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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A Dose Of Dystopia In Atlanta

The scene in Atlanta last night and today is worth talking about.

Thousands of children stranded overnight in schools. Or worse, stranded for hours on schoolbuses!

Thousands of adults (and children too) stranded for hours, or all night, in traffic that’s frozen in place on icy highways. No food, no restrooms. When the car runs out of gas, no heat. Thousands sleeping in any big-box store or impromptu shelter that will open the doors.

It’s chaos. Now, imagine such conditions continue for a few days. A few weeks? I suppose that’s what the early days of Dystopia will look like.

The temperature will rise in Atlanta in a day or two, and the ice will melt. The chaos will be short-lived, not much harm done, hopefully. A  week from now, Atlantans will look back on it as a great adventure. A generation from now, it will be legendary. Grandparents will tell grandchildren about it. The grandchildren will think the old folks are exaggerating.

Atlanta last night and today is a wakeup call, a teachable moment.

Millions of people are always skating on the edge of chaos in our complex, interconnected metropolitan areas. We depend on responsible governments and private organizations to maintain function and order. All it takes is one or two wrong decisions (no need to salt the streets. no need to close the schools), one technical breakdown, one storm, one neglectful agency or public official, and  . . . chaos.

How many weeks of chaos would it take before . . . Dystopia?

John Hayden

London Is Burning

This just in from a blog in London:

Tonight, in one of the greatest cities in the world, society is ripping itself apart.

If you want to know the latest in the American-European Political-Debt Crisis of 2011, I recommend you read blogs like Penny Red.

If you want a preview of what’s coming to an American city near you, California is no longer the barometer. Look at what’s going on in London, or Dublin, or Greece, Italy, Portugal, and the entire European Union. Europe is now in worse shape than America, but maybe not for long.

Here’s an excerpt from today’s report in Penny Red:

Tonight in London, social order and the rule of law have broken down entirely. The city has been brought to a standstill; it is not safe to go out onto the streets, and where I am in Holloway, the violence is coming closer. As I write, the looting and arson attacks have spread to at least fifty different areas across the UK, including dozens in London, and communities are now turning on each other, with the Guardian reporting on rival gangs forming battle lines. It has become clear to the disenfranchised young people of Britain, who feel that they have no stake in society and nothing to lose, that they can do what they like tonight, and the police are utterly unable to stop them. That is what riots are all about.

And more from Penny Red:

 This morning, as the smoke begins to clear, those of us who can sleep will wake up to a country in chaos. We will wake up to fear, and to racism, and to condemnation on left and right, none of which will stop this happening again, as the prospect of a second stock market clash teeters terrifyingly at the bottom of the news reports. Now is the time when we make our choices. Now is the time when we decide whether to descend into hate, or to put prejudice aside and work together. Now is the time when we decide what sort of country it is that we want to live in. Follow the #riotcleanup hashtag on Twitter. And take care of one another.

I also recommend Baroque in Hackney, who can provide other pertinent links in Britain.

And today, in Wisconsin, the people are voting. I wonder if what they decide, one way or another, will be able to slow down, one iota, the spread of the chaos in the Western World.

I have to go to work now.

— John Hayden