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Colette Rinker

This is getting to a point where I can’t stay quiet any longer. This is absolutely horrible.

I’ve kept relatively quiet about my opinion upon the current government shutdown for my own personal reasoning.

The Sentinel article “With food stamps funding set to lapse, shutdown adds to struggles” by Liora Engel-Smith prompted me to speak out.

Coming from a low-income background, it was always somehow taboo to talk about the fact that my family relied on food stamps to keep from going hungry. It has always been this invisible and unspoken of ‘thing’ from my experiences, and it always felt like getting free lunch or being open that my family needed assistance to get groceries was something to be ashamed of. It was never my choice to be in low-income housing, nor was it my parents or my brother’s. We got the short stick in life, and we’ve been making it work. I am now more open about where I came from today than I ever have been, and the reason is because of scenarios like this. Today, families and individuals living as low-income need more representation than ever because of how something as ridiculous as this shutdown could jeopardize their wellbeing.

This government shutdown has already made it increasingly difficult for my family right now, and to hear the stories of other families affected by the shutdown in situations worse than my own in my own community is horrifying. It is appalling to know that the people in my community are suffering because their wellbeing is being bargained for.

I have my own opinion on the wall, and others have theirs. I respect the fact that some individuals want this wall to be built, and I will listen to their reasoning. I understand the purpose behind this wall, and I will listen to the arguments our president has for it.

However, my family is not a bargaining tool for your arguments, Mr. President.

These families are not pawns in what is now turning out to be a frustrating and potentially devastating game.

We are not poker chips. Stop using us as such.

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