Updated: May 24
The world is a tumultuous place. Things are always happening. Sensational things, glorious things, deadly things, exciting things. Things that will curl people’s skin, and things that will make them glow with joy. Thousands upon thousands upon thousands of events happen every hour, let alone every day.
And today is no exception. While thousands of important events are happening, there is one that has been shot into the forefront of discussion in recent weeks. The issue of border security has been brought to national attention with the recent deadlock of interest in the Federal Government. President Trump insisted on the necessity of $5.7 billion dollars to construct a wall on the Southwest American border with Mexico- while Nancy Pelosi, the current Speaker of the House, and other Democratic Congress members, fiercely oppose the project. This issue, which began in December of 2018, lead to a partial shutdown of the government on the December 22, 2018. This shutdown began as president Trump’s attempt to force the democrats in Congress into working with him on his border security plan- a plan that he views as a necessary solution to a current emergency. The issue was not resolved as he had hoped, however. Democrats refused to submit, claiming that the border wall was immoral and unacceptable.
This was the fundamental split in perspective that stalemated the country. Trump refused to bend until he got what he wanted, and the Democrats refused to bend to his wishes. As such, the partial government shutdown stretched on to become the longest shutdown in American history, lasting for a total of 35 days, ending on January 25, 2019.
Now, it is important to clarify what exactly a partial government shutdown means. About 1/4th of the Government’s facilities went with little to no federal funding- causing many direct effects on the country. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, provides food to over 40 million impoverished Americans- a service that was put in jeopardy by the shutdown as they lost a major portion of their funding. Over 800,000 federal workers were furloughed, missing their paychecks, and about half of those still had to work despite not getting any money for their labors.
Had the shutdown continued- even if none of your family are one of these furloughed workers, and you are well enough off to avoid the crash of food stamps- you would have seen the effects firsthand. The National School Lunch Program was defunded, causing them to have to scramble just to keep food on the menu for lunches around the country. Soon, this scramble would have continued getting harder, school would have had to turn to their own methods of funding for lunches. Without extra donations, or some other form of income, many students who rely on school lunches every day for their mid day meal would have been forced to go without. Many sections of Yosemite, and other national parks, were forced to close. The overall parks stayed open, but there simply were not enough employees to maintain the majority of these parks.
These effects would have continued to spiral the longer the shutdown continued. Tax returns would be neglected, preventing hundreds of millions from being recirculated into the economy. Funding for more and more federal conveniences would have been cut, and more and more workers would be furloughed. The thousands of workers without pay would have begun starving, and food banks would have been overloaded by the new influx of hungry people. Given enough time, America could very well have spiralled into a recession to rival that of 2008.
Luckily for America, this didn’t happen. President Trump agreed to a deal to reopen the government, in order for the deadlock to be ended, and presenting a negotiation opportunity between Democrats and Republicans. The President made it clear, however, that he would not be satisfied without getting the funding for his border security plan. If, on February 16, a deal that he does perceives as satisfactory is not reached, he had threatened to shut down the government, or use his right as President of the United States to declare a national state of emergency.
Currently, the nation is in much the same place as it was before the shutdown occurred. Democrats refuse to fund a border wall. Trump refuses to pass any type of immigration reform or border security funding bills without the wall as a part of them. Many criticize the current administration for putting Americans through such unnecessary fear and trauma with the shutdown, and in fact, President Trump’s approval ratings have fallen to 39% in the aftermath of this event- not an all time low for him, but much lower than the average.
Whether or not an agreement will be made, or what it will entail, only time will tell. The nation is currently in a dicey situation, one that will without a doubt have a prominent feature in future history books. Look around you, think, read, and learn what is happening. The world is a complicated place, and it’s impossible to keep up with everything going on. But when there is something major, something that directly affects you, seek to understand the truth behind what is happening. This truth is what enables you to form opinions. This truth is what enables you to speak intelligently about the world. And, most importantly, this truth is what enables you to spread it to others.
So learn. When you hear of something important in the world, learn about it. Look it up, or ask someone you trust. Don’t take random hearsay and gossip as truth. Seek to understand it for yourself.