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The Greyhound

New perspective: We are the crisis


The longest government shutdown in the history of the United States of America continues to loom over our heads as the weeks go by. Every day on the TVs at the FAC, there is story after story about the shutdown and its repercussions as I run on the treadmill. I can’t help but look up in outrage as I see the government cease to operate as Congress and President Trump continually fail to resolve the issue of border security.

Admittedly, I am a 20-year-old college student studying philosophy who entered the political world when I voted in the 2016 presidential election. While my political experience is somewhat limited, and I have recently developed a distaste for looking at the news, my training in philosophy and the humanities has become quite robust during my time at Loyola University. While writing and speech are undoubtedly important, students in the humanities are challenged to look beyond the rhetoric and to understand the meaning of conflicts and argumentation at their core.

When looking at The New York Times or The Washington Post, I see headlines about President Trump’s efforts to build the border wall and stop illegal immigration. I see photos on news sites of the families being separated at the border. I see arguments about how the wall will be ineffective and how it is more about President Trump’s zeal to appear strong to his followers and gain attention. I also see stories about how if the Democrats would just say yes to the wall, the shutdown would end.

All I can make out is blame passed between different people and different parties, everyone trying to avoid it themselves. All of this blame argues who is at fault and who is responsible for the shutdown. These points might be arguable and valid, but the blame is a distraction. It’s white noise–a filler that distracts us from what is really going on in front of us.

While Congress and the president butt heads over the border wall, using the present events in their arguments against each other, they are simultaneously ignoring the consequences of their battle. Zoos are shut down, and the National Park Service is halting trash collection and road maintenance. Families are missing their paychecks. Families are still being separated at the border, federal employees are still not working unless they are deemed essential, and TSA employees are still calling in sick rather than working without pay, lowering safety in the air.

America’s biggest crisis is no longer at the border. America’s biggest threat to society is no longer illegal immigration, though some believe that this was never the biggest social threat in the first place. Our biggest problem as Americans is no longer our relationship with a country south of us. We, the people of the United States of America, are the crisis.

Anyone with enough power can live life generally unaffected, but for so many Americans, this is not the case. The average American worker who is being affected by this shutdown is struggling to pay for rent and groceries without their paychecks. The environment in some of our most treasured parks is suffering. The lack of humanitarianism is no longer only apparent in our treatment of immigrants seeking asylum but also in the lack of concern for what the shutdown is doing to the American people. President Trump continues pushing for the border wall and arguing about the Democrats’ lack of concern for border security. However, it is becoming increasingly evident that border security is becoming a relatively small problem compared to the larger issues that the government shutdown has created.

Congress should be coming up with better solutions than the wall they condemn. They should have proposals that are better than the border wall. President Trump should not be disguising his wall policy as the entire border security issue and should be open to comprehensive policies that both sides can agree on. People are hurting because of a battle over an issue that could be over if the president and those who oppose him both swallow their pride and keep the values of America in mind. They need to work together to create a solution in the best interest of everyone. They need to understand that it’s not the illegal immigrants they are hurting in this battle. We the people–those who our officials should be fighting for–are suffering.

Image courtesy of NBCNews

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New perspective: We are the crisis