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Letter: Americans suffer while Collins claims President Trump puts them first
Doug Collins.jpg
U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville - photo by The Times
Across the country, Transportation Security Administration agents are calling in sick to work because they cannot afford gas to drive there.

In grocery stores, uninspected food is for sale, because Food and Drug Administration inspectors aren’t at work.

The Navy Federal Credit Union is offering zero-interest loans for federal employees, so they won’t go into debt or lose their homes because they’re not being paid.

“I believe the president is putting Americans first. I believe he is putting our citizenry first.” This is the opinion of our U.S. Rep. Doug Collins when asked about the government shutdown that’s now the longest in US history.

While Americans struggle to pay their bills and make ends meet, he has words of comfort for them: “The president is looking out for the American people.” And if somehow, the opinion of a man still receiving his six-figure salary, quoting the words of a billionaire, doesn’t reassure the family who just had their heat cut off in the middle of a winter storm? Well, according to Doug Collins, that’s just tough luck.

It’s tough luck for the family who can’t afford their son’s three medications, because since it’s the new year, their deductible started over and they haven’t been paid since before Christmas. It’s tough luck for the woman who couldn’t afford to fly home for her grandmother’s funeral, since she’s already used all her savings.

These are all real stories, because these are real workers and real people and currently, they are in real pain.

They are scraping by or struggling to pay bills, suddenly relying on food banks and selling their plasma and belongings to get by. They are newly in debt because they just moved cross-country for their husband’s new D.C. job, only to arrive in time for him to work for free.

They are homeless because their landlord wasn’t interested in giving them more time to pay their bills. They are rationing their insulin because their latest paycheck read $0.

“I believe the president is putting Americans first. I believe he is putting our citizenry first.” He’s putting them first into debt, definitely. He’s putting them first into homelessness and into default on their bills. Surely, for the hundreds of thousands of people with no paycheck, the knowledge that Doug Collins believes the president is “putting them first” will be just the comfort they need to keep going. That comfort will surely fill their bank accounts, put food on the table and keep the lights on.

“I believe the president is putting Americans first. I believe he is putting our citizenry first.”

And if it isn’t enough comfort?

Well, they’ll just have to suck it up, apparently. Because for well-paid bureaucrats, sitting comfortably in a warm house at dinner, the suffering of 1.2 million unpaid Americans just isn’t enough to stand up and do anything. Because people like Doug Collins, with their bills paid and their stomachs full, are happy to risk lives on the job, just so long as those lives are never their own.

Marisa Pyle

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