Everybody knows how government shutdowns work. The government has a conflict and puts everything on lockdown until they can get everything figured out. However, have you ever stopped to think about the negatives of what happens when the government goes onto lockdown?
I was born into a military family. My dad was active duty when my parents had me in 2000, then swapped to the national guard roughly 2 or 3 years after I was born so that he could live in Indiana with us instead of back in Texas where we lived originally. I have multiple family members aside from him in the military (or retired from the military) including great-uncles, grandparents, an uncle, and an aunt. Because of these family members, I know how the world works with the military and how often the government takes advantage of them. Their insurance is garbage, their pay can be unreasonably subpar, and they can get put on leave faster than you can blink your eyes. This brings me to my first point in this article.
When the government shuts down, the military does not get paid. Yes, you read that correctly. Despite the multiple people trying to convince everybody that bills were passed that make sure the military gets their paychecks on time every month that the government shuts down, they're telling you false statements (
Or, in the words of our president, "Fake news."). My family has gone through hell and back when the government shuts down, and I have had so many negative experiences being in a military family because of this. My dad makes a majority of our household income. Yes, my mom has a job, but it doesn't pay as much as the military does annually. We have had multiple people coming to us and telling us that we're lying about our status, and I'm honestly getting tired of it. That's why I'm writing this article.
The. Military. Does. Not. Get. Paid.
One of the last times that the government went on shutdown, we didn't have enough money to get our necessities in order. We were given waivers to go to the local food bank and get our groceries from there. That is one experience that I wish nobody would ever have to go through. It's painful, seeing everyone in there trying to get enough food to survive. It was almost as if you could tell that they knew we didn't belong in there when we went to get what we needed to get.
We tried our best to get enough food to support a family of four, yet we also tried to make sure that we took nothing more than what we thought we would need to be able to survive for the rough estimate of one to two months. We got what we needed and left. I can still remember the empty feeling that I had in my chest and in my stomach as I watched everybody going through there. Some people looked so much worse off than we did, and yet we still needed to go to a food bank in order to live because of the government refusing to pay their military employees. And, yet, people still refuse to believe any of us.
I can still remember my grandmother coming over to our house to help us with groceries before the waivers were handed out. I can still remember wanting to scream at everyone who was behind the shutdown to make them realize how much it was affecting my family...and I wasn't even old enough to make an impact at all.
This time things are a bit different. My dad was informed that his pay will continue coming through until October. After that, if the government isn't back in order, we don't get anything. That means anything past October 2019 will not be put through. We will not get what we need. We will most likely get more waivers and have to endure that struggle and pain even more.
I'm very grateful that we were given the help that we needed at the time, but I wish that we didn't need to explain ourselves again.