Gov’t shutdown has brought out the best in Americans

I know I’m not the first person to call it the Divided States of America but I do appreciate the irony of the country’s name given the very political government shutdown that’s played out over the past month.

While I’m often quick to praise Canadians as being a solid unified front, I have to say that during the Trump Shutdown it’s been refreshing to see how many Americans are supporting their unpaid and out-of-work neighbours and friends.

As I read online a shutdown update there was a related story that outlined the businesses and organizations helping out federal employees who are currently working without a paycheque. While I thought the list was going to be major corporations looking for good PR by coming forward to say, “We’re here for you, don’t worry,” I was pleasantly surprised at how many establishments, big and small, throughout the country have stepped up.

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The lengthy list includes national banks, cellular/mobile companies, restaurants and retail chains. In addition, was the little Mom and Pop companies wanting to help. And I have to say, some of them were making pretty good offers.

We’re talking free coffee all day every day, a free lunchtime burger every day for the duration of the shutdown. Ditto for beer. Some offering free meals to the entire family of a federal employee. The kindness also spread to local entertainment companies like movie theatres and arcades. Pet stores are giving free bags of food for furry family members. Really, the list was almost endless.

Their economy is already taking a hit because of the shutdown and these businesses are helping to hurt the economy — but for good reason (I think, anyway). By that I mean they could charge or give discounts to people so there is still some sort of revenue but instead they’re comping their products and services.

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This is one of those moments where it’s not about profit and cashing in on people’s suffering (though I’m sure that’s happening, too). This is a time when doing the right thing comes above the fast buck.

Despite how divided they can be on politics — and handfuls of other issues — it’s refreshing to see communities come together to help those in need.

I don’t say it often (and we should check the last time I actually said this) but I’m proud of Americans pulling together during a time of national crisis.

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