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Even in Italy, I still get US news. I have Twitter. I hate that Twitter is more informative at this point, but here we are, slinging out Tweets from the toilet and learning the fate of our country in agonizing 280-character bits whenever someone sees fit. I also still constantly talk to friends and family at home, so this crazy government shutdown is still a topic of daily conversation. Just today, I was chatting with a friend that is a flight attendant and I asked her if she saw any TSA getting affected where she’s been working. Apparently, in Boston, everyone is still at work, but she was worried even for tomorrow.

“This was the first day they opened their checks and the amount was $0.00. We’ll see what happens when I try to get into work in the morning. If I can’t get through security, the flight can’t take off,” she explained. I hadn’t even thought about the chain of events that this situation is causing people that aren’t even employed by the government. If people working for the TSA don’t show up to work, flight attendants and pilots won’t be able to work either, so flights will be delayed or canceled – and the dominoes continue to fall.

I asked a friend that used to work for the Embassy if the Consulate employees will be paid. When we booked our visa appointment on the 22nd, we weren’t expecting a government shutdown to affect us, but now we may be walking into a building with frustrated workers that are doing their job without pay – and we already are a difficult case before we walk through the door. I hope their frustration won’t be taken out on us. I hope this will all be over by then.

I started looking deeper into who is personally hurting from this issue. I recommend everyone jump on Twitter and check out the #ShutdownStories for a real inside look into what the consequences are from this already. Federal workers with disabled children rationing meals. People that can’t afford their bills but can’t even get another job because of pre-approval requirements. Furloughed workers having to explain to their children why they didn’t get Christmas presents, or how they’re going to pay for food if “Dad isn’t working.” One had to choose between her house and helping her dog with cancer. Another had to wait on a necessary surgery for themselves.

Nothing about this is about a wall anymore. Nothing about this is worth proving the “others” (other Americans, mind you – I think most forgot about that part. Those people on the “left” or the “right” or whatever words you use, are just lies covering up how similar we all are). Everyone is suffering here – all sides, and the group of people personally affected is only going to grow.

I don’t know how this will end, and in the back of my mind, I wonder what this whole obsession and fanfare is actually covering up, what is going on in the background that we’re missing? Is something worse sliding right under our noses as we focus on the easy-to-understand topic of wall or no wall (fence/barrier, whatever just decide please)? Regardless of the truth underneath all of this endless “fake news,” something has to give and fast, or this may explode into a situation that no one is prepared to deal with.