One month before the 2014 election, I was talking with a liberal couple. Working-class parents with a developmentally disabled son, they believed in government-run programs, but also prided themselves on working for a living. Our sharpest disagreements revolved around the proper role of domestic spending. They were committed Democrats, except on one issue, they told me: “We will vote for a Republican if he promises to secure the border.” In 2016, Democratic voters may have re-elected liberal US Senators and House Reps back to Washington, but they crossed party lines to put the businessman, celebrity mogul in the White House. “That Republican” they wanted was President Donald Trump.
Today, Trump’s pro-American nationalist agenda has transformed the country’s discourse for the better. Not its coarseness, which emerged during Obama’s relentless transformation of our country, but its sharpened focus on illegal immigration. Keenly aware of his campaign promises, Trump has drawn a big red line in the sand for the budget: a big beautiful wall. The outgoing Republican House majority voted to fund the wall. Senate Majority Leader McConnell signaled his readiness for the budget. Before (and after) the January 3rd transfer, however, Democrats had enough Senators to filibuster the legislation. The resulting shutdown has lasted since the Christmas holiday, and this impasse belongs to the Democrats, root and branch.
Some will argue that President Trump’s unrepentant demands are unrealistic. This criticism may have some merit. Presidents with predominantly private sector or military experience often find Congressional law-making in particular, and federal politics in general, daunting and frustrating. There is no clear chain of command for accomplishing goals. In a private organization with goals and outcomes, the people in charge ensure that their directives are carried out. In Washington, vote-trading, log-rolling, compromise are essential.
However, our government exists to protect our rights and to secure our borders (consult Article Four, Section Four of the United States Constitution for details). Border security is not up for debate, nor should the government’s role be compromised away. Besides, the gridlock overwhelming Congress is not a fault or an askance detail of our constitutional framework. The rigorous clash of power between today’s Democrats and Republicans reflects a fundamental divide which has forever shaped the two parties. One believes in a secure sovereign America. The other does not. There is no room for compromise on this. Trump is right to take this fight, and die on this hill if necessary (although he won’t)
Democrats have pointed out that Trump’s originally promised that Mexico pay. Why tie up Congress? No one should spin Trump’s pledge as if he suggested that he would secure funding from our southern neighbor first, then construct the wall. Businesses don’t function like that. Most firms will take out a loan to fund their enterprise, then pay back what they borrowed after turning a profit.
Congress, especially Democrats, should have provided the funding by now. After all, a majority of legislators, from both parties in both chambers, voted to fund the wall. In fact, a decade ago more Democrats than Republicans had voted against immigration reform (amnesty), since Democrats were willing to play both sides of this issue: appeal to working-class white voters, but also promote their multicultural compassion, stating that they want amnesty, but they want to make sure that their proposal works for everyone. Secure the border, then plot an amnesty pathway.
The Democratic Party turned sharply to the left under President Obama, but even then for the first two years of the Obama administration, the Democratic majorities in Congress did nothing on immigration, as they were still intent on keeping some semblance of integrity with white working class voters, which had voted Democratic since the FDR administration. After the 2012 election, Democrats decided that working class voters, particularly white one, are not coming back. They have invested in identity politics, amnesty at all costs, and open borders as their new power grab.
President Trump is exploiting this Democratic about-face. He is picking the right fight to reject any budget without his—our--wall. This is what he was elected to do as President. Our country cannot survive open borders and the Democrats’ dedication to the unipolar Big Business-Big Labor-Big La Raza Lobby. The people who elected Trump, or rather the electors who elected him, were sent by a wide swath of working Americans of all backgrounds, from both parties, who want the border secure and who want illegal aliens deported for safety as well as economic reasons.
Desperate detractors now cry out that this extended shutdown is hurting federal workers, i.e. “It’s slowing airport security, etc.” First of all, it’s a partial shutdown. The TSA is A-OK. National parks are open. Government essentials still have funding. Secondly, the non-essential federal employees have been furloughed. Once again, the government’s job is to protect our rights and secure the border. Why does Washington DC have so many bureaucrats? If those employees want work, they should find essential labor in the private sector. Too many people are living off the federal teat as so-called civil servants, and some of them are actively undermining out President’s federal mandates.
In a last ditch effort, some conservative US Senators have floated legislation to end future shutdowns. Ironically, one of its sponsors is US Senator Mike Lee, who has erstwhile served as one of the most constituently constitutional members of the upper chamber. Congress is required to budget our monies. They cannot put federal funding on autopilot during protracted budget negotiations. Besides, the 2013 sequester cuts did not affect me, and this shutdown has not affected me or millions of Americans across the country who are living their lives freely and abundantly as never before.
What does affect all of us, however, is an open border with law enforcement thinly spread across among hit-and-miss barriers. No one should discuss ending the shutdown until the southern border is shut down for good: legal loopholes closed, funding provided for the wall, and ample resources to hire, train, and direct more border patrol.