How much do we rely on our government?

The United States was resting on pins and needles while we rode out the government shutdown. We all anxiously waited as America’s massive economy inched ever closer to its first debt default.

The first government shutdown in 17 years seemed to be nothing more than a last ditch effort by the Republicans to go against President Obama’s health care initiative. The shutdown began the night before Obamacare was supposed to become active.

House GOP leaders had been pushing a new approach to put an end to the stalemate. They had been offering to fund a few select parts of the government such as the national parks, veteran’s benefits and our capitol’s government. While this may have seemed beneficial, it unfairly put the Democrats in the hot seat by trying to force them into voting against programs that are most important to Democratic Americans.

Many Americans are, and have been, receiving government subsidies such Pell Grants, unemployment benefits, veteran’s benefits, food stamps, Medicare or Social Security.  However, many of these individuals are not aware that they are reaping the benefits of government programs.

Americans are becoming less and less aware of the other key roles that government is constantly playing in our lives. The government controls and manages many aspects of our day-to-day life from anything such as the weather being communicated to us, to networking through our cell phones.

For those who are not in favor of heavy government control, it has been too easy to quickly form fantasies that we finally had a life and country with minimal government. However, in reality too many Americans are unaware of the enormous role the government has in our lives. These overlooked roles are ones that often benefit rather than just applying limitations.

Rather than focusing on the true purpose of the shutdown, to keep our country from hitting the debt ceiling, we diverted our attention to the seemingly excessive amount of money that was being deducted from our paychecks.

The government shutdown allowed Americans to have an opportunity to see what our country would be like if the government just backed out of our lives like we want. Is that what we really want though? What about all of the good our “overinvolved” government does?

The argument arose that the shutdown did not emulate the fantasy of a state without any government because of the limited time that the shutdown lasted. The government shutdown only lasted a little over two weeks, and did not give Americans a true view of how lesser interference will affect us. There was no time for an alternative to emerge and take over roles that the government plays such as welfare and Social Security.

Once we stop seething over our paycheck and look at the services that were stopped, we were able to find that an alternative does not exist. American people rely on the government for survival and for the upkeep of their everyday lives.

In this fast-paced world, where Americans are creatures of habit, it becomes too easy for us to forget why these government agencies originally came into existence. Because Americans need their government. Now that the government shutdown has come to an end, it is time that we take a step back and appreciate all that the government does for us.