As of this article's submission, the federal government is still shut down. As a result, thousands of federal workers are going without pay, including TSA agents, National Park rangers, and IRS workers. In some cases, some workers are running so low on money that some are resorting to food banks to feed their children and others are struggling to pay their medical bills.
But perhaps the most damning thing about this shut down is not only are federal workers not getting paid, they still have to report to work. Airport security, National Weather Service meteorologists, and Forest Service firefighters are some of the many jobs that are currently working without pay. Now, federal government shutdowns are not a new phenomenon; we have had them before and oftentimes they have only lasted several days.
What sets this government shutdown apart is that it is completely dragging all because Donald Trump wants $5 billion for...well, you probably guessed it...his wall.
Trump claims that there is a humanitarian "crisis" unfolding on the US-Mexico border, that after years of decrying Mexican immigrants as these kinds of predators, he is holding the government hostage. He claims that the wall is meant to keep us safe.
But Mr. President, how can federal workers feel safe when they are struggling to feed their children?
From the start, Trump's crusade against immigrants has been built on the racist lie that Mexican immigrants are coming to the US to steal jobs and wreak havoc across our cities. While this may seem obvious (given all of the other deplorable things we've seen enabled by this administration), it is important to understand that this is nothing new. The blaming of one group of people for a society's problems has been used to target slaves in antebellum America. It's been used to target Chinese immigrants coming to the West to build the railroads in the 19th century. And yes, it has been used by Adolf Hitler to target Jews in the events leading to World War II.
With Trump convincing himself that his wall will be built soon, it's vital than ever that we urge the newly Democratic House to reject the wall funding and reopen the federal government. Depriving federal workers of their hard-earned money is sleazy enough, but if we decide to cave in to xenophobia, and agree for the wall to be funded, what will that say about us as well?
These are questions that we must ask and organize around. Trump has vowed to take responsibility for the government shutdown. But as a master manipulator, we cannot let ourselves get tricked by Trump and say that we will not allow ONE PENNY to go to his useless wall.