No Crisis! You’re the Crisis! 

When the orange terror — I mean President Donald Trump — said he was going to build a wall at the southern border, I thought it was a joke. It's expensive, it's anti-immigrant, and seems regressively un-American. Not only was it not a joke, but, as of press time, the orange terror is seemingly willing to allow the federal government to be partially shut down indefinitely, halting federal services, hurting people's pocketbooks, and causing a slew of other disruptions, in order to force the issue of the border wall.

People's livelihoods are being played with, like this is one big game of Monopoly, all for what the president calls the "crisis" at the southern border.

Merriam-Webster defines a crisis as a "situation that has reached a critical phase" or an "unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending, especially one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome."

click to enlarge The southern border - REUTERS | EARNIE GRAFTON
  • REUTERS | Earnie Grafton
  • The southern border

There is no real crisis at the border. There are crises, however, in our schools, in the health-care system, in the criminal justice system, and elsewhere in this country. And the billions of dollars Trump wants to spend on border security could make a huge dent in those areas. But, that's a discussion for another day.

The most current crisis is the 800,000 federal employees who are not getting paid. Why should they be punished? Let's talk about the rent they won't be able to pay, or the car note, or the groceries they won't be able to afford for their families. What about the mothers and babies who could stop getting WIC benefits and therefore not have the things they need to survive, the kids whose school lunches will stop being provided, or the immigrants whose court dates have been rescheduled for a time in the unforeseeable future?

The FDA isn't regulating or inspecting food and drugs, FBI agents are working without pay, food stamps will stop being dispersed at the end of February, national parks are turning into waste zones, and airports are closing entire terminals due to a limited number of TSA agents. And this isn't even an exhaustive list of all the other chaos the shutdown has caused.

This is the real crisis, which could have, and should have been, avoided.

Trump's behavior mirrors that of a prepubescent child who throws tantrums when they don't get their way. That's all this government shutdown is: one big temper tantrum. When you are a 12-year-old girl, it's fine and even expected. But, when you're the leader of the free world and are responsible for the well-being of an entire nation, you need to do better.

Trump seems to have no regard for the millions of people his hissy fit is affecting. That's a slap in the face to the people who chose jobs, in some cases for an unglamourous amount of pay, who serve the country — and those of us who depend on their service. You can't just shut down the government of the world's most prominent country because you didn't get what you wanted.

The United States looks like such a joke to other countries around the world right now. I mean, I lost some faith in our country the day it elected the orange terror. But now? Trump's warranted a whole new level of disrespect.

Though it's unlikely Trump will ever be able to redeem himself from the absolute joke of a president he's become, he still has the time and opportunity to offset some of the havoc he's wreaked. If he does, maybe some day the history books can at least say one nice thing about him.

If he backs down now, it would show the world that he has at least an ounce of sense and reasonableness — not much, but some. But, I doubt that's coming. He's still talking about declaring an emergency to build the wall. He's going to have a real emergency on his hands if this continues. What happens when TSA agents can't survive working like unpaid worker bees anymore? Or when FBI agents decide to stop working for free?

And would a wall even solve the immigration "crisis?" Not unless it's coupled with updated, strong, fair legislation. A wall won't fix this country's problematic immigration system. Good leadership will.

At the end of the day, the United States is a country of immigrants built by immigrants. Those who came here 200 years ago to seek a better life have little room to criticize those who are coming in 2019 for the same reason.

The government shutdown is just another reminder that we are all living in a wonky Twilight Zone, a nightmare episode that, hopefully, we'll soon wake up from.

Maya Smith is a Flyer staff writer.

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