add my voice to those who have pointed out that the false equivalence in your (and many other sites’) portrayal of this situation misleads people on what’s going on. We’re not seeing a stalemate between two groups – we’re seeing a stalemate within one. It’s worth Googling “false equivalence” to see the growing number of blogs and indie media who are covering this angle and pointing out that ham-handed attempts at “fair and balanced” journalism isn’t working right now. It’s actually really interesting on a rhetorical level alone (says the English major in me).

  238. not very ranty. no one has my back or the mother w dementia i care for. your often smarter than this. too much texas is a third world nation now..and that’s what hard times mean. no one has your back, that’s as long gone as harvest gold and avocado green household appliances.

  239. The lengths that some people in power will take to fuck over the little guys is astounding. And like a tsunami wave that starts as a ripple, this has the potential to create a lot of lasting damage. Not cool, Congress.

  240. Yes, yes, I know I don’t live in the U.S, but… (there’s always a ‘but’, isn’t there? And it’s almost always a politician.)….
    Listen, America. When you hear voices coming from the s-bend, arguing about who is the biggest turd in the bowl, there is only one solution. (Well, two, if you count changing your medication). That solution? Flush. Yes, flush.
    As I see it, this whole problem can be solved with a good, old fashioned revolution. Not the guillotine type of revolution, (although if anyone had a guillotine, it would be the Bloggess), but the type of revolution where a massive mob walk into the Lord Of The Manor’s house and politely tell him to bugger off, and take all his entitled cronies with him. They want playground politics? Then shove them out into the playground to sort it out.
    In other words, hold a new election. Get someone influential (say, someone with a guillotine) to invite nominations for seats in congress, or the senate, or whatever. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Craigslist, whatever… Then notify every major American newspaper and TV station of the movement. Once it’s built up a head of steam (a week, two at the most), the politicians will stop bickering and start working together to suppress the revolt. And if they don’t, they have nobody to blame but themselves when the tables turn and they’re the ones sitting at home without a salary.
    The only downside is that no matter who is elected, they will quickly morph into the same sort of entitled turds you just flushed out. It’s the nature of Politics. Just ask George Orwell.

  241. How about “bartering” coming back. For example, we have some friends who have three children ages 11, 4 and 2. Her husband has always had a job, whereas my husband didn’t for an entire year after graduating with two associate IT degrees. There were times when we didn’t have the extra cash for a sitter for emergency situations that required a last minute babysitter… for things like funerals or sick family…so instead of paying each other, we just trade babysitting hours. I babysit her kids, and she babysits mine. Bring back the, “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.” Pending nothing illegal of course.

  242. Thank you for this! You did help lower my level of frustration. I have friends that are going with out a pay ck this week, through no fault of their own. We don’t need to lose sight of these very real people and their very real needs. So many were struggling even before the furlough. This could mean they lose everything. They are in my thoughts and prayers.

  243. My husband is furloughed right now. We are very fortunate that financially we are comfortable, but we know not everyone is. I’m asking everyone to remember to show your displeasure at the voting polls in the next election. My husband and I are only going to vote for challengers. The people in the Capitol work for us, and we say they’re fired for gross incompetence.

  244. I’m from the UK, I loved this post.. & I whole heartedly (also not a word?) agree with Maria M!! People from all over this marvelous world are sending love and blessings to USA right now. Always always use positivity to overcome what no longer serves. Out with the old and bring in the love for humanity (even those in power and the elite… they need it most! <3) xx

  245. A friend of mine sent this to me because it reminded her of something I would write. LOL She was so right. I agree with you 100%. Thank you for a refreshing read. I wish more people thought like us and maybe we wouldn’t be in this mess.

  246. Thank you. This is the right response. We can’t really go without a paycheck – we are (unfortunately) living paycheck to paycheck, like so many. But many more weren’t making it already! I’m not sure what we’ll do when my husband’s next check doesn’t come (and I’m just assuming that this will go on through the 20th, when he was supposed to get paid, and that even if it doesn’t that check will be late and short). I do know that we’re not going to the grocery store, we’re living off of what we already had in the fridge and the pantry. If you are on WIC? The fridge is probably bare.

    I am saddened to live in a country where so many are so destitute while a few consider being destitute a character flaw. Thank you for focusing on what we need to address, rather than the circuses.

  247. Jenny,
    This post made me cry because of it’s essential ‘rightness’. And more importantly, it made me reach for my wallet.

    Thanks for THE inspiration and for summing it ever-so eloquently: “GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER YOU ASSHOLES…”

    Be Nice 🙂

  248. Well said. I would’ve gotten all ranty and shouty. I prefer your way of no blame, just ways to help.

  249. Here’s my perspective from inside the shutdown .I’m one of the federal “essential personnel” who are working but won’t be paid until the shutdown ends. I have 2 sons – 1 in college – and no idea how I’m going to keep my car and apartment if the shutdown last longer than 3 weeks. In short – I’m scared out of my mind. At work there are reporters out front who jump in our faces when my co-workers and I try to go out (to the Dollar Stor or the liquor store – obviously one of these is a little joke) – the reporters aren’t though. And the public have every right to be infuriated w/ our ability to provide only “essential services,”; which, in a case I dealt with yesterday, meant the person lost their chnace at getting a new job because I couldn’t give him the proof he needed (can’t explain – top secret – not kidding, I can’t explain because I’ll lose my job if I do).
    Lovely Bloggess – THANK you so much for reminding everyone we have ways to ameliorate the nauseating helplessness. I can’t donate $, but I certainly can give blood. And I can continue to smile and help each person at my desk – and tell them to go down the street to their Congressman’s office and share their opinion w/ someone who can change the situation. Thanks for giving me space to safely share.

  250. As a government worker who is currently working without pay, it would be nice to get some love (not that kind). But while politicians are doing whatever it is they do and getting yelled at for it, we are getting heat from both sides (or at least I and my constituents are). We are currently working without pay (fingers crossed that we’ll get back pay) and we’re getting yelled at for being part of the government problem. Just, like you said, be nice. A smile when I go in to work (from someone other than an equally unappreciated coworker) would be marvelous. (Not that I’m saying doing donate food etc, because my household is about to be living off those types of donations in the not so distant future). Overall thank you for such a great and thoughtful post.

  251. Blaming “the government” is still blaming. And by refusing to thoughtfully consider the specifics of the situation and fairly assign responsibility for this mess, we are unjust to some public servants who have acted with integrity and we allow this dysfunction to continue. We elected thus government, and they are divided because the American people are divided.

    If a bully punches a kid in the face and demands her lunch money and they both get reprimanded for not getting along, is that just? I don’t think so. It’s just easier for the teacher. Sometimes justice demands taking sides. And doing it right can be hard work.

  252. Start over? Toss them all off the island? Our government is so broken and in such need of an overhaul… It’s more about independent careers than working towards a common, collective goal – for the people, by the people. It gives me a migraine to even think about where to begin to fix things. But if there is one thing we can do to start helping the people, it’s support local businesses. A handcrafted card might cost more at the neighborhood card shop, but buying one at Walmart only funds foreign countries and places us, as a country, into greater debt. Let’s keep our local business owners running and profitable!

  253. You are quite wonderful and you write beautifully, clearly, and thoughtfully. Thank you so much for putting all of that so gracefully.

  254. You said, “And in the absence of the government…we are the Government” but you are wrong, and I’m betting Victor may have said this a time or three, but we are the Government. Period. No absence anything. WE are The People, and right now the shitheads in DC – on BOTH sides – are not doing the job we hired them to do.

    I like the Australian solution – fire ’em all.

  255. The title of this post should really be “We are BETTER than the Government”, because we totally are. I would bet that the average American does more to make this country a better place than any pompous, overpaid politician. It isn’t the government, but the PEOPLE that make this country great!! And it is the small acts of kindness that truly add up to something significant, not the empty promises and show-boating that goes on in DC. I think many of us needed this post right now to remind us of that fact. Don’t let yourselves be overwhelmed by the BS and remember that even one small act of kindness can make a difference. Thank you, Jenny!

  256. Thank you so much for this. I work for a non-profit in Delaware. We operate 3 stationary pantries in the area including the highest volume pantry in the state and I literally posted a request for baby items and canned goods on our Facebook page minutes before reading this. WIC still has funding for now, but they estimate it will be gone by the end of the month unless the government gets it together. Please take the time to look for local pantries (not just Food Banks – Food Banks provide food to pantries at cost) and see what items they might need.

  257. “Jenny Lawson: Activist and Voice of the People.”
    That has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
    Well done. Jenny.
    Well done.

  258. Great post Jenny. I’m on it. Will check out what our local food bank is doing http://www.operationhopect.org/.
    Huge local employer Sikorsky has furloughed 2,000 employees and they are all waiting (without pay) for our representatives on either side to do their jobs.

  259. This is exactly the type of post that we bloggers need to be writing! Thank you Jenny for leading the way!!! Bureaucratic gibberish and expert analysis of why there’s a shut-down and what it means is all I’ve been seeing on the Internet. My husband is among those that were furloughed. We don’t need to know why this has happened – we need to know how we’re going to survive because it has happened! Posts like this are a God-send! Thank you, Jenny!

  260. As usual, my sentiments exactly. A very responsible post and very much needed. Fanning the flames has been done, but solution based responses to the current crisis is a rarity this week. Definitely motivated to do my part in helping!!!

  261. Thanks for keeping us all in the right frame of mind. I just donated to Feeding America. Never would have thought of it without your prodding.

  262. Thank you for just putting something positive out there. I have been so down in the dumps about the whole stupid situation.

  263. You know, this situation does give us an opportunity to demonstrate that as private citizens we’re better at government than government is. What do you suppose they’d do if they woke up next week and discovered we’ve moved on and don’t need them anymore?

    Off to find someone who could use my help.

  264. I’m thus far incredibly impressed with you and this blog. Snarky but with a heart. Nice combo.

    And would you look at that. My spellcheck doesn’t believe snarky is a real word and it’s arguing with the word spellcheck as well. Unsure if that makes spellcheck schizophrenic.

    I digress.

    I concur with this post. You’re suggestions are going into my GTD inbox. Help a neighbor. Do random acts of charitable kindness. Donate what you can. Pet a kitten.

    No this isn’t sarcasm. I’m being quite sincere.

  265. Thanks for making my day in the midst of this idiocy. Appreciate the kick in the pants to not just sit here and rant but to do something good.

  266. Another way to help out is to donate to public schools. They have programs to help families pay their bills, buy food, etc. When government programs shut down, schools see a huge increase of families seeking these resources.

    I teach at an inner-city high school in Arizona, and we even have a “community closet” where anyone can come and get clothes and shoes, but it needs to be stocked with donations. We also give students a backpack with enough food to feed a family of four over the weekend every Friday. Then they bring the bag back on Monday. If there is enough food, it gets filled again on Friday.

    You can call your local school and see how to donate to these programs.

    (Amen. Also, http://www.donorschoose.org is awesome because it lets teachers tell you what they need and you can donate what you can. ~ Jenny)

  267. Thanks for the reminder to donate blood. I am furloughed and may as well do so!

  268. I am a single mother to 3 children. We live on Social Security that we receive because the kiddo’s dad passed away last year. My kids rely on reduced lunches for food during the school year. This is a scary time for us. It’s nice to think about the small things we can do instead of focusing on the fear that our life is going to fall apart because the politicians can’t get their shit together. Thank you, Jenny, for refocusing my thinking on the issue. I may not have money to donate, but I can donate time and blood.

  269. Hey Jen,
    I wanted you to know that this post gave me the where-with-all to answer a family member who was banging on and on about the situation but not offering any solutions. Thanks!

  270. I so adore you guys. These comments are all real and unmoderated. This is a horrific subject filled with strong opinions and outrage, yet hundreds of comments in no one is yelling at each other. People are coming together to help, or to ask for help, and so many of you have given fantastic ideas to help others. I especially love all the furloughed or struggling people who can’t afford to donate money, but who said instead they’d go donate blood or volunteer. I am so damn lucky to have a community of people who care so much and who remind me of the good in the world. I’d suggest replacing congress with everyone in this comment section but I suspect most of us are too drunk on cheap wine to plan a revolution. Once the wine runs out though…

  271. Jenny, donating to a food bank or women’s shelter is a great response to craptastic situation. I moved to San Antonio 2 years ago and I’ve been looking for one or more local charities to get involved with. Do you have any to recommend? I prefer to work with local groups especially the ones that don’t have national support and need volunteers and funds the most. You always seem to find great, worthwhile groups so I’m hoping you have a few local options to recommend.

    (I always donate to the Women’s Shelter in New Braunfels because I know the people there, but there are several good San Antonio options too. ~ Jenny)

  272. For a while I was making bead bookmarks for sale. In 2007 I started making bookmarks with blue beads and a donkey at one end and red beads and an elephant at the other end and I’d put up a sign saying these were bookmarks for people who understood that we needed to hang together or the nation would fall apart. Everyone picked them up and chortled but no one (NO ONE) ever bought one. And right now I’m feeling like no one in America really every bought into the idea at all.

    I’d love to subscribe to this blog but didn’t see a button?????

    (There’s a way to subscribe, but I don’t really know how. I think it’s on feedly maybe? Or feed burner? I should probably know these things. I suck at blogging. ~ Jenny)

  273. So many people are bunny-quick to jump on the blame train, but can’t be bothered with practical solutions. Thank you so much for being the voice of reason.

    I’m realizing the irony in that, but I stand by it.

  274. In most regions, 2-1-1 will connect you to information and referral for local social services. Those operators are often aware of which organizations are being stretched thin by demands, what people need most, and where you can help. It’s a free call, and you’ll probably be able to make a significant impact in your local area.

  275. Like I tell my two kindergarteners, kindness. Which means pre-schoolers are running our government because they don’t understand the principle.

    When it comes to the next election, I suggest firing them all (they work for us, right?), no matter what party, and get fresh faces in there. That’s gotta help. If you don’t do your job, you get fired, aren’t those the rules?

  276. Amen, right on, and hot diggity.

    What a great way to turn frustration into something useful.

    My friends at the American Cancer Society pointed out that this is happening too — the NIH is gravely impacted by the shutdown, as are cancer patients relying on clinical trials: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/bipartisan-movement-25-democrats-break-leadership-and-vote-fund-nih


    I don’t know what we can do about that, but at the very least, we could get in touch with our lawmakers.

  277. First of all, I love your blog. Your sense of humor is rare and makes me laugh out loud at my desk. However, I want to make one comment about what you said in this post…

    “We’re all in this together. And in the absence of the government…we are the Government.”

    I just want to remind all of us that WE are the government whether the government is shut or open. As Americans, we have fought for a government that is for the people and by the people. The scary thought is this idea that without the government we can’t go on. Your suggestions for us all to pull together as a community to help people should be the way we think always. I include myself as I can be a lazy apathetic ass. Maybe if I get off my lazy butt I’ll try to convince everyone that since this government would prefer to bicker and snicker at our expense, we should toss them all out. I digress. Your blog is one that makes me smile and apparently think. Thanks!

  278. Just gave $50 to my local food bank because of this post. Thanks for the reminder to help others; sometimes I get so focused on my own shit I forget that there’s a rest of the world.

  279. Jen, you are beyond awesome! Too bad you can’t bottle some of your common sense and send it to those who so desperately need it right now!

  280. My plan is to ignore the whole “sky is falling” thing, keep on doing my part to be a good citizen of my neighborhood, take care of my family and tenants and support my local businesses. If each person (including those in government positions) stopped worrying about what everyone else is doing and started acting right in their own home, their own town, their own family, their own job, the entire country would be in balance. But that responsibility belongs to each person individually. I’m taking care of mine.

  281. This is a very small suggestion, but easy and free to do.

    When you shop, get the name of someone who was doing their job. Email the store, and tell the manager that employee was doing it right. Customer compliments are so rare in retail, many employers I’ve worked for will reward the employee. At minimum wage, those gift certificates and store credits, even for small amounts, can represent an extra hour or two’s pay for someone who is working and trying to support their family.

  282. As a mother, it’s easy to see two kids on the playground sticking their fingers in their ears and screaming “it’s your fault, now give me my cookie!” when the cookie is shattered on the ground in front of them.

    They should be sent to their rooms for a time out.

    For now, I like your idea of helping where we can.

  283. “I don’t expect that anyone in the government will read this.”

    I think that the NSA would ordinarily be reading your blog posts/email/phone records/brain waves, but they may have been furloughed. On the plus side, this leaves them more time to work on organizing their vasts collections of p0rn photos. No wait, they can’t, because those galleries are stored on their *work* computers, and they’re locked out of their offices!

    Wow, this shutdown has more dire consequences than I imagined.

    Side note: doesn’t a country that’s more than 200 years old deserve more than *two* creaky, sagging, cellulite-ridden political parties (each of which has been around for more than 100 years)?

    Anyone up for reviving the Whigs? How about a 21st-century Bull Moose party?

  284. I have a backyard flock of chickens that give us more eggs than we need, so I’ve always donated extras to my daughter’s school by taking a big basket of them into the teacher’s lounge every week. I’ll also take some to the local food bank in town. I think lots of folks with backyard flocks or fruit/vegetable gardens that find themselves with extra from their harvest would be happy to do the same thing. 🙂

  285. i love this. i’m doing my weekly food shopping later today. i’m in between jobs right now and money is super tight for my husband and i, but i’m going to see what’s on sale and spend a few extra bucks for the local food pantries.

    the other thing that i know others have mentioned is writing your reps. seriously – do this. write them, email them, tweet them. someone is in charge of reading all that shit. we are the people they represent – we voted for them. if we like/don’t like what they’re doing, bitch about it. all of the senators and house members have emails, and i know all of my locals have twitter handles. get at them!

  286. Someone mentioned Les Mis in one of the comments. I’d now like to see a few hundred people standing outside the White House (or the Capitol building or somewhere – being British, I’m not sure which building would be most appropriate) singing Do You Hear the People Sing. Maybe the government would take the hint.

    Someone please organise this. And film it.

  287. I knew I loved your book but I love you more for this post. Thank you for the slap in the face, or thanks for getting “stabby” on me. I will be making a donation to my favorite Women’s Shelter today.

  288. It’s important to remember that the longer the shutdown goes one, the bigger its reach will be. I work for a non-profit company that works with the national parks to run their gift shops and next week we’re cut down to 2 days in our principle office. Our field staff has already not been unable to work this week because all of the stores on park property. It’s scary to think what will happen if this keeps up.

  289. I’m terrified that I won’t get my food stamps next month because that will ruin Thanksgiving (not to mention a whole month of not eating) because I am allergic to everything (yeast – so no stuffing or canned veggies,or commercial turkeys, etc.) so getting food from a food bank would feed my family but not me. I hope it resolves itself by then.

  290. Maybe this is too negative, and if so, sorry. But I really wish I could donate blood. I don’t have the extra money to give away, but blood would come back. Too bad I’m in a committed 6 year long relationship with another man and we are sexually active…

    Pity the regulations against gay men donating blood aren’t also shut down.

  291. Ranty, stabby and blamey. I love you.

    Donate blood. Be nice. Donate time and money to food banks and shelters. And although I’m unsure of the extent to which animal shelters are federally funded, I am planning to donate food and my time to my local one.

    Thank you for the post. Keep singing it, sister.

  292. Also please don’t forget about the Veterans. My husband is a veteran getting paid to go to college with the education benefits program through the GI Bill and our family has already been affected by the shutdown. His check which was supposed to come early October is going to be 1/5 of what it should have been. Not only that it is late in arriving. There is now no one to call at the VA call center as they were shutdown yesterday. Our rent is now past due and will have to start selling what little assets we have (i.e. – my car)in order to feed our family and pay the bills. I know that some people have it worse then us though. Just please remember the veterans in all of this. The men and women that have risked their lives for a county that is now causing them a great deal of pain and worry. From those with PTSD or the amputees that can’t work to the 30 year old marine that is trying to further his education to better provide for his family. Thanks, and share the love!

  293. Thank you. Part of my job involves organizing donation drives or other charity-type events for staff or the residents where I work to participate in. I just called our local Meals on Wheels, since some of the residents receive those, to offer to do a drive of some sort. Luckily, they said they have enough funds through the end of the year. I am glad you told me to call, though.

  294. Stabby and helpless, here. Furloughed spouse, who is still showing up and doing his job, without a pay check.

    My 5-year old’s class seems better at conflict resolution. Ugh.

  295. I love this. I’m reading this on my fourth furlough day. Got an email this morning that I can claim unemployment insurance this weekend. Oh-my husband goes to part time next week. The crazy thing is that my job is to direct programs to help people find work and get re-trained. Those people looking for work are running out of options too.

    I’m having trouble being patient with the people posting anti-Obamacare stuff on facebook. You are missing the big picture here.

    Sigh-I’m going to spend today deep cleaning the house otherwise I might get more depressed.

  296. I just wanted to say that I love this. Thank you for being a decent human being. I firmly believe we need to stop relying on the government to solve things and just do what we can to make shit better.

    You are my hero.

  297. just found out my grandson’s science camp to the teton’s and yellowstone has been cancelled. he cried. he will never have this opportunity again because it is only offered in the grade he is in now. damn, this pissing contest has got to stop!!!

  298. Because of your post, Senior Services of Northern Kentucky received a $100 donation yesterday. This money will provide 20 Home Delivered Meals to hungry seniors. I’d like to personally thank you for caring and for encouraging others to make a difference in their communities. Way to go Blogess!

  299. United Way. It’s a great organization. Donations to them help so many people. Also, if possible, try to volunteer your time, not just your money. And not just to a “downtown organization” but in your immediate neighborhood or through your church. When your hand is out to help another human being, it’s also open to receive – and what we receive when we give to others (service, compassion, whatever) we receive back ten-fold. If we are self-reliant ourselves, and if we use our time, talents and personal resources to lift others, we won’t need to depend on a (flaky-as-piecrust) government for everything!!!

  300. My suggestions are wash your hands and thoroughly cook your food. The shutdown is currently affecting food safety inspections as well as the CDC. Cases of food borne illnesses could rise if we are not all vigilant during this time. While sharing is good, let’s not share disease.

    (I don’t work for either of those organizations, I just don’t like being sick.)

  301. There’s another BIG way you can help. Stop taking things from the government (our tax money) if you don’t really need it. It’s really not free. It hurts others. Do you have your own cell phone AND an “Obama phone”. (Don’t attack me, many people do and think it’s ok because “everyone does it” and “everyone knows everyone does it”). Give it back. Are you hiding the fact that you let your significant (and well employed) other move into your subsidized housing ? Get out so someone who really needs the subsidy can get in. Etc, etc. I see it everyday where I work.

    There would be PLENTY for those who really need, if everyone who’s “working the system” would stop taking what they aren’t entitled to. I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but at least I said it out loud.

  302. Thanks for being an inspiration during this ridiculousness. You helped me channel my anger at the situation into more productive actions: I just donated to a local food bank and a local shelter. You’re a pretty awesome person.

  303. We need to have our pitch-forks ready. And be like the Girl-Scouts – “BE PREPARED”

  304. This is just one more reason to love you and your site. I hadn’t even gotten further than rolling my eyes and deciding to vote for anyone who’s never been elected before. I’ll work on some donations around Seattle.


  305. Dropped off baby formula, diapers and wipes at the local food pantry today. Our Cub Scouts are doing a food drive for them next weekend.

    I can’t believe a pack of Cub Scouts is more responsive to the needs of our community than our elected leaders — wait a minute, I can easily believe that. Just hope these great kids stay responsive as they grow up (and I’m not calling them great kids just because my kid is one).

  306. Well, so you know a few posts ago, you were questioning whether you were normal, Jenny (if I can be so bold as to call you by your first name like we know each other)? Well, you’re not. You’re like super-human. I read this blog regularly and have read about the struggles that you can go through on a daily basis– and you’re big enough to write something like this? With all the things that are right in front of your face, you’re a big, kind enough person to see beyond that– and further, to suggest we all band together to accomplish something good.

    That’s big. You’re larger than life. I am in awe of your clarity and selflessness. And I’m in– donating to a youth shelter as we speak.

    You’re the bomb.

  307. Damia (#91), thanks for the link to feministhulk. I sent them info for another resource in NJ that they didn’t have on the list.

    And also thanks for the donating blood reminder! Made an appointment.

  308. Thank you Jenny!

    To all those furloughed or otherwise suffering from this mess, my love and thoughts are with you.

  309. I just posted links on my FB page so my local peeps can make donations online that will stay in the community. We are #6 on the list of impacted communities. I also made it a public post so if anyone happens by my page that is restricted they can see it and it might make them think.

    This is a super, super great thing you are doing and I love how it is rippling out. You are awesome!

  310. I have a PetCo card and a Walmart card I can donate if someone is really hurting. I am out of a job currently…..but my husband has his job and I have family that won’t let me crash and burn. But if your animals are doing without…….I can send a PetCo card. If your babies are hurting……I can send a Walmart card

  311. As a member of a 2- Fed family, we are at income=0. If we knew how long this would be, it would be easier to plan. As it is, it’s pretty sucky around here. Anxiety doesn’t help much (understatement). I want to thank you for your post. It is remarkable how many people respond to our indeterminate furlough situation by talking politics. My job and my agency have nothing to do with Obamacare, and we are just a local family in the community that has been caught in the crossfire. Your response is much more helpful and appreciated. Thank you.

  312. If any reader is in the Hampton Roads area and needs something, please get in touch with me. I don’t have a lot, but I have what I need. Southernfriedpugs at gmail dot com. Although no babysitting. I’m allergic to kids.

  313. I truly love what you have written and the entire meaning behind it! thank you for reminding us all that we can and should help our fellow neighbor and we do not need the government for that.
    And may I point out one very important message we need to ALL remember, even if our government is “absent” we should never forget that this country is OURs, “the people”; so no matter if the government is closed or open for business, we have been and I pray always will be a nation that has a government that is built on the premise that our government is “…of the people, by the people, and for the people”. (Abraham Lincoln) – not the other way around.

  314. Some programs require a certain income ‘proof’ so people can’t get help right away, but if you know anyone personally, that needs help, a little handshake with an envelope in it wouldn’t go amiss. Obviously the holidays is a big issue. This may blow over and only last a week, which most people would get ‘back’ paid for, most likely, but if it goes on longer, remember Toys for Tots, local church programs, or perhaps setting something up with your local grocery store (don’t they always do turkey giveaways?) for you to give away your ‘free’ one or purchase a few to donate yourself and ask the store to do a drawing if they would. You may need to ‘think outside the box/pre-determined facilities/programs’ to reach everyone in need unless you know them personally.

    Our church JUST did a ‘free yard sale’, one weekend was drop off and the next was distribution. The leftovers went to salvation army.

  315. I’ve also set up an Amazon subscribe & save for our local food pantry — will be sending them baby formula, diapers, wipes, toothpaste & toothbrushes on a monthly schedule (those items are always on their request list). I figure if I set it up to go automatically, I won’t forget (plus I can send more since Amazon gives a 20% discount on 5+ subscriptions).

  316. Meals on Wheels, or your equivalent, volunteer to help deliver, prepare, serve, or donate money.
    local soup kitchen – money, service, just go ask and do it.
    churches often host food delivery for commodities, ask what the alternatives are, or just show up with a load of stuff, they will know what groups in town to get it to and they won’t require you to attend. just ask the secretary where to drop off donations.
    women’s shelter, safe house – just go donate lots of stuff.
    mental health treatment centers – often, this is the only place men can get help. our little town does not have a homeless shelter, but we have a mental health treatment center that coordinates with other local groups.
    local schools – donate. just about every school has some sort of program to help kids in the district, and often will provide clothing, food, monetary aid to to whole families as they are able.
    girl scouts, boy scouts, cub scouts, 4-H, any sort of youth club – ask, if they aren’t running a drive right now, they know where you can take stuff.
    blood – check again churches, schools, colleges.
    Red Cross – they know about blood drives and lots of other places to help out.
    colleges – service groups with these young people do a great job. Plus, the schools often run a food pantry for students with families.
    public health clinic – go and ask. they can probably give you a list of drop off points.
    United Way – donate money. they spread it all over.
    VA – if there isn’t one in your town, look up the closest one in your state.
    your city council – they will know what groups are in your town and how to contact them.
    salvation army – money. often, they already have a lot of clothing but will try to help other ways, or may know of other groups.
    animal shelter – food, bedding, straw, toys, mostly money.
    there are a ton of ways to help people. you just have to look and then do something.
    Do something with loving compassion, not to prove a point or provoke discord, but just because you can, and because there is always somebody somewhere who needs help no matter what the world is doing around them, even if it’s just a smile, and letting someone ahead of you in line.

  317. Freaking Brilliant (and I’m a little jealous that I didn’t think of it first!!)

  318. My Meijer has a store card you can scan to donate shopping dollars to the local food pantry. Also, please let’s not forget these folks’ pets – in my area, the food pantry takes donations to help feed them as well. The animal shelters, adoption centers and foster homes are all more than full; a donation of pet food can keep companion animals homed and alive.

  319. I have a sign hanging in my dining room that says “We Are All Each Other’s Angels.” That seems to be your message today and I am proud of you for posting it.

  320. I’m broke, working only part-time and very sporadically, and homeless to boot. I’ve been couchsurfing and housesitting for friends, but the last gig is up and I don’t know where I’ll be sleeping after Monday. My SNAP benefits were cancelled because they called the wrong number and didn’t reach me, so I’m waiting to (hopefully) be re-approved. And my unemployment benefits have been held up for over a month, due to an internal error that’s completely out of my control.

    I’m not complaining, and I’m not asking for pity. All of this is to illustrate that I can’t really donate money or food or much of anything, so I’m going to do the one thing on Jenny’s list of suggestions that I know I can…I’m going to be nice. To anyone and everyone, and that includes myself. Because in all of this crap that I, that we, are all going through, I deserve a little bit of nice, too.

    Hugs and good thoughts to all who are going through a tough time!

  321. Best comment I have read in reference to the gubmint shutdown. This was a reply to a person in Alaska who missed the spectacular aurora borealis a couple nights ago. “Oh, I expect they were shut down over the US, Joyce. You’d have had to cross the border to catch them.”

    Great post, Jenny. So much better to Do Something than just to sit around Blaming Someone.

  322. Looking at it from Canada, I’m not sure what we can do…but we’re keeping our fingers crossed for all of you, and hoping things get ironed out quickly.

  323. JFKDSLAJFKLSDAHGOIDSARJWL:SAFNSD That’s pretty much all I can say about the government shut down.

    Other than that, thank you Jenny for making me pull my head out of my ass for a few moments to realize that other people are suffering and I can help.

  324. Further thoughts:

    Another program that has recently come under Congress’ scythe is SNAP.
    SNAP, among other things, enables low income folks buy healthy foods at local farmers markets.
    I’ve seen the program in action at my local farmers market, and it is a GOOD one.
    With it, low-income families are able to buy sustainably grown, organic Non-GMO foods they wouldn’t have access to otherwise.
    Please- contact your local markets and find out how you can help. Start a donation voucher program. Buy token or farm bucks or whatever they use for debit payment and ask market organizers to hand them out to people in need. Act locally, because our “global economy” is a bloody bad joke.

  325. Well said! Rice and dried beans are shelf stable and with some canned meat (also shelf stable) can make a complete meal, especially if you toss in a can of tomatoes and possibly some other veggies. I stock up on the rice and beans at the dollar tree each time I’m in there and take them to church to give to the local Food Pantry.

  326. Meals on wheels programs for senior citizens are also in jeopardy as they count on federal dollars which are now on hold. Some clients of MOW rely on the program as the only meal they receive each day. Make a contribution to your local MOW program.

  327. Great post, Jenny! I’ve been doing something that isn’t related to the shutdown but is something pretty much anyone can do at any time: I send my unused coupons to military families. I keep the coupon inserts after I cut things out, and when I amass enough to fill a Priority Mail envelope, I send it over to a family in Germany. We can’t afford to make financial donations very often, but every month or so I can spend $5.60 to hopefully save military families (the recipients usually share with other families) lots of money on groceries. U.S. military families can use coupons for up to 6 months past their expiration dates. No sense letting all that money go to waste, and I feel good that I’m contributing something to military families that are so far from home. Not only do they get to save money, they get to see what new Packers crap is being offered for sale (high-heeled shoe knick-knacks or ornaments with Packers logos on it and – my personal favorite – the cuckoo clock all decked out with Packers stuff. The cuckoo bird comes out wearing a football helmet for goodness sake!). I hope it amuses them as much as it does me. Anyway – the website to sign up and be matched with a family is http://www.couponstotroops.com/. Please check it out!

    (btw, that video of the raccoon that Naom Steffanson posted in comment 101 was unbelievably hilarious.)

  328. Thank you so much for posting this. My husband, along with all of his co-workers, was just fired by the government contractor they worked for. Turns out, they were sick of not getting paid. Well, we can relate. It is nice to know that someone out their cares about the people involved here instead of the politics.

  329. Bless you Jenny! So many good ideas and suggestions. I have one to add. Do your best to stay away from all the negative crap, it can only add stress and misery. I haven’t watched the news in years, because it’s bed for my mental health in general, but now especially, there’s nothing good to say and besides that, not even anything new to say. Just the same old things over and over driving us into a frenzy of rage and depression. It’s harder for me to not click on an article b.ut I do my best to resist because I know it can only make me feel worse. So, even though it’s hard, I’m doing my best to ignore all the “coverage”.

    I’ve even sworn off facebook for the time being. I believe my exact quote was, “The level of crazy has exceeded my bullshit tolerance. Enjoy your insanity and have a beautiful day!”

    It’s really good to have concrete ideas for positive things t do to fill in the space left by the negative.

  330. A lot of people are saying “Jenny for President.” I say, “Screw that, JENNY FOR QUEEN!”

    We’ve needed a Queen for a while now and darn it, we the people get to decide.
    So all in favor say aye. “AYE!”
    All opposed say nay.
    Any abstentions?
    Motion carried.


  331. Just wanted you to know that my company’s corporate HR director quoted YOU as a guest contributor to our CEO’s daily blog … Your notariety spans industries, companies, corporations, and the powers-that-be in addition to your ever-faithful following of lemmings. We love you Jenny! And I quote the beginning of his blog (the rest is typical corporate-speak and would bore Sheldon of the Big Bang Theory,…):

    “Jenny Lawson, the author of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, has a chapter called The Dark and Disturbing Secrets HR Doesn’t Want You to Know. She, being an ex-HR “professional”, states there are 3 types of people who choose a career in HR. I am quoting here so don’t shoot the messenger:

    1.Sadistic a**holes who were probably all tattle-tales in school;
    2. Empathetic idealists who think they can make a difference in the lives of others; and
    3. Those who stick around because it gives you the best view of all the most entertaining train wrecks happening in the rest of the company.”

    Gotta LOVE it!!

  332. Not to waste money when people are going without, so may I suggest both helping someone in need (either directly or indirectly via the charities listed) AND starting a collection to save up enough money to send every member of Congress a letter kindly requesting they immediately return to office and also a T-shirt to wear while in said office that says (idea from your brilliant last post): “I get shit DONE, Motherfucker!”. Maybe if they all had a shirt like that it would help? Couldn’t hurt.

  333. Love this!! What a great post! And such a great way of thinking about others. It’s totally scary and sad that our government is shut down right now.

  334. Where do you get this shit from?
    3rd paragraph, 2nd sentence: “I’m also a human being, so…..”
    Your mind is like no other. I think the jury is still out on that human being statement.

  335. Another thing that Americans can do is become affiliated with a political party, and vote for every moderate you can find in the primaries. We the people need to elect some folks who will work together to keep the government running.

  336. Here’s the issue: our government, the whole lot of them, are acting like petulant children. The dems won’t concede to anything and the republicans won’t budge an inch. The POTUS refuses to negotiate with either side, even though it’s his fucking job to at least facilitate a dialogue between both sides of the aisle. NONE of them are doing the will of the People who elected them.

    I think Boehner, Obama and Reed should be locked in a room until they either work this shit out or kill each other, whichever come first. Then the rest of the government needs to be fired. I am sick to death of being ruled by a bunch of insecure men locked in a perpetual pissing contest.

    They need to get the fuck over themselves and do their damn jobs!

    I do have an idea that could stop this shit from ever happening again though…
    The next time there is some bill or item within a bill that is in contention, both sides settle it a la Thunderdome. Two men enter, one man leave. The winner gets his party’s bill passed as long as it’s not unconstitutional.

    Thunderdome would be broadcast live via pay per view and the proceeds would go to help the needy and vets. We cull the herd of idiots and create an incentive for these fucktwats to get along…or else.

    It could work.

  337. I had lunch with my friend who is a park ranger, who is now without pay, waiting to figure out when the hell she’ll get some money into her bank account again. So, yes. We’ll be calling our food bank and figuring out ways to help our friends and neighbors. Thanks for an awesome post to remind us to get off our butts and DO something.

  338. I’ve never left a comment on your blog but this post stirred something in me. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being a sensible voice in the middle of the madness! I am so sick of hearing people throwing blame out there. (Seriously, Facebook is making me seriously stabby right now.) It’s nice to read something positive! As for suggestions, I can’t think of any off the top of my head but I will keep thinking and get back to you!

  339. Here’s the issue: our government, the whole lot of them, are acting like petulant children. The dems won’t concede to anything and the republicans won’t budge an inch. The POTUS refuses to negotiate with either side, even though it’s his fucking job to at least facilitate a dialogue between both sides of the aisle. NONE of them are doing the will of the People who elected them.

    I think Boehner, Obama and Reed should be locked in a room until they either work this shit out or kill each other, whichever come first. Then the rest of the government needs to be fired. I am sick to death of being ruled by a bunch of insecure men locked in a perpetual pissing conteslt.

    They need to get the fuck over themselves and do their damn jobs!

    I do have an idea that could stop this shit from ever happening again though…
    The next time there is some bill or item within a bill that is in contention, both sides settle it a la Thunderdome. Two men enter, one man leave. The winner gets his party’s bill passed as long as it’s not unconstitutional.

    Thunderdome would be broadcast live via pay per view and the proceeds would go to help the needy and vets. We cull the herd of idiots and create an incentive for these fucktwats to get along…or else.

    It could work.

  340. Some people don’t feel good about accepting handouts. I have found that a really good way is to say “I made way to much food, do you want some?” That is a good way to give people stuff without them feeling patronized.

  341. Thank you, Voice of Reason. I’m in a “let’s fire all the assholes” sort of mood (I don’t get to collect MY salary while childishly refusing to do my job), but the blame game doesn’t get milk to hungry children.

    So until the assholes get their shit together, check on your elderly neighbors. Offer rides to work. Donating into the ether is a very generous thing to do, and I’m all for it, but it you actually know a real live person who is struggling, a much better way to get help to them quickly is to hand them cash, buy them some groceries, or offer to pay their electric bill.

    And yeah, it’s rough times, so let’s try extra hard to be nice to each other.

  342. I flew home this week to attend my brother’s two-week-old child’s memorial service. I’m reminded that the government is nothing to stress over. We all make it somehow, unless you’re born prematurely, then life truly sucks.

  343. I’m still shocked there aren’t any groups starting a campaign to oust every single incumbent in the next election. We need to send a message that while we may disagree on issues, if our government won’t do their job at all, we’ll fire them. Party doesn’t matter, you can oust an incumbent in a primary as effectively as an election. Governments that don’t do anything are one of the main signs of a country about to disintigrate into a revolution.

  344. My husband works for the government. He’s considered essential, but, as we all know that translates to “has to work without getting paid” these days. We don’t have money to spare right now because, who knows how long this is going to take to play out. But, under the heading of being nice? I am sending baked goods to my husband’s office. Everyone working there is working without pay. They are not able to do some of the things they usually do that can help the people that they usually help. Morale is pretty low. I figure baked goods can at least let them know that someone cares what’s happening to them.

    As for advice? Other than what’s already been said, I guess the best I can do is this… when someone you know is out a paycheck because of the mess in Washington DC, they don’t really want to hear about politics, how you support one side or the other, how one side or the other is being assholes. We know that. We can’t do anything about it. We’re much more concerned about how we’re going to manage to pay the bills that are coming due. Offering sympathy or a hug would be so much better than rants on partisan politics.

  345. My husband is also a government employee who is considered essential. We still don’t know if he’ll be getting paid… none of the people who do payroll have an answer sooooo we have to wait until payday to see if it hits our account! He also worked an overtime the day the government shut down and we just found out he may or may not get paid for that extra 8 hours! It’s very frustrating to say the least!!!
    My heart is a little lighter and I even smiled a few times while reading your post and the comments people left.

  346. I’ve been thinking about this post ever since you put it up. Then I saw a Facebook friend mention that she is worried about how they’re going to pay their bills and put food on the table because of the shutdown and I knew I had to do something. She is a civilian contractor with the military and her husband is a federal employee, so her small check is all they have coming in right now and she wasn’t sure how long that would last.

    She and I have never met in person, but last year during Hurricane Isaac, she offered us a place to stay (we live only 100 miles or so from the Gulf Coast and she lives further north). So if I can ease her worry a little bit, then I will. This morning, I sent her some money via Paypal. I don’t know if she realized at the time how much her offer of a place to stay last year meant to me, but today I got to do something to show her.

    Thank you for this post.

  347. I totally agree…

    spell check is a douche.

    ma’am you have a heart of gold. no matter how muddled your grey matter gets or horrible spell check is to you. you always shine through.

  348. I assumed that there would be policies in place to stop governments from having childish temper tantrums! I don’t know anyone affected as I’m in the UK, but hope they come to a reasonable agreement and get everything running again soon.

  349. To blog or not to blog about this topic? Without being partisan. You’ve done such a wonderful job of it I figured I’d take a deep breath and take the plunge myself. You’re an inspiration!

  350. I’m writing this from a side that I haven’t seen expressed yet – that of the struggling military family (and I apologize if I missed someone else posting).

    My husband has been active duty Army for nearly 15 years, and up until now I’ve never heard him speak negatively about what he’s chosen to do. He sees the news about the shutdown, reads about the government programs shutting down, and is astounded. He can’t believe that the government who he has sworn to protect is basically turning it’s back on the people who have given up so much, sacrificed so much, for them.

    On our local military base, the Commissary has shut down. The clinics for the troops have shut down. Soldiers are scrambling to make ends meet while their families are trying to hold it together as well. So many of us are trying to figure out how to help others while struggling ourselves.

    Your ideas are wonderful, and I sincerely hope that you’ve inspired your readers to be proactive, to see that they can make a significant change in the lives of others. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

  351. Thanks Jenny for the support. I live in the DC area, and my family has been strongly affected by the shutdown in that my husband has been furloughed and I am currently working for IOUs. We are not in a terrible position yet, and there are others in a far worse place than we are but the uncertainty of how long this will go on has weighed on all of us.

  352. I’m new here but I thought I’d tell how impressed I am with your post and ALL the comments. My brother is currently in Afghanistan now with his 2nd round and they haven’t had TV or air conditioning in the barracks since the gov’t decided to go on holiday. That means the 6 hours of day they actually get to them selves they still chose to sit outside in +90 degree weather to attempt to catch a breeze. Now THAT’s working for your country…..not sure what the Hell congress calls what their doing!!
    My 2 cents

  353. I was just thinking I needed to catch up on my charitable donations, so you post is timely. Thank you for that. Just made a donation to my local food bank.

  354. Pretty sure you and I vote very differently. That said this post is perfect. Stop pointing fingers and sit down at a table and figure it out. You donkeys are supposed to be smart. You run for office on all the things you are going to do. DO SOMETHING NOW. Stop acting like spoiled children.

  355. Thanks for lighting a candle while so many of us were wasting energy cursing the darkness.
    For those who want to do more:
    * You can find local food pantries that have gotten 4 star ratings from Charity Navigator here –http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.results&cgid=6&cuid=18&overallrtg=4;
    * You can find 4 star-rated programs for families and individuals dealing with homelessness here– http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.results&cgid=6&cuid=28&overallrtg=4
    * And if you’d like to help families of active and returning service people (who tend to get screwed even when the government isn’t shut down), go to Operation Homefront — http://www.operationhomefront.net/

  356. Long-time reader, first-time poster. Ms. Lawson, I have never before professed my undying love to someone I have never met, but I’m going there now! You are absolutely amazing. Never stop. And after reading almost 500 comments, I have to say, you have a wonderful, caring community who are out there doing fabulous things. Might I suggest the following? Know someone who is facing some tough times? What about sending them flowers for the heck of it? I find out next week if I’ll be furloughed, and I’ve ordered flowers to arrive on Thursday. They lift my spirit. Pick up trash on your walk. Recycle. And be nice to yourself. Don’t say things to yourself you would never, ever say to someone else!

  357. Thank you. Both my boyfriend and I are currently out of work and while we’ll probably be fine , I know people who are going to seriously struggle without a paycheck for an undetermined amount of time.

    It makes me so angry, we work our shit off doing our jobs and congress just decides to not put on their big boy pants and do their job. We’ve had our salaries frozen for a few years and now we’re not even sure when the next check will come in. I don’t know if Congress realizes what they’re doing to our families or if they just don’t care. I’ve seen so many people quit just because they wanted something as simple as a bigger house so their kids will have a yard, or the ability to save for their kid’s college education. It gets *really* frustrating.

    Thanks for suggesting that everyone donate! Everyone be kind, and we’ll all get through this together!!

  358. Great blog and ideas. My husband, a retired Marine and I came up with an idea. Veteran’s groups and scouts could volunteer to deal with the trash that visitor’s are leaving at the various memorials. We need to own our public spaces.

  359. I am not a particularly religions person, but I’m praying for everyone affected. Thinking of them when I meditate and sending positive thoughts and vibes to D.C. I want this to be over with soon!

  360. This is a great post, and I truly agrees with your advice to donate food, blood and be nice.

    But I disagree that it’s scary the we are the government. That is they way it should be. Our government was made for the people, by the people. Don’t be afraid to be the government. Be empowered.

    We ARE the government. And that’s how it should be.

  361. I love you…in a best friend way…..it’s like we share a brain which I know is scary for both of us…..but believe me, it’s a compliment. I am sad that you are correct that no government official will ever read your post. And THAT is a shame…..for many reasons….you make too much sense, you are too kind, and you are too funny. They are not any of these things. So if you run for president, which you are too smart to do, I would/will vote for you. Right now they better watch out…..because they are making all of us STABBY and RANTY and spellcheck can just SHOVE IT! Keep on keeping on!!!!! PS- when you were in Los Angeles last year I made you paper Xanax because I didn’t want either of us to get arrested on drug charges…….next time? I will bring the real deal since by then it’ll probably be the Wild Wild West out here!!!

  362. My fiance is furloughed… with 3 weeks to go until our wedding. Some calculations were done, and we think it could possibly be late November before he sees a full paycheck again. Talk about bad timing. I realize that our situation is not in any way as terrible as so many other’s situations… but the possibility of having to cancel our honeymoon because we have to use every penny wisely right now is a HUGE bummer. This is supposed to be a time of excitement and happiness – right now it’s full of nothing but worry and stress. I really hope our government can get their act together and bring these thousands of people back to work. Thank you for showing various ways we can help one another in this stressful time. 🙂

  363. Done – 400 meals. Thanks for reminding us of what is important.

  364. Support the military whenever you can. Most are hearing that this is not affecting the military, but tla which provides relocation reimbursement for those changing duty stations is down, as are commissaries across the country. If you want to lend a helping hand, look to help military families, especially those with loved ones deployed, carry the current burden of being denied access to their military benefits.

  365. I wandered over here from VBB, and read the post, and most of the comments.

    I would love to help, I truly would, and I could write pages and pages about the sob story that is the reason WHY right now I have nothing to give – no extra food, no extra money, no extra items – we have just enough for my little family to live on, and very little else, but I can be nice.

    Jenny, if you read this comment, a suggestion: People are making wonderful suggestions about numbers to call, information to look into, but it’s all scattered in the comments of the post. Most people aren’t up with insomnia at 2am and willing to scan through them all. If you have the time (I have no idea, do you have the time? I haven’t the slightest clue what you do!), perhaps consolidating all the numbers (such as the 211), or information (such as someone suggesting looking into ‘free’ bank loans), etc, into a single post that people can refer to?

    Like everyone else here, I hope this ends pretty soon. While some of us aren’t ‘directly’ affected by this whole deal, even those of us in regular jobs and not on any type of government assistance are going to be hurt too. We depend on people having a little extra money to buy things from our stores, our shops, our services. If someone normally is on WIC or SNAP or getting disability checks to live on, and that is gone, then all their money, every little cent, is going to go towards basic living, and they won’t have any money for the ‘extras’. Obviously those directly affected are far worse off than those of us who will be indirectly affected, and the sooner we get those people whose lives are being hugely impacted back on their feet, then the rest of us who aren’t as badly impacted can also get back on their feet.

    Given the state of the economy, given all that we’ve come through in the last few years, clinging to our jobs, eking out our day to day life going paycheck to paycheck, you would think that the people running the show would understand just how badly this is going to affect EVERYONE in America. Well, besides themselves, that is.

    But, onto the good things: Even if you aren’t religious, many churches (and I’m sure mosques and temples, and other religious institutions too) run community-helping functions. If you’re at a loss of something to offer, or where to go, you can always call a local church and see if they have any ideas or suggestions, on either what may need doing, or a specific name of someone who could use a helping hand.

    If you live in an area where it’s feasible, and you know your neighbors, you can also try to start up a … a … I don’t know what it would be called! But a giant get together of a bunch of people at one persons house, and the host makes a giant meal for the evening. And then the next night, a different house and a different host and a different meal. It’s often far less expensive per unit of measurement to buy/create in bulk, and this way you aren’t stuck with the same damn meal for lunch and dinner for a week. Given our general solitude and recalcitrance to meet and greet even our own neighbors, while this sounds good in theory, I’m not sure how it would work in actual practice. But then again, I guess that’s the whole point to your post? Get out there and be a neighbor.

    Anyway, thanks for the post. Wonderfully written.

  366. It broke my heart watching my mother die because they would only treat her symptoms and not the root cause. I helped feed her and loved her but that isn’t enough. The insurance battles and withholding food money for the poor is despicable These politicians are truly horrible If this is truly Darwin’s world they would not survive in our world. But we are better than them. We, most likely, would still care for those pathetic politicians. They lack kindness and compassion.

  367. A Canadian blogger here with my 2 cents. From the outside looking in I am baffled at what is going on. How can health care even be an issue? “Shutting Down the Government”. Is that even a real thing? And keeping a paycheck while they are at it! They look like spoiled children. They are putting the noose around their own neck.

    I am going to keep believing that all my friends south of the border will one day have access to affordable health care. It is a right. Article 25 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states,

    ” (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”

    Don’t give up!

  368. Thank you for this fan-fucking-tastic post! This is the BEST post and absolute best thread of comments about the whole mess our elected asshats have gotten us into. Thank you for your voice that sparks action rather than just more blame-game shenanigans.

    You are my favorite blogger.

    Kimberly Knight
    a blogger

  369. If you have a spare room, rent it out to someone. If you don’t need the money, do a barter – you cook and clean, you live for free. Give people a chance to get their feet under them!

  370. so if we are the government do you think if we all got together changed our payroll tax deduction so that no tax is taken out of our paychecks and we all pull this money to fund the programs that are now on hold and pay the government workers that are being furloughed or working without pay it would make a statement to the politicians , especially if no money was going into the government they would not get paid. I keep saying this we have the power to make them wake up. I would love to see this happen for a month and see how they like a shutdown that would affect them.

  371. Sorry. Impossible for me to avoid partisan blamey when there is blamey that should be directed to a specific place. I suggest you stop sleeping with Victor until the government reopens.

  372. Being non-partisan (ie, refusing to place blame where it is deserved) is a dead-end approach. So is donating to your favorite charity/cause and expecting that will change the dynamics in government. Would you rather have emergency relief for hurricane victims or food for poor children? We can’t pick and choose; that’s why we have a government, folks.

    We need to call out and condemn those who are crippling this country. Saying “both sides do it” is a cop-out. The conservatives have shut down the government in order to repeal a law the congress voted in, the President signed, and the Supreme Court upheld, all to deny poor people the opportunity for affordable health care.

    It’s a tough truth, Bloggess folks. If you say you love your country you have to include everyone, because that’s how our country works.

  373. Be there for any AmeriCorps-VISTAs that you know in any way you can. These are people who have put their life on hold to receive a pittance from the government to support programs to make their communities better–and many of them aren’t getting their pittance. They are being fundamentally lied to.