Shutting down the United States government, even a “partial” shutdown, is an irresponsible action with dangerous consequences.
It’s worth repeating:
Shutting down government, closing and disabling government, is hugely irresponsible and downright dangerous. It brings America to the edge of chaos. It puts us within sight of anarchy. As the shutdown continues, uncertainty and disorder spread through American society and economy.
Disorder spreads slowly at first. At some point disorder can quicken and run out of control.
Free government cannot be taken for granted.
It is easy to destroy government, if that is what a tyrant wants to do. It is difficult to restore a broken government.
We all need to understand the implications as the government shutdown extends from days to weeks. Do we understand what it means when a country stops paying its workers?
Do we understand what it means when a president threatens to extend a shutdown indefinitely? When a president threatens to seize power by declaring an emergency? It is not a normal thing. I don’t believe any American president has ever issued such a threat before.
Americans need to recognize that we are risking a transition from democracy to tyranny. We are flirting with chaos, anarchy, autocracy.
What to do?
Both sides are responsible. Either side could choose to end the shutdown. At this point, it doesn’t matter who takes the blame. But it might matter who gets the credit for ending the crisis. We can sort that out later.
Trump’s border wall in and of itself is not important. It’s almost entirely symbolic on both sides.
Suffice it to say that the physical structure of a wall can do little harm. It might even do some good, preventing a handful of unauthorized immigrants and a few drug smugglers from crossing the border. Certainly, there is no crisis at the border. The Border Patrol is capable of doing its job.
Let us stipulate that the wall is not strictly necessary. The main harm is that it will cost a lot of money that could be better spent elsewhere. But the cost will not break the bank.
The Wall Is By Far The Lesser Evil.
Clearly, the wall is now a small evil, but the danger to America of prolonging the government shutdown is a great evil.
Responsible and wise is the leader or politician who steps forward, takes this dangerous shutdown by the horns, throws it to the ground and drives a sword through its heart.
Certainly, President Trump could be that responsible and wise leader. Unlikely.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer could be courageous and wise leaders. I think Pelosi and Schumer are more likely to recognize the danger of continuing the shutdown. They are more likely be reasonable, while Trump is more likely to be egoistic.
Would you rather go into the history books as a courageous and reasonable leader? Or as an egoistic maniac? Trump, Pelosi, Schumer, make your choices.
I beg any politician who has it within their power to do the right thing and end this dangerous crisis. If it means appropriating money to build a wall, so be it. It is a small price to pay.
The courageous and wise leader who ends the deadlock may be seen as losing; they probably will be reviled by their friends. Such is often the lot of great leaders. That’s why “Profiles In Courage” is a short book.
There may be consequences for the 2020 election. We have time to sort that out.
— John Hayden