OPINION: The Good Thing About the Government Shutdown

By: Naomi Metoyer
OwlFeed Opinion Editor

The year 2019 is yet to be a month in, and already it has made history. The 116th Congress is so divided concerning the President’s urging for funding of a wall on the southern border that the government has actually shut down. Though not the first time this has ever happened, 2019’s shutdown has already become the longest in the history of the United States.

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Photo credit: The Washington Times

With the government not functioning, federal funding has effectively stopped, thus leaving over 800,000 families without their first checks of the new year. Countless aspects of life have been put in jeopardy because of this halt in government efficiency.

I have, myself, felt the effects of the shutdown in my own life. Part time as it is, my job has been compromised due to a noticeable decrease in the shop’s sales. I receive less and less hours because the shop continues to receive less and less business.

With less revenue circulating due to the shutdown, businesses all over have needed to cut shifts as sales drop at alarming rates. According to a manager my boss spoke with, Dutch Bros, usually a hub of activity, has been losing thousands each week this month.

The political stalemate occurring in Washington D.C., thus, affects far more than originally thought. This all due to the desire by the Republican party, led by the President, for more funding for a wall between Mexico and the U.S.

The government, as of the November elections, is divided. This means that the White House is controlled by one party, while Congress has one or more houses controlled by the opposite party. As of this new year, the House has a Democratic majority, which means the party has more power to resist red legislation and give the President a run for his money.

They have done just that. When the president proposed a bill that would grant $5 billion dollars to construction of the wall he had so promised in his election campaign, the House denied him. Trump, as well as the Republican Senate, did not appreciate this.

Since then, the government had been at a halt for 35 days until the shutdown ended Jan. 25. The sides, neither of which seems to be wavering, needs to make a deal by Feb. 15 to avoid another one.

Two paychecks have passed and hundreds of thousands of government employees have seen no compensation for the work they continue to do. Those we depend on for what we consider the necessities of a functioning society are struggling to make rent and mortgage payments, send their kids to school, commute to a thankless job, and put food on the table at night.

The Republican majority Senate refuses to allow the government to run again if the funding is not promised. From this, we have seen an inspiring show of determination from several freshman House members who are taking the initiative to call out these idiotic tactics that continue to hurt the American people.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — or AOC — Rashida Talib, Ilhan Omar, and so many others are using their new power to call out those who have been abusing theirs for far too long. These new representatives — young, bold, and unafraid — have become the one shining light through this all.

AOC has become a champion for the American people, especially those of the younger generation. This is probably because she IS our generation.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was in her late twenties, bussing tables in New York when she decided she wanted change. A change not just within her own life, but one that would grant her the ability to place that change upon the society, the world around her. Starting off with only about 300 followers on Twitter, the young woman campaigned and won, and now represents her fellow citizens in the capital.

She, alongside fellow House members Ilhan Omar and Rashida Talib — other strong, female leaders who made history not only in their election, but in their push in this first month as well — have sparked a light in politics and government that has for too long been doused by the mechanisms and maneuverings of those in power who would rather serve their own twisted agendas than the constituents who granted them that power in the first place.

AOC, during the shutdown, made several attempts to call out and upon the leadership within the Senate, those who were just as responsible for this governmental halt as the President. The young representative used her platform on Twitter to draw American eyes to an individual many did not know was responsible for this just as much as the president — Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader, and thus the gatekeeper of legislation within that legislative house. Rallying citizens all over, AOC called countless times out to the masses: “#WheresMitch?”

We can see her and several other House members tackling this issue in real time and through real outlets. Dozens of House freshman passed along their terms to Senate, which has proved the ultimate barrier to governmental process. They searched for McConnell all over Washington, though he was nowhere to be seen. Their first addresses to the House were dedicated to the crisis of the governmental gridlock and brought further attention to this damaging phenomenon.

The government shutdown has caused a shift in the economy, the daily lives of citizens, and the trust Americans have in the government. However, maybe this shutdown was meant to introduce us to those individuals who will prove to be champions of the people and pioneers for the new world order, those who I will see rise and rise as the old system falls. I only hope so.