ART BY MEGAN LIEN
With the current day political maelstrom, who knows what the government will declare as a “middle ground” to the nationwide problems that have split our entire federal government?
Five years ago, the nation was plunged into into a two week long darkness, leaving government employees without a clue as to the stability of their source of income, insurance or health care.
The nation found itself in the same shoes just a few days ago, as Americans began to relive 2013, when the second government shutdown—only called when Congress and the president cannot come to a decision regarding the federal budget before the fiscal year—formally commenced.
Last weekend marked the second major “blackout” in five years, in which the President and Congress’ inability to compromise wreaked havoc once again. This left thousands of individuals furloughed, uninsured, and lost for the eighth time in history.
Since the beginning, the Democratic and Republican parties have never been able to find a middle ground, making forced appeasements and tensions between the two a norm in American politics.
It’s just like déjà vu. All the same harsh claims, just five years later with a new president. Just like before, politicians continue to use social media to incite public fervor as they express their views on the issues. The president might have changed, but Congress has not.
However, the cause is still the same for both shutdowns, with one issue left undecided, thus creating a variety of other issues that affect countless individuals nationwide.
Previously in 2013, differing opinions over the affordability of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – otherwise known as Obama Care – led to great friction between parties as they entered the season to begin fleshing out and framing the federal government’s budget for the next fiscal year. As a result, the President and the Democrat controlled house found themselves pitted against a senate of Republicans as the national debt’s deadline rapidly approached.
Eventually compromise was realized and yet, the damage had been done. Throughout the shutdown, over 800,000 federal employees were furloughed and another 1.3 million people were asked to continue working, without pay. The damages left no federal entity unscathed, with national parks, the National Zoo, the World War Two Memorial, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) being temporarily closed during the course of the shutdown.
Fortunately in 2018’s version of the shutdown, the United States managed to get away relatively unscathed besides some passionate public reaction. The fight over Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and a national fund that temporarily stopped all federal business, ended just after three days of defensive talk and finger-pointing within the Republican dominated Congress.
Although it’s no secret that tensions are especially high this year following the election of our current president and from his controversial tweets, spouting relatively incendiary ideology, it is blatant our president blames the opposition party for prioritizing foreign immigration affairs over our own country’s citizens.
2018’s short-lived shutdown was an unnecessary rehash of 2013’s. And yet, this year’s version was considerably telling, both about the state of our government and the opinions that reign freely on Capitol Hill. As we as a nation move forward, once again assured with healthcare and paychecks, these ordeals should be a lesson to heed. And hopefully our government will do the same: pick itself back up and work to make America great again.