Dec. 22, 2018 marked the first day of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, affecting 800,000 federal workers who are without pay. As the shutdown looms on past its one-month mark, no resolution seems to be in sight for shutting down the shutdown.
President Trump began this shutdown as a manipulative tactic to receive his proclaimed $5 billion that he says will go toward building a wall along the U.S. and Mexico border—his idea of “border security.” As “building the wall” was one of Trump’s primary political statements he used during the 2016 presidential campaign, he has since refused to back down from his original platform. Because of this, there is no light of the republican side “compromising” on their standpoint and are therefore placing the position of “compromising” on the democrats instead. The irony of this, though, is that while republicans accuse democrats of “refusing to compromise,” this is exactly what republicans are doing.
Democrats—and those against “the wall”—have a right to stand firm in their standpoint because not everyone is in favor of a large concrete wall standing in barrier between two countries simply to keep out those of another ethnicity. Because democrats are opposed to a boarder wall, many have claimed they are also opposed to border security, which is absolutely not true; just because someone is not in favor of a certain way of enforcing border security does not make said person against border security altogether—there are more ways to solve an issue than just one.
Trump has rejected all negotiations to open the government, no matter how large of a negative impact the shutdown has on all U.S. citizens. Essentially, the president is acting like a child and using this situation to demand he get what he wants—much like a hostage situation, even, by refusing to pay government workers until he receives his $5 billion. While half the affected government workers are still working, though without pay, and others are furloughed, there is no assurance of when—or even if—those workers will receive the paychecks missed. Because of this, many government workers have found themselves in worrying financial situations.
Along with government workers, all other U.S. citizens are also affected in numerous ways. One example is food stamps; though food stamps have received funding through February, there are no promises for funding past then. With how the shutdown has gone so far, this is extremely worrying, as millions of Americans rely on food stamps. For current college students, it has affected many students’ ability to pay tuition or apply for financial aid. The shutdown has also highly impacted the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at airports, as an increasing number of employees are not returning to work due to their financial situations, therefore leaving many travelers worried about airports’ safety.
While many may have seemed rather confident and unnerved when first facing this government shutdown, more and more citizens are becoming increasingly concerned about their current and upcoming finances. According to a recent article by the “New York Times,” the White House admitted, “the shutdown has had a far greater toll on the United States economy than previously thought.”
Overall, this more-a-month-long government shutdown has reaped far more disadvantages than advantages, so much so that no matter what either side—republican or democrat, as well as the president—wants, they need to come to agreement to reopen the government on grounds that government workers may return to work—paid—and innocent American citizens are not punished for something they do not directly have control over.
After reopening the government, then Trump and congress may continue the discussion of border security and what should be done to solve their dispute. But first, Trump has to get over himself and realize that his own personal goal of building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico is not more important than the numerous negative affects the shutdown has had and continues to have on the American people.