The Presidential Hostage-taking Crisis
Failing to protect their constituents from Trump’s mendacity won’t make Congress any more palatable in the future, either.
President Donald Trump has taken America hostage.
Sit with that sentence for a second. It’s not one you hear too often, at least in America. Go ahead. Roll it around in your mind. Your president, such as he is, has taken the nation hostage to an idea with absolutely no merit whatsoever.
Now that you have settled into the idea, this is literally an act of extortion, as surely as if he walked into Congress and professed, in his best gangster voice: “This sure is a nice nation you’ve got here. Be a shame if something happened to it. Just give me the down payment of $5.6 billion to build a wall preventing those dirty Mexicans from entering America, engaging in terrible terrorist activities, taking our jobs, using government services, committing all kinds of crime, and no one will get hurt. But if you don’t I will shut down the government until you and millions of government workers beg for mercy; I will shut the government down for as long as it takes.”
Now that presidents taking American citizens and their salaries hostage has become part of the American lexicon and American tradition, let’s mention the facts we all know to be true:
800,000 federal workers will get their back pay. Sooner or later they will be paid. This is the fundamental statement you should walk away with.
Yes, it will take a while. Yes, it is inconvenient. Yes, some may lose their homes or their children will go without food. They have already begun to tap into their savings. They are probably going without some necessities at this moment, but no matter what happens, lost homes or not, they will eventually get a paycheck, for whatever good or ill it may do them for being late.
4.1 million government contractors probably won’t.
Five times as many contractors, scientists, food inspectors and a host of other government workers, will NOT get back pay for being furloughed. This is the fundamental statement few proponents of the closure of government are talking about. A number Donald Trump does not talk about when he breezily mentions back pay.
These contractors are already filing for unemployment because at this point, they have no idea WHEN or IF the government will restart in a timely fashion.
If this shutdown continues, many will be forced to live on their scant savings. Others will begin looking for new work, which will likely not pay as well as their old work. But the rent is due. Bills are due. Food is necessary. Life, no matter how cursed they are by being in the governmental employ of a megalomaniac goes on.
They will just go without pay, sacrifices to the vanity of Donald Trump, his idiot base and the Congress unwilling or unable to stop this childish tantrum with catastrophic results for millions of Americans. Mitch McConnell, I am looking directly at you.
Is this what we call responsible government?
Living in fear of threats which do not exist, just to pander to people too stupid to realize they are being used by a man who literally couldn't care less if they lived or died right in front of his eyes? If Trump's base were paraded before him and set on fire, he wouldn't shed a single tear for them.
Tonight, we will see the limits of his mendacity. He tells sixteen lies a day on average. What will one more really big lie matter?
Will he evoke executive powers to FORCE the military to engage his vanity, despite two thirds of the nation having been polled as NOT wanting a southern border wall against Mexico? Aren't there so many other infrastructure projects in more desperate need of those dollars?
To be quite honest, if Mexicans were to find their way past the wall he plans to build, they would most certainly be caught trying to get away on the crumbling, deteriorating freeways in every direction in the nation. American infrastructure, once the envy of the world is now a broken shadow of itself, bridges, roads, electrical grids, water supplies, Internet services and sewer systems now so decrepit, other nations pity us.
Given the state of affairs:
Donald Trump’s failed leadership on nearly every front, foreign and domestic, his failed economic policy which is forcing farmers and manufacturers to rethink their strategies, hoping to survive long enough for someone with real business acumen to take the helm;
His pending investigations and litigations on multiple fronts, his unwillingness to sell his company, his outright nepotism of his children into government, his failure to appoint responsible cabinet members, his inability to maintain any degree of restraint on social media, his use of a non-secure device capable of being accessed by any script-kiddie with a decent hacker set;
His vulgar and uncouth manner unbefitting a Bowery bum let alone the president of these United States, such as he has left them, divided, disgruntled and now disheveled in the eyes of the world, his attempt to invoke executive powers seems small, almost insignificant to the racist atrocities committed in his name from almost all sides, both within his administration and without.
Donald Trump does not care about the five million or more government employees sacrificed upon the altar of his vanity, they are the price of doing business with a man who promised to run the government the way he ran his businesses... into the ground.
Not Expecting Back Pay, Government Contractors Collect Unemployment, Dip Into Savings
Archaeologist Greg Seymour loves his job in the Great Basin National Park, whose 77,100 acres straddle the Utah-Nevada…
He is also the Cognitive Dissident, living in desolation, a disillusioned, and despondent essayist who has lost all hope in the improvement of the human species. But, somehow, despite it all, he still remains defiantly hopeful humanity may still escape the Sword of Damocles.
He is also a freelance journalist for Polygon.com and Panel & Frame magazine. Thaddeus is the co-founder of Futura Science Fiction Magazine and one of the founding members of the Afrosurreal Writers Workshop in Oakland.