Shutdown Day 34; who or what is driving this?

Dear President Trump,

Where to start? I suppose it doesn’t really matter all that much since wherever I look there’s grim news about the overwhelmingly negative impacts you and yours are having on pretty much everything (except for certain people’s bank accounts and certain foreign dictators’ satisfaction quotients). The shutdown is now in its 34th day, yet another record for the ledger to add to so many other ignominious records you’ve set.

The shutdown is now in its 34th day and even though we toss around the number 800,000 as a count of the federal employees affected by the shutdown, we have no idea how many people are directly affected by these individuals not getting paid. We don’t know how many of them are supporting dependent children, spouses, elderly parents, or disabled family members; there are no official records of all these connections and how all the ripple effects are playing out. So those additional people are invisible and the impacts on them are invisible. Yes, there may be a news story where a wife is interviewed about the affect of her Coast Guard husband not receiving his pay, but we are not, you are not, grappling with the true consequences of taking the government and her people hostage so that you can placate the worst of the worst of your bloodthirsty base. And then there are all the people (and animals and lands) that are being negatively, perhaps irreparably, harmed because the government is failing to serve them. Yesterday a spokesperson for flight control workers issued a dire warning about the risk of catastrophic accidents and other types of incidents; it appears to be just a matter of time before something truly awful happens.

You have to see that your calculus is way the hell off – even if you had a legitimate claim about border security and the wall addressing those issues, which you absolutely do not, there is no way to justify abusing, misusing, and neglecting millions of Americans and vital American interests to make some point about asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants. What is really motivating you in this standoff? Who is wedging a knife up under your rib cage to make sure you don’t back down? What are you distracting us from? Whatever is at play behind the scenes and whoever is driving this mess, there is clearly more going on than you being a recalcitrant bully because it just doesn’t add up.

May we be safe from malevolent leaders.
May we be happy to hold firm and not allow them to “win.”
May we insist that whatever is going on be aired so we can address it.
May you not start a war when your wall gambit fails.

Tracy Simpson

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