Now that it’s over, can we please get past the emotions and understand what really drove the government shutdown? Half of our senators put national security and the well-being of 325 million American citizens at risk in a political ploy. The Senate had until at least March 5th to resolve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) issue. Yet, they were so adamant about an immediate resolution that would win the hearts of these non-citizens, they thumbed their noses at the the people they were sworn to protect and serve–U.S. citizens.
Granted, some level of protection and provision for children of illegal immigrants is essential. They are in the U.S. through no fault of their own, and many are contributing positively to our society. Most Americans want fair treatment for these young folks we refer to as “dreamers.” However, it is a complex problem with major questions of paths to citizenship, border security, qualification for government assistance, status of parents, etc. Last fall, President Trump gave Congress a deadline of March 5th to resolve the DACA issue. Later, he hinted that he would be willing to extend that date if progress was being made. The Senate Democrats made this issue a partisan showdown sacrificing their responsibility for the entire citizenry to appease less than one percent of the population. Of course, this move will make this small group forever beholden to the Democratic party for generations.
America has always understood the desire of people around the world to come to our country. That is why we have laws and policies to provide such an opportunity. We are all about sharing the blessings of freedom, but it has to be done in a legal and orderly manner. Controlling the illegal entry of unscreened, undocumented people must be part of the resolution of the DACA issue. Otherwise, we will face that same problem again in just a few years. The shutdown was the Democrats’ attempt to force an over-night DACA decision while kicking the illegal entry problem down the road.
A government shutdown, even if short-lived, is a major inconvenience. And the principle of it is extremely important. When partisan politics abruptly stops government services for its citizens, something is terribly wrong with our representation in Congress. Furthermore, when the governmental needs of a tiny minority of non-citizens take precedence over the needs of the rest of the nation, Washington has become dysfunctional.
There is another causal factor to this shutdown. Its timing was at the first anniversary of Trumps presidency. Democrats wanted to distract Americans from the booming economy and national optimism largely credited to the president by handing him a defeat. They punctuated a year of unprecedented accomplishments with a government shutdown. Their unstated statement: “You’re on a roll, Mr. President, but we can still stop you short of 60 votes.”
So, the real issue here is not about the best interests of the DACA children. The real issue is the struggle for power between the two political parties. The current minority party is in constant pursuit of ways to derail the majority party. And the losers are the constituents.
Many elected officials seem willing to sell themselves out to peripheral issues at the expense of over 99 percent of Americans in order to accomplish their goals. As long as this is the case, we will continue to live in a beautiful land of endless potential governed by too many short-sighted, selfish leaders.