Clayton A. Cooper looked out over the vast expanse of the Capitol of the United States of America and asked one simple question. With a look of both consternation and abject disappointment he asked the DC Customer Service journalist why out of the 800,000 federal government employees two sat with him to protest the shutdown of the government of the greatest nation on earth.
“We are out here, they are not [Cooper is referring to the 800,000 furloughed federal workers] here. Everybody can send a letter to their Congressman, but people need to get out here. If 800,000 people were to come out here and let people know we want to return to work…where are they? Come on,” he said.
When told the House of Representatives had just passed a measure to allow the federal workers to be paid without returning to work, Cooper looked at the reporter with a look of total disbelief and said, “I don’t understand that. I want to work. I don’t want to stay home and get paid. I want to work,” he said.
The few people around Cooper sat behind signs that expressed both anger and pleas to the government. “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter; so help me God.”
As the government shutdown entered its sixth day, Clayton A. Cooper sat on his orange lawn chair and asked his government to let him return to work. Unfortunately the 799, 998 federal workers who were sent home did not join him on the lawn.
Small business vendors looked at empty streets. Once busy plazas were empty. Busy gas stations near the Capitol had empty lanes. Trash was in bags on the streets awaiting workers to place the bags in trucks. Yes, the government shutdown is having a grave impact on D.C. And yet Clayton A. Cooper asked, Where is everybody."
Examiner.com covered Clayton A. Cooper as he protested being sent home from his job. His story will be followed until the government shutdown ends.