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article imageUS Government shutdown's Good Samaritans

By Dawn Denmar     Oct 11, 2013 in World
The BBC today highlights positive responses to problems caused by the US government shutdown. From Chris Cox, who traveled from South Carolina to keep the Washington war memorials tidy, to businesses helping a couple whose Yosemite wedding was cancelled.
Moral philosopher Peter Singer says that people always act more altruistically in times of emergency and this is becoming more apparent as the US government shutdown persists.
Chris Cox made a trip from South Carolina to Washington carrying his state flag and a range of gardening implements, including a lawnmower and chainsaw. He'd decided to tidy the area between the Lincoln and World War II memorials in advance of Sunday's Million Vet March protest by war veterans in the area. Cox said his work was non-political and merely an attempt to keep the area tidy. He said: "If they shut down our memorials, we're still going to take the trash out, we're going to clean the windows, we're going to cut the grass, we're going to pull the weeds, we're going to do the tree work.''
Adam Brown and Joy Miller planned their dream wedding in Yosemite National Park, which is now off limits. When local businesses heard of the couple's disappointment they stepped in to ensure the wedding day goes ahead. A San Francisco caterer is supplying food and other businesses have provided a venue and additional services. Miller said: "We feel so blessed and honored that strangers have given so much to make our wedding a reality."
These are not the only stories of real people affected by the shutdown who have been helped out by individuals, businesses, or charities. Philanthropists are stepping in to help people or projects in their localities affected by this political closure. As the BBC say: "philanthropy has a strong tradition in the US and there's something distinctly American about the idea that individuals can take over the functions of government."
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