Trump’s Wall Is The Lesser Evil Compared To Danger Of Extended Government Shutdown

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PHOTO BY JOHN HAYDEN

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

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8 thoughts on “Trump’s Wall Is The Lesser Evil Compared To Danger Of Extended Government Shutdown

  1. The House passed a bill to end the shutdown. Now its up to the Republican led Senate to do the same with enough votes the President can’t veto it. Lets see if they have the courage.

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    • Hi Bonnie. Yes, that’s a small step in the right direction. But unless the House is willing to add the $5.8 billion for the wall, the Republican Senate is not ready to pass it. At least not yet. It requires a 2/3 majority of both houses to override a presidential veto. I know the Republican Senate could not get anywhere near 2/3, and I seriously doubt that the House could either. Democrats have only a slight majority in the House and would need a lot of Republicans to reach 2/3. But with you and me and a lot of other folks hoping and praying, somehow the politicians will come to their senses.

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    • From what I’m hearing on the news, the problem isn’t just the borders. It’s also our ports where drugs etc come in. It’s also those who come in legally and then just stay when their visa etc is up. Democrats aren’t against border control just how it’s handled and funded.

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      • Thank you Kathy, good points. Regarding drugs, most are probably hidden as contraband among large shipments of legitimate merchandise coming into the country by truck or by ship, and sometimes by airplane. That seems to be a more efficient way for drug cartels to transport their merchandise, compared to having some guy carry it on his back over miles and miles of desert, with a high probability that he’ll be captured at the border.

        Regarding immigrants, yes it appears that a lot simply overstay their visas. I guess we could have better monitoring of the visa system if we wanted to, but that wouldn’t have anything to do with a wall.

        Many terrorists seem to be homegrown, people who immigrated legally long ago, or the children of such people. A wall wouldn’t stop them, because they came in legally. Some of these people, because of their religion or for other reasons, become radicalized and commit terrorist acts.

        And of course terrorists who have been trained abroad seem to come in on airlines, somehow having acquired documentation that allows them entry. Again no wall, only airports.

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  2. I couln’t agree more .
    You’ve gotta pick your battles !
    As JFK said regarding the Berlin Wall …
    “It’s not a very nice solution , but a wall is a hell of a lot better than a war”.
    In this case , a wall is a hell of a lot better than the slippery slope of a prolonged government shutdown .

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    • Thanks Tom. That’s a great quote from JFK. Probably applicable in a lot of cases. Almost anything is better than a war. ✌️ And slippery slope is an excellent way to look at the government shutdown. Right now we’re at the top of the slope, but near the edge. I hope that we never find ourselves at the bottom of the slippery slope, looking back up and wishing we had done something different.

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  3. Late to the party.

    I have an opposite take and it has to do with precedent. This is in fact horrible, and your point is well taken that the wall — which might never get built anyway even if it were greenlighted now — would probably do less damage than the shutdown is promising to do.

    But what does it say if we establish that any time this childish President doesn’t get his way, he can refuse to sign vital legislation? What will he want in return for the next continuing resolution? What will the President after him want? Let’s just pray that America never elects such a selfish, narcissistic asshole again, but bets?

    I don’t want people to suffer. Hell, I live just outside DC. This is going to whack every local community. But I also don’t want us going down the road a concession would open. It amounts to negotiating with terrorists, which is what some of our elected leaders have become. There is no reason the damn Senate can’t vote and override veto power.

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    • Agreed, government shutdowns over funding cannot become a routine way of settling disputes. All presidents can refuse to sign legislation. It’s the presidential veto, established in the Constitution, and it is used frequently by many if not all presidents. I agree with you that using the presidential veto to shut down the government is a wrong use of that power, probably not foreseen by the founders.

      Well, there is a reason the damn Senate can’t override a veto. Actually, two reasons. First and most obviously, A lot of Americans elected Republican senators who side with the republican president. Elections have consequences, and this Republican Senate is a consequence.

      But a second observation about the Senate: It is not representative of the American population, because many states with small populations elect two senators, and states with large populations also elect two senators. So the many small states wield more power in the Senate than the few large states.

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