Editorial: Amid government shutdown, politicians have forgotten who they serve


Charlie Coffey/Iowa State Daily

Donald Trump speaks about his platform on Sept. 19 at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Dinner.

Editorial Board

Wednesday marks the Day 26 of the partial government shutdown. While a serious matter on the first day, the shutdown is beginning to create serious ramifications for Americans. 

President Trump has requested upwards of $5 billion for a wall along the southern border, but Democratic leaders in Congress are refusing to fund that barrier. The resulting shutdown has affected around 800,000 federal employees and left people asking how this whole ordeal is going to end.

Both Trump and Democrats in Congress blame each other for the impasse — Trump saying that he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security” and reiterating to Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, “I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.” He has since reversed his position, now blaming Democrats in Congress for the shutdown.

While an interesting position for both sides to take, “It’s my opponents fault, not mine,” the result has led to a clear breakdown in the legislative process — House Democrats won’t fund the barrier; Trump won’t sign a bill without border wall funding and the Senate won’t even vote on a bill unless it’s guaranteed to pass in the House and that Trump will sign it.

New idea, instead of Republicans versus Democrats, our elected officials should start playing legislative branch vs. executive branch. Throw the judicial branch in the mix and maybe we could get a good game going.

This government shutdown is a prime example of how party allegiance has become more important than fulfilling the responsibilities of an office. The executive branch sets the agenda, the legislative branch writes laws and the judicial branch plays referee.

Right now, only half of Congress is even attempting to pass laws. Seriously, the Senate has only voted on one thing. The executive branch is demanding something from Congress so that they have zero obligations to said branch to fulfill. Both sides firmly are entrenched in their positions, which leaves the judiciary sitting on the sidelines.

So how will this shutdown end? No one can know for sure, but one thing will be true if and when the government reopens: our elected officials owe us an apology.

What President Trump and congressional leaders are doing right now is lazy, stubborn and selfish. They are looking to serve their party and self rather than the American people.

Regardless of your stance on a border barrier, as an American you shouldn’t support the actions of any of our leaders. Rather than working together to make our country great, they’re working against each other with that same goal in mind.

They’ve forgotten how the Constitution dictates the American government works. They’ve forgotten who they serve. And they’ve let us down.

Elected officials, step up or step down.