Amplifications: The shutdownMore Info
I have become afraid of lettuce. We have been eating spinach salads in our house and now I am starting to worry about the spinach. I’m thinking that, until the government reopens, we should only eat frozen vegetables, and only those that were frozen at least four weeks ago. Since most of the FDA is not at work, the only fish we are ingesting is coming out of the tins of tuna I bought before the government closed its doors.
I have felt as if we have all been living in an alternate universe since Trump was elected, but I never thought I would live in a country that would become the butt of jokes, a country that other countries find regressive, a country that does not care who is hurt as long as those at the top get theirs.
I do not understand how Senate Republicans did not storm the Capitol, demanding impeachment when the Traitor-in-Chief closed down the government over a wall, a structure that would not have protected our country in the 12th century let alone the 21st. We already have hundreds of miles of fencing along our southern border. What we need, if we are to keep our country safe, is improved technology. It seems rather obvious that drones make more sense than Trump’s symbol of stupidity.
Our president caused the only crisis we have at the border. America is denying entry to those asking for asylum, which is a fundamental right we have always granted. To me, that is what America is about: sharing our bounty and helping those most in need. The majority of undocumented immigrants who overstay their visas arrive by plane. Most drugs come into the country via legal ports of entry, not on the backs of women and children fleeing gang violence and abuse.
That does not mean I believe in open borders and I do think we need immigration reform, but keeping out poor people who are browner than the Trumps goes against everything I grew up believing about this country. And now our petulant leader is forcing this decision on the backs of lower- and middle-class Americans who cannot afford it. He, along with Mitch McConnell and other Senate Republicans, are destroying the lives of Americans who keep this country running.
Would you fly this week? I wouldn’t, not with all the FAA inspectors out on furlough. According to NPR, “nine federal departments, (and some smaller agencies like NASA) are affected, at least in part, by the lapse in funding: Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, State, Transportation, and the Treasury.” As of today, approximately 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed or are being required to work without pay.
Congress has already passed some appropriation bills funding much of the federal government, but if you are amongst the most downtrodden in this country you can assume things will get worse if the shutdown continues. Food stamps will not be funded in February, air quality is not being properly monitored, and it is unclear if the Coast Guard members will be paid after this week. The Coast Guard, the agency we rely on during the darkest days of disaster, is about to be shuttered for the sake of a wall and a temper tantrum. Ready to move to Canada yet?
Native American communities are being hit especially hard, as are the country’s immigration courts. Especially ironic is that the electronic monitoring system used to keep track of immigrants before their court hearings has been closed down. And the backlog of people not currently being processed through immigration courts will crush the system once funding is reapproved. Oh, and our national parks are going to hell in that proverbial hand basket.
The latest is that Trump wants to take money put aside for Defense Department funds to build a wall most Americans don’t want. That means that money allocated, but not yet spent, on disaster relief for places like Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida will go toward building the wall. If Trump actually declares a national emergency, his plan is to rob those citizens already damaged by natural disaster so he can cut across private lands and important ecosystems in order to keep the nonexistent hoards away from the rest of us.
Feel like you are living in a futuristic, nihilistic, grade-B movie? Me, too.