I'm just a teenager with minimal insight into the government and the shutdown. Like most people my age, I get the bulk of my news from Twitter, which is an echo chamber of funny people with views similar to mine. I am really in no position to talk about anything other than my opinion on the position we're in as Americans and how politics affect me personally.
For that reason, I was hesitant to write or say anything at all about this partial government shutdown.
Then I saw that Cardi B posted a video where she slammed the government and complained about federal workers not receiving pay for the work they've been doing. She said we should take action, but she doesn't know what kind of action because this isn't what she does.
So, I decided that if Cardi B can call this country a "hell hole" and spark up conversations between senators and gain attention and respect, then I can say what I think. I'm in college, so I've had intellectual discussions in classes with scholars and I'm learning how to decipher what is factual information.
Although most of my news does come from Twitter, that's where Trump makes most of his addresses, or rants, or tantrums, or whatever people are calling them now, so I think it's acceptable. Sometimes I don't give myself enough credit because of how people act toward people my age, but I have been paying attention. And like Cardi B, I don't love what I've seen. It's getting personal for so many Americans, as we watch our families work without pay and continue to see children separated at the border.
It's not a good look for us.
I'm not an expert, but this is what I know: President Trump has been demanding about $6 billion for the building of a wall at the border of Mexico as means of border security. To the president, the current border security and immigration policies aren't cutting it.
At the end of December, a new spending bill was passed by the House. It included the $5 billion Trump was seeking, which is more than what the Senate planned for. So, the senators unanimously approved a bill to let the government run until Feb. 3.
Trump said he wouldn't sign the spending bill unless it had money for a wall, and was prepared to partially shut down the government if he was denied it.
It sounds like the shutdown was anticipated in a way. Trump has to know he isn't taken very seriously and would thus be questioned and potentially denied. And he was.
So, Donald Trump is officially the first president to shut down his own government.
It was expected that the government would remain partially shut down through the holidays until the House of Representatives was flipped on Jan. 3, but it's been about a month and neither Democrats or Republicans are blinking.
Federal workers have to do their jobs without pay. Families are finding odd ways to make ends meet. Trump is proving his incompetence for the umpteenth time, which has got to be embarrassing, even for him. He's finding ways to punish Democrats, like taking away Nancy Pelosi's trip abroad. Even Clemson's championship-winning football team had to sit through a candlelit dinner of fast food because a better meal couldn't be provided. As funny as I think that is because Clemson is my rival school, it's pathetic and sad.
That's everything I've learned about the shutdown just in passing; since it isn't a lot, I have questions.
Why do we suddenly need a wall? Why are we supposed to feel threatened by immigrants? How many immigrants are actually illegal, and where do most illegal immigrants come from? Would an expensive and timely wall help the situation? And most importantly, do we just have an extra $5 billion lying around? If there is all that extra money, couldn't it go to something more positive than a wall?
Because I'm curious, I looked into finding answers. And about every answer or solution I found is intertwined in another.
First and foremost, people are threatened by immigrants for economic reasons. This is extremely paradoxical because a wall would put us in even more debt. Solving one problem would lead to another. We obviously don't have an extra $5 billion for a wall. In fact, the U.S. is $21 trillion in debt, and that number is constantly climbing. This is why senators of both parties didn't want to pass the original spending bill, but as they always do, they were willing to put some money toward some sort of border security.
Another reason people are threatened by immigrants is that they feel as though their jobs are in jeopardy. I hear this constantly in my day to day life. Not in so many words, because the people I know who say it aren't really the most intelligent and are certainly not very eloquent speakers.
Just based on what I personally have seen, immigrants who come here are usually desperate and seeking asylum because where they come from isn't safe. Meaning, they will take whatever jobs they can get and they work their asses off at them because they don't take an opportunity for granted.
Usually, they are the jobs few Americans want. And ironically, the government shutdown is probably hitting the pockets of families of federal workers way harder than a few jobs "taken" by immigrant workers.
As for statistics on immigration, it's hard to say how many immigrants cross the border from Mexico illegally. However, as of 2016, there were 10.7 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. That is only 3.3% of the total population, which is a 13% decline from 2007. And of the 10.7 million unauthorized immigrants, only about half were from Mexico. Therefore, spending $5 billion on a wall that would take forever to build to solve a problem that is decreasing anyway seems insane to me.
I've never felt personally victimized by immigrants because I'm confident in my ability to work, and if somebody ever beats me out for a position it's probably because they're just better. That's why I work hard. I won't point fingers at anyone just trying to have the best life they can. I will, however, place blame when the president throws temper tantrums when he doesn't get what he wants, then handpicks who gets the short end of whatever stick he decides to pull so that it works for him and the people on his side.
I live in an America where qualifications don't matter anymore.
We have a president who had no experience in politics and arguably has no idea what he's doing.
A rapper can gain attention and respect for talking about politics in the most informal way. That's why I won't hesitate anymore to open myself up to politics and talking about it.