Mr. President, end the shutdown

Something is eventually going to have to give, and I hope passionately that what does is not the Democrats’ refusal to build a wall.

by Shayne Jones, Staff Writer

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As the government shutdown enters a month and counting, democracy is nothing more than a cacophony of flaccid arguments drowned out by the egotistical mutterings of a man drunk on power.

The shutdown, which has officially broken the record as the longest in U.S. history, begins and ends with each party’s refusal to budge in their convictions regarding border security.

Haven’t we learned by now not to accept anything at face value? Especially if that face is a pruny, cheeto-dusted “businessman” with a Hitler complex?

While he and the Democrats butt heads during negotiations—’negotiations’ being a generous term—on potential funding for President Donald Trump’s inaugural promise of a border wall, nearly one million federal employees have been either mandated to work without pay or worse, furloughed.

Among those furloughed are public and national park custodians who, until Dec 22 2018, maintained and eliminated waste in natural wonders such as Yosemite.

Park toilets are overflowing with putrid excrement, garbage bins toppled over, campgrounds trashed; a conservationist legacy pioneered by presidents past, tarnished by indecency and vandalism.

Several major parks have even threatened to close indefinitely.

Superintendent David Smith of Joshua Tree National Park moved to close the grounds after reporting that vandals had “cut locks off of closed entrance gates, killed Joshua Trees and driven vehicles illegally in closed parts of the park, creating new roads through pristine desert areas.”

In a press statement released Jan 9 by the National Park Services on the potential closure of Joshua Tree National Park, NPS announced that with aid from recreational fees the park would in fact remain accessible to the public—but most of the damage is irrevocable.

Human life is at stake, too.

A hiker fell to his death at Yosemite while chasing after his dog on a trail which he should not have been using considering the weather conditions at the time.

It was Christmas Day.

Not four days before that, a 14-year-old girl met the same gruesome end at Horseshoe Bend Overlook in Arizona.

This shutdown has, quite ironically, trespassed the moral boundaries generated by congressional arguments for or against border security, and is now seeping quickly into the cracks of our National Park System, our agriculture inspection and our livelihood.

Trump’s childishly stubborn resolve to “Make America Great Again” is having real, domestic implications.

America is far from “great,” politics are at a standstill, and it’s all so that border ruffians can spend money (that we don’t even have) to deter people whose cultural thread is woven tightly, and might I say, crucially, into our national fabric.

This shutdown needs to end; that truth is clearly evident.

It needs to end for fathers who are unable to feed their children, for wolves whose dens were demolished by dunces doing donuts in the Joshua Tree desert, and for at least a fraction of our remaining national treasures to evade destruction.

But the end will not come at zero cost, and I mean that both literally and metaphorically.

Something is eventually going to have to give, and I hope passionately that what does is not the Democrats’ refusal to build a wall.

But If it does, I’m ready to fight for those who have lost the right to fight at all.

We have to save what’s left of our national integrity.

And that, Donald Trump, is something that you nor any government shutdown can take away from us.

Shayne Jones is a junior studying journalism. 

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