Political America in turmoil
With thousands of American federal workers left without paycheques, as Donald Trump carried out his threat to shut down the United States Government for not being given $5 billion to build a wall along the Mexican border, much of America is in a state of political turmoil.
The mere fact that the President of the United States could knowingly pull the economic trigger on thousands of Americans, making life for many a nightmare as they struggled to meet payments without paycheque, stunned veteran observers.
Many said the President was more concerned about keeping his support base intact after campaign promises to build a wall that Mexico would pay for.
The irony of the shutdown is that Trump vowed not to blame the Democrats, but to take responsibility for the action himself. However, as criticism mounted, Trump lost no time in blaming the Democrats for refusing to comply with his request for funds for a wall, claiming it was needed to protect America from illegal immigrants.
At the time of this writing, the shutdown had impacted millions, causing reduced services in a wide range of areas, including airport operations, where security is vital.
With the President facing numerous investigations and legal challenges over alleged connections with Russia, concern is mounting that the Trump Administration has been crippled. Unless the present administration and the Democrats are able to find common ground for a solution, apart from economic hardship for families, at risk are services that help to keep the nation safe.
Even if a solution is found before this column is published, considerable damage and hardship have already left many Americans wondering whether legislators need to review a system that permits the President to use people as bargaining chips to achieve a political objective.
The Republican party is yet to openly condemn Trump's hardline stance in taking action that has disrupted government services, along with the lives of employees involved in that process.
It should be noted, though, that a number of Republicans and Democrats have voiced strong unity in opposing a government shutdown over political disagreements. Their call to get the Government up and running while discussions continue has been ignored by the Trump Administration.
It could be that Trump is deeply concerned about his support base should he alter his stance in search of a compromise with the Democrats about border control and security. After midterm elections that toppled the Republican hold on Congress, and the Democrats now fully in control, it seems the people would be better served if the two sides put pride aside and reached a compromise that would have the Government fully running again while they thrashed out political differences over the issue of border security.
Government shutdowns leave shattered economic situations in many lives that are not easily turned around — even when things return to normal. There will be many angry people who feel they are victims of the political powerful who place their egos above the needs of the people.
America, the leading nation in the world, can and must do better in conducting its affairs. The only hope is that people in the next General Election will think more deeply about who they choose as a leader, whether it is a Republican or Democrat.
No one would board an airliner with an inexperienced pilot, and the same should hold true in choosing those who serve the people in any democratic country. The people deserve better.