This past Friday, President Donald Trump announced the end of the government shutdown that was started on December 22nd over a lack of financial backing (request for approximately $5 billion) for his highly-touted "Border Wall" as a solution to the crisis at the Southern Border. A full five weeks have passed since the initial occurrence, during which certain aspects of government (such as the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and the Environmental Protection Agency) have been ground to a halt by Trump's insistence that the Democrats cave in against his fear-mongering ideology.
The shutdown has caused approximately 800,000 workers to stop receiving pay. NASA itself was compromised into furloughing 17,500 employees (approximately 85% of its workforce), and the IRS was forced to place nearly 50% of their staff on a temporary leave of absence at the beginning of tax season.
Such policies have been detrimental to the efforts of national security, as demonstrated by TSA agents (responsible for screening passengers and baggage) calling in sick in increased numbers in airports across the country, with many of them contemplating quitting due to financial hardship exacerbated by the government shutdown. In addition, national parks such as the Joshua Tree National Park have been closed down due to limited staffing and mounting pressure from visitors, despite the efforts of volunteers that stepped in to help with cleanup. Institutions of art and history, such as the National Gallery of Art and all 19 Smithsonian museums, were also closed as a consequence of the current political climate.
The widespread damage of this economic shutdown has also lead to an increased risk for public health epidemics.
A number of inspections of industrial sites such as treatment plants and chemical factories were also temporarily stymied because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was unable to pay its employees. This lack of inspection has also lead to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to halt its routine checks on food items that could possibly risk a high level of contamination, such as seafood and vegetables.
Overall, the effects of this government shutdown were widespread across a plethora of national departments and left hundreds of thousands without an adequate source of income, all for the sake of a physical barrier driven by a campaign of hatred and xenophobia, with our Commander in Chief at the helm of the hysteria. Only time will tell how impactful this decision was on our populace, but if there's one thing that we have learned, it is this: a government shutdown to settle political issues affects neither parties, but only the very people they swore to protect as representatives of the people.