Image California San Francisco Politics and The PeopleIn the midst of the government shutdown, I started a new job, ironically at WIC here in California. WIC (it stands for Women Infant Children) is a government program that helps low-income women and children have access to nutritious food. I had already heard of a looming shutdown on the Senator Bernie Sanders’ webpage. Not surprisingly, the WIC office began receiving numerous calls asking if we were open. In all honesty, the check amount that these people receive is a pittance, yet for them it makes all the difference.

People often assume that the types of people who make use of services such as WIC are ignorant, but that’s not true. While some may question the choices they’ve made, such as the choice to have children when it’s not exactly economically viable, it is not a reflection of who they are as people. As I shadowed the WIC assistant today, all the participants were very well aware of the political situation.

The WIC worker I shadowed today pointed out to me a poignant observation – the children running around the WIC office are not just running around because, well, they’re children. They’re also running around as they often live in tight, cramped apartments- in our tiny WIC office, they have access to a precious commodity, and that is space. Yes there are parks in this area. But a lot of these parks are filthy-from the hypodermic needles, to the inconsiderate people that don’t clean up after their dog. So options to run & play freely are limited.Image California San Francisco Old Town

This is in no way to disregard the suffering others go through in other parts of the world. Compared to many others, we in the U.S have it so much better. One could say the WIC participants in California are lucky compared to those in, say, Utah. Still it’s all relative. It is unbelievable to me that a handful of people in Congress could ever consider shutting down a program such as this – At the time of this writing, WIC is only releasing food vouchers.

We the People need to take our power back from them, yet I don’t know what it’s going to take for people to finally say they’ve had enough and take our government officials to task for the way they are carelessly playing with people’s lives. Like so many people, I’ve been looking for decent full-time work for the last 3 years. Naturally I’m concerned about my job, especially since this is a wonderful opportunity, & I am doing good work.

Like many other people in this country, I have a lot of student debt. As a public service job, it may help me qualify for Public Service student loan forgiveness. While I’m concerned obviously about my own welfare, I’m also concerned for the future of the WIC participants.

I will end this article with this experience: a week before I started my job, I had done some hatha yoga in the morning. After I finished my short 15 minute routine, I had a sense of peace. I recalled Paramahansa Yogananda’s admonishment to never trust the ways of man, but to trust in the Divine for all sources of abundance & well-being. So at the risk of sounding like a new age twit, I kind of basked in this feeling. Otherwise, my 1st week on the job is off to a good, if not uncertain, start.

* About the Author: due to the nature of the article, the author is choosing to remain anonymous, but she lives in the Bay Area for many years.

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