Shutdown tentacles run deeply

Nothing we do in pursuit of our outdoors passions equates to someone’s ability to earn their way through life, to put bread on their family’s table and a roof over their family’s head.

Nor should closing down access to our national refuges cause us to have one iota of a problem.

So, why is the federal shutdown so bothersome?

First, it could mean a loss of income for some of the folks who provide services to those using these federal refuges and any of the federal lands that were closed to the public last week.

Second, the closure of public lands comes precisely at the time when most Louisiana hunters have planned to use the million-plus acres the federal government owns in our state.

Take, for instance, that the youth-only and handicapped-only deer hunts scheduled Saturday and Sunday for the National Catahoula and National Red Dirt preserves now are canceled.

Then, how about the hundreds of man hours it took for our state biologists, managers and administrators spent in getting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to open the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge to youth-only duck hunting this year. That faces this closure, too.

Think fishing is exempt? The National Marine Fisheries Service has canceled the meeting for the Standing and Special Reef Fish scientists involved with studying the Gulf of Mexico. The meeting was set this week.

Any delay in those scientists being able to come up with a workable solution to the problems with catching red snapper, and what should be reasonable daily limits and seasons will be delayed for another year.

This group’s next meeting is Jan. 14-16, and a three-month delay will bring only more consternation for the user groups and the folks who make a living from servicing recreational folks heading out to catch red snapper.

Sure all this sounds minor when considering the millions of federal employees forced to sit home without paychecks, but that’s how far the tentacles of this most recent shutdown reach.

Be honest: Has there been a time when you’ve felt more disconnected with the folks we’ve elected to run our federal government?

Truth is the folks in Congress are acting like they’re the only kids on the block with a football, and they’re going to take their football and go home with it if we don’t follow their playing rules. Ditto for the folks who live in the White House.

Maybe it’s time to tell all of them to go home, and stay there. Don’t come back. Don’t draw a paycheck, not you nor your staff, nor the folks who keep your cafeteria and kitchens running.

Maybe the last time a majority in our country felt such a disconnect with the powers that be was the time when men approved a document that began, “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary ...”

You know what came next: Independence Day.