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The Antelope

Damages, blame piling up

The Antelope Newspaper

As shutdown grows longer, list of who is to blame grows shorter 


As the partial government shutdown continues for its third week, the apathy of many grows at the seeming inability for our elected leaders to…well, lead. The White House seems inflexible and detached from reality about the circumstance. Both houses are at odds with each other, and caught in the crossfire are millions of Americans who are being affected by the shutdown.

 In this vacuum of federal oversight and funds, the expected problems surface with rapid succession. Almost 800,000 federal workers are without pay with more than half expected to still work, according to Stephen Collinson, a CNN contributor. This affects agencies such as the National Park Service, the Coast Guard and the TSA. While some workers continue to do their work to serve the public, the goodwill does not pay mortgages, doctor’s bills and other expenses.

Those who receive federal pensions, social security and welfare will perhaps not see a check in the near future. Federal and state programs are being halted due to the inability to secure funds for their projects like road repair. Some universities are claiming that students are not receiving federal aid or loans, a claim the IRS is denying. 

As no end appears to be in sight, many are looking for whom to place the blame on.

Some say everyone in power is to blame, as they should learn how to get along and make compromises or give and take in equal measure. This is an appealing sentiment, as compromise is a part of governing effectively.

The Democratically-controlled House is not considering any proposal that has substantial funding for the proposed border wall, the Republican Senate is turning their back on anything sent by the House, and Trump is standing firm and not budging an inch.

In truth, this shutdown is nothing more than political grandstanding on Trump’s part.

For his first two years, he theoretically had control over both houses of Congress. Why was his border dream not passed then? If not in one go, then he could have easily gotten gradual funding through a series of bills to make his warped view a reality. Why did he not use all of his masterful negotiation skills then? How did he not get something to appease his fan base when he was supposed to be the outsider that got things done?

I think the main cause behind this shutdown is to make Trump appear to be a martyr for his supporters. He has no influence over the gears of politics and cannot negotiate a deal that appeals to the majority.  Rather than appear weak and capitulate on the idea that catapulted him to becoming the Republican Party, Trump likely wants to go down with the ship and make himself out to be a hero.

This also distracts and attempts to undermine the various probes into Trump’s administration and campaign. News about Muller’s findings and articles about previous investigations now get second rate billing compared to headlines about the shutdown. A month ago, the news that the FBI opened an investigation into the possibility that Trump was working for Russia in addition to obstruction of justice would dominate the front page. Now it has been delegated to the sidebars.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Eventually the shutdown will end. There is no telling at this point when that end will be. There are many issues that need to be addressed in government, which will take more than a spending bill to fix. That is the reality of the situation and it needs to be dealt with as such.

However, so long as we have a showboating man in the White House, that reality will not come to pass. 

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