The U.S. government shutdown, brought on by a petulant, would-be autocrat who in his whole life, has apparently never had to own his decisions, is becoming dangerous. On Wednesday, United States President Donald Trump got up and stormed out of a meeting with U.S. congressional leaders that lasted all of 14 minutes, as if this is a reality TV show. Thursday air traffic controllers and TSA workers were marching in Washington.
If the shutdown continues into this weekend, it will become the longest shutdown in the history of the U.S. Government. “This is a crisis for the federal employees,” said The Washington Post columnist Gene Robinson. That is an understatement of massive proportions.
Based on Zillow estimates, Marketwatch is reporting that affected federal workers owe more than $400 million in mortgage and rent payments due this month. The federal government is suggesting that federal workers should barter with their land lords about the payments, not something landlords are known for. Other furloughed workers have turned to crowdfunding sites for help.
The fact is, 79 percent of the U.S. “government” is not in Washington D.C. . It is spread from sea to shining sea; from the northern reaches bordering Canada, to our sunny southern border. “Government” is people, doing the work we need them to do, most serving proudly, but quietly. Many live paycheck to paycheck.
Nine of the 15 cabinet-level federal departments have been shuttered, or are being run by a few “essential” personal working with no paychecks. They include; the Departments of State, Agriculture, Interior, Treasury, Justice, Commerce, Homeland Security, Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency and Housing and Urban Development. The shutdown extends to dozens of smaller independent agencies, and affects both full-time employees and contract workers. Locally, employees of the Federal Housing Administration, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are affected.
Some 800,000 federal workers across this nation are impacted; roughly 380,000 furloughed employees and 420,000 people working without pay. Not just those employees, government contractors and their families are impacted. Impacted also are the suppliers to those businesses and the nearby small businesses that count on those employees coming to work and spending moeny in their shops and restaurants.
Real lives are being destroyed, real families are being impacted. Hundreds of thousands of these federal employees are parents who have to pay for childcare, pay tuition, fill their cars with gas, pay for food, pay for medicine and pay their rents or mortgages. How?
Why is all this happening? The truth lies behind the fallacy of the wall.
The man occupying the office of the president says he’ll continue this shutdown, and maybe he’ll declare a national emergency so he can get his wall. A “wall” that we have learned was no more than mnemonic device to get him to remember to mention border security during his campaign speeches.
“This is a lie – he doesn’t want the wall, he wants a fight,” said U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer. “Trump wants to exploit people’s fears. He doesn’t give a damn about the substance of the argument.”
Those against government – do you even understand what our government does? Are you buying into autocracy that rules on fear? Are you OK with this instability?
The wall doesn’t equal security. All the other actions of this government that support the American way of life are what equals security: for this nation, for the people of this nation, this state, this county.
This is not just political theater. This is another of the nearly continuous moves over the last two years by this president that weaken the foundations of our democracy. Why? The effects of destabilization don’t benefit the American people. But I can think of one other foreign government that is delighted: where they may literally be dancing down the halls of the Kremlin.
To state something obvious; by design, the president is in a temporary role. This is a government of “We are the people”.
The people we elected to govern our nation have to solve this. It appears some Republicans are finally signaling they may work with Democrats to try to end this dangerous situation, which may require overruling the president’s veto. It’s about time.