As my husband and I sat flabbergasted at the ruin our country's leaders are leading us into, my 9-year-old son asked us what it meant. We said it means that because Congress can't agree on anything the American people are being punished. The shutdown also means that federal workers will be on unpaid furlough and all of the National Parks will be closed.
The latter part of that is what made him cry. "Isn't that a weird way to run a country?" My son asked. He went on to say that he didn't understand why the government would shut down the National Parks when so many people want to go visit them.
Ironically, Google had this image yesterday, marking the 123rd anniversary of Yosemite National Park. Sadly, no one can go there and celebrate it because it will be closed.
We are scheduled to go to a National Park on Friday. Our family, along with 8 other families, had planned to go to Joshua Tree National Park. We've gone for the past two years and my son was looking forward to it most of all. If the government shutdown continues, we'll have to stay home.
Related: 14 reasons why kids are definitely smarter than Congress
What was really hard to explain - and not just to a child, but to anyone - is that Republicans forced the government shutdown to get some concessions for Obamacare, but it will have no affect on Obamacare. Like it or not, the Affordable Care Act takes effect today no matter what.
Obviously many Republicans in Congress don't want the Affordable Care Act to take effect so they are willing to shut down the government and possibly damage the economy further instead of accepting the fact that they lost that battle. It's been coming for three years and went to the Supreme Court, which largely upheld the act. They didn't get their way, so they are holding their breaths until they do.
It's not just that Congress can't reach an agreement about the budget - no one is making compromises there. It's been clear to me over the years that Congress, and not just Republican members, don't care what happens to Americans at all.
How much more of this can we take? The 113th Congress is one of the least productive in history. They're not making laws, they're not repealing laws. They're just wasting our time and, if the shutdown lasts too long, damaging the future for our children.
It's a sad day when even a 9-year-old can see clearly that the government isn't doing a competent job and needs to change. How long will it be before Congress does, too?
-By Yvonne Condes
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