The Shutdown

Trump's most often repeated campaign promise was that he would build a 2,000 wall between the US and Mexico and make Mexico pay for it. When Mexico refused to pay for such a wall, it was expected that Trump would get the money from Congress because, after all, his party controlled both the House and the Senate. Yet, he failed there too because, as a group, Republicans regard negotiation and compromise as indicative of moral failure (as Kentucky senator Rand Paul put it, it's wrong for those who occupy the moral high ground to those who occupy the low ground). 

When you have a petulant president who is used to getting things his way, and he suddenly can't do it, bad things are sure to follow, the bad thing in this case being that Trump has refused to allow 800,000 government employees to draw their paychecks until such time as Congress allocates money for his wall, something that Congress was unwilling to do even before January 2, when the Democratic Party took control of the House of Representatives. Today marks day 31 days since one-quarter of federal employees drew their last paycheck. 

Trump opened the shutdown with the following words:

"I will shut down the government, and I am proud [that] I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it... I’m going to shut it down.”

A few days later, he blamed the Democrats for making him do it (I don't know if Republicans are too oblivious to notice or too immoral to care that Trump rarely opens his mouth without lying). Since the shutdown, the people who protect our borders are going unpaid, although Trump claims that the shutdown is aimed at strong borders; federal courts are not hearing cases; loans are not being approved; national parks are being robbed and vandalized; travel by plane is grinding to a halt; criminal investigations are ending prematurely; and so on ad finitum. All of these countless millions of people are suffering, not because of anything they did but because their president is in a snit. Such recalcitrance is what passes for strength among Republican voters.

On the bright side, Trump and Congress are still being paid, although the Secret Service agents who protect them are not. When the leader of the Congress advised Trump that, because of security concerns during the shutdown, he should postpone a speech he wanted to make to Congress; he denied her access to a government plane for a secret trip, although he allowed his wife to take a vacation in Air Force One. So what does Trump have to say to (and about) these people who are going unpaid and who, in many cases, are being forced to work because their jobs are deemed "essential"? 

1) He says that most of them voted Democratic, which, I suppose, means that it doesn't matter if they're paid. 

2) Despite having never lived a moment of his life during which he didn't have more money than the life savings of hundreds of thousands of us added together, he says that he can relate to not getting a paycheck. 

3) He says that those who are being unpaid will "get by like they always do" (he is apparently is referring to the fact that the Republican Party has often shut down the government when it didn't get its way, although it has never shut it down for this long). 

4) He says that those who aren't being paid are happy to make the sacrifice. 

5) He assures the country that he's eager to negotiate with the Democrats, but that they're unwilling to negotiate with him, and while it is true that he invited the two most powerful Democrats to the White House, it's also true that they went, and that Trump Tweeted the event as follows: "Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy [he calls others by their first names but demands that he be called "Mr. President"], a total waste of time. I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, 'NO." I said 'bye-bye.'"

Trump is the standard of truth to millions of Republicans who praise him to their children as an example of how a good man should live. To millions of Democrats, Trump is proof that the Republican Party represents the nadir of dishonesty and immorality. It is to millions an organization for people who take the position that, "As long as I get mine, then screw you," "America First" being code for "Me First, and You Not at All." I keep thinking that the day will come when these people are finally fed up with supporting a man whose behavior flies in the face of the very Christian values that they claim to hold dear, but since it hasn't happened yet, I find it hard to envision what it would take to make it happen.