The government shutdown has finally ended. Multiple federal workers have been furloughed, with even more working without a paycheck. As a conservative, I am mortified.The current administration has gone against their duty to serve as representatives for the citizens of the United States by refusing to cooperate with one another and pay hard working Americans. Even more frustrating is the politics surrounding the shutdown, the first of which was Trump demanding funding for the wall. Now, with threats of creating a national emergency if this funding does not get approved, the government shutdown has proven that the will of the people does not matter. The only will that matters is what the president wants.
I find the wall to be a ludicrous idea. There is no logical foundation to support that a wall will actually protect United States citizens. It would simply be a waste of money. The budget for border security this year alone is $23 billion. What has frustrated me most about the politics of the wall has been the unnecessary and incredible pressure the president has placed on the United States to build the wall. Since President Trump first ran for office, the wall has been the crown jewel of his campaign. At the beginning of the campaign, the promise was that American taxpayers would not have to pay for it. Rather, Mexico would pay for the wall. During the campaign season, I was puzzled and quite concerned. How exactly will he make a foreign nation pay for a domestic issue? Naturally, my concerns were validated when Mexico did not comply to fund the wall. The current situation has since escalated. Now if the president does not get his funding, he holds the country hostage by refusing to approve funding for government-run entities. This goes against every principle of the responsibility of the president. The president is supposed to serve the general public. By shutting down the government, the very oath to enter office is violated. The job of the president is to protect and uphold the Constitution. The president has failed to fulfill his many duties to the citizens of the United States. Causing a government shutdown for the sake of a wall goes against helping the people of America, and he has failed to remedy the situation by refusing to cooperate with Congress.
Now with the threat of declaring a state of emergency in the air, the political tension has only gotten worse. This is a dangerous precedent to set. The power the president holds during a state of emergency is vaguely described, and not clarified in the Constitution. In the Constitution, there is no clear set example of what the president can do in a time of emergency. Nowhere in Article II (the Constitutional article that address the powers of the president) does it state what powers the president holds in times of crisis. However, many violations of the Constitution have been committed by presidents with emergency powers. Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the the Civil War, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt placed Japanese Americans in internment camps.
By forcing the nation into a state of emergency to gather funding for a wall, it could undermine the system of checks and balances in place. This could lay the groundwork for future presidents to abuse this power as well, resulting in consequences for the economy and welfare of the American citizens. It is important to state that if the president were to institute a national emergency, this would most likely be challenged by the Supreme Court. The fact that the president would go to such extreme lengths to gather funding for the wall is a terrifying state of mind for the most powerful man in the country. The fact that a president would shut down the functions of the government and furlough thousands of workers for the sake of building a wall, exposes the dangerous and self-absorbed mindset of President Trump.
My final frustration is with Congress. The politics in Congress have, in recent years, been increasingly polarized and divided, and funding for the wall has been a prime example of its growing polarization. Democrats refuse to fund the wall, and republicans refuse to pass any budget without the funding. Both have stonewalled each other, attempting to force the other to back down. The problem is that the American people are the ones who lose. Even during the shutdown, lawmakers are receiving paychecks. I have been particularly disappointed with majority leader Mitch McConnell, who has blocked legislation from the House from appearing on the senate floor. This is not democracy. People are suffering because of this shut down. Just recently, there was a security breach at an airport, where a man was able to bring a gun onto an aircraft. When is enough, enough? What politicians are doing is wrong. The president waving threats over the head of the American public is disgusting and wrong. The fact that Congress lets him get away with it is costing American taxpayers. It is time that we, as the American people, hold him responsible for that. There is action you can take. Write to your representatives. Write to senators of various states. Voice your concerns. Make it known that it is the will of the people that is stronger than the will of a single man.