So, it looks like we have ourselves a genuine Mexican standoff when it comes to funding the border wall. President Trump says we need it to assert the nation’s sovereignty and to protect our citizens from the scourge of drugs and crime that come with illegal immigration. Congressional Democrats say the wall is immoral, even though most of them voted for the Secure Fence Act back in 200—so maybe it’s just a matter of semantics, the difference between a wall and a fence or something? Whatever the case, neither side seems willing to budge.
So that leaves us heading into the fourth week of a partial government shutdown, with the $5 billion Trump has requested for the wall as the sticking point. It’s also the first week federal workers will be missing a paycheck—which means that the bickering between the president and Congress is starting to affect real people in real life. The only question is how long this can go on before that suffering trickles into the rest of the country, and the general public starts fuming.
By now it’s pretty obvious to everyone that politics has more to do with this argument than anything else. Trump can’t afford to back down, because a wall was central to his platform when he ran for president in 2016. The Democrats won’t back down because they want to deny him a political victory. Meanwhile, as usual, Joe Sixpack is getting the screws put to him. How can we get out of this situation before the feces really hit the fan?
Well, here’s the bad news: somebody has to lose. It’s just a question of who blinks first.
To my mind—and most conservatives—Trump has the better argument. Yes, he wants a trophy he can hang on the Oval Office wall, but he also wants better security for the border, which is good for every law-abiding citizen. Democrats, meanwhile, can only offer nebulous arguments about how a wall “isn’t who we are” in an attempt to disguise their true motivation, which boils down to, “Trump is an ogre and we hate him, so no way are we gonna give in.” None of that, however, has worked to end the stalemate.
Might I offer another suggestion? Put it to the American people this way: What harm does it to to Americans if we fund the wall? Conversely, what harm does it to to Americans if we continue with the shutdown?
The harm from the shutdown is obvious. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers—including TSA people, FBI agents, air traffic controllers—aren’t getting paid. That’s real pain. Pretty soon, those effects will ripple across the country at large. Funding the wall, meanwhile, will probably generate some controversy among the landowners along the southern border—but on the whole, it will be a net benefit to almost everyone else, as it will help stem flow of illegal immigration and will likely reduce the crime associated with it.
In other words, a lot of people are already getting hurt by the shutdown, whereas comparatively few will be hurt by the wall. From that standpoint, continuing the shutdown makes no sense, as it offers no net benefit to the American people—even if it benefits the Democrats politically.
Couldn’t hurt the White House to give it a try.