Let’s stop sighing and size it up.

The totally unnecessary cruelty and arbitrary punishments brought down like fire on the heads of our public workers gives us a message: It could happen to us, if we get in the way of the Master Money-Maker — and Taker

Those with money, get money (and power). Those who don’t, don’t. And when they do, and we don’t, here’s what happens:

Transportation Security Administration workers, who determine the safety of your flight, aren’t paid. Feel safe?

After blaming California Forest Management for not stopping wildfires, the Master stops their funding. No funding during vital planning time means they are not prepared. He writes off California.

Prison workers, including corrections officers, case managers and secretaries can’t afford to pick up their Walgreen prescriptions, have to sleep on a cot overnight because they can’t afford gas to get home, and don’t know where their next meal will come from — yet face the daily challenges of guarding inmates. The Master doesn’t care. Just release the prisoners, right?

Courthouses seriously consider closing. Says one judge, "If, in fact, the buildings can't stay open, we literally will have judges at their kitchen tables with a laptop computer, camera on top, looking at a defendant sitting at a U.S. Marshals' holding cell somewhere, conducting these hearings."

One contracted public defender calls it a betrayal of public servants, who already sacrifice, working for less than the private sector. "It feels like we're on the front lines trying to fight a battle while our own forces are shooting us in the back.” The Master doesn’t care. After all, who needs a fair, just legal system?

IRS workers get their food from the local Catholic food bank, and battle serious depression. What’s their job? Collecting rightfully owed taxes necessary to sustain the nation — yet they aren’t paid to do their job. The Master and his fellow tax-dodgers grin. IRS won’t be fully functional for a year.

One of our primary national security concerns is cyber-security. (Not THE WALL) At the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, normally 3,500 people are on the job. Under the shutdown, only around 2,000 man the breaches.

Threats more visible locally are Farm Services offices, the threat to WIC (women/infant/child) grants, air traffic controllers — the list goes on. Workers stand in 30-degree weather to get food.

Some “Independent Kansans” cheer the Masters on. Forgotten are the billion or two we get back in excess of our Federal tax annual contributions. On top of that (because of our legislators), we have lost $3 billion in federal Medicaid dollars, paying for 90 percent of care for needy Kansans. But the Masters don’t care.

And the whole SNAFU may start again Feb. 15, right after Valentine’s Day.

Even though it should be crystal clear that we, the people, are losers in this situation, some will no doubt appear on this page supporting our clueless Commander and encouraging him to crash the ship of state onto the rocks yet again.

They are joined by our alleged representatives Jerry Moran, Pat Roberts and Roger Marshall. Only this morning, Moran and Marshall bleated their support for Trump’s irrational wall-at-any-cost.

One word describes a system where people are forced to work without pay, where one man (white, wealthy, nonworking) calls the shots and no one objects, where the entire structure seems to rely on bullying and intimidation, where few available exits exist, where all human resourcefulness has been exhausted, and the atmosphere is so despair-laden that few think they can fight back.

What word? Slavery. (Or, your choice, dictatorship.)

 

— David Norlin is a Salina citizen.