Editorial: Whose shutdown is it?
Whose problem is it anyway?
President Trump sat in a meeting with Democrats and pushed for a border wall. He did it emphatically and without question.
“I am proud to shut down the government for border security,” he said Dec. 11. “I will take the mantle.”
And government shut down. It’s been a month of jobs not getting done and checks not getting cut and people not being paid.
Obviously, you can’t have a standoff with just one person, just like you can’t make a deal by yourself.
So after four weeks, after an Oval Office prime-time speech and a Saturday afternoon White House address and suggestions by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to reschedule the State of the Union Address and the president countering with canceling her flight to Afghanistan and after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has all but disappeared from the conversation, who really does own the shutdown?
Is it the president who said he would take responsibility for it, who rejected the agreement made by Republican and Democratic legislators in December?
Is it the Democrats? Pelosi rejected Trump’s newest offer Saturday before he even made his live address.
Is it McConnell? He could have scheduled a vote on a clean funding bill with enough votes to overcome a presidential objection but opted not to do so.
Is it Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh? They’ve amped up pressure among their followers when Trump has made moves toward a deal.
“Trump proposes amnesty. We voted for Trump and got Jeb (Bush)!” Coulter tweeted after the president’s speech Saturday.
Is it maybe even freshman U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? She has amped up attention on her Twitter account with her #WheresMitch trolling.
Whose shutdown is it?
None of the politicians own what is happening.
It belongs to the people who aren’t getting paid to do jobs that need doing. It belongs to the people who will eat food that isn’t being inspected and fly out of airports staffed by unpaid TSA officers and on planes managed by unpaid air traffic control.
It belongs to sexual assault and domestic violence victims, hungry kids and scientists whose research could be threatened because of people who aren’t allowed to do the work.
It belongs to the people who have to deal with their government but whose government is not picking up the phone.
Regardless of who started the fight, the blow is felt by the people. And the blow falls harder and on more people the longer the shutdown drags on.
The shutdown is their game but our problem, and it needs to be solved. Soon.