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Monday, October 14, 2013

It's a Shutdown, Not a Showdown - The Tartan

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Check out my forum article this week in The Tartan. In it, I focus on why I think this government shutdown has become more of a showdown between the Republicans and Democrats than anything and why this is simply revealing the problem that our nation is currently facing: a duopoly of political parties that continues to become more divided than ever before.

“We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting,” said a national park service ranger who was disturbed by instructions received from a boss, according to The Atlantic Wire. The United States has strictly enforced the closure of its national park services due to the government shutdown and has gone as far as putting more effort into restricting citizens from entering parks than it has simply allowing them to remain open.
Because Congress has been unable to agree on a budget, it makes sense that national parks have been unable to operate; financial funding is required to operate anything. However, what does not make sense is that, while the government has suspended their national park services, they have continued to keep a number of service members on the payroll, simply to restrict American citizens from accessing the parks.
Perhaps one of the most disturbing cases of this restriction is the World War II Memorial. As an open-air monument, it is available to citizens 24 hours a day. The monument was constructed almost entirely on private funding with $197 million in donations. There are little to no resources required to operate this monument, besides perhaps a guard or two. However, it has been physically barricaded from the public, and several workers have been put on guard to ensure that citizens cannot access it, according to Time magazine.
According to Fox News, Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) stated on the House floor last Tuesday that the Federal government is currently putting forth more resources to pay Federal workers to barricade the American people out of some national monuments than it does to actually operate them. These initiatives are nothing but a political game.
The idea that the closure of the World War II Memorial and others is a political game is only strengthened when one considers that the Republican National Committee offered to pay $150,000 a month to keep the monument open to the public during the course of the shutdown, according to The Daily Caller. They obviously wanted to make the Democrats look like the bad guys. In turn, the fact that the Obama Administration informed the Republicans that they cannot legally accept this offer shows that they do not want to make the Republican Party look like the good guys.
The Obama Administration and the Democratic Party clearly want to make the impact of the shutdown as widespread as possible, in order to cause the Republican Party’s approval ratings to plummet. If this is their objective, they have been successful so far.
According to MSNBC, only 5 percent of Americans currently approve of Congress. Moreover, an Associated Press-GfK Group survey found that 62 percent of Americans placed the blame on Republicans for the government shutdown.
Sadly, this shutdown simply reflects the entire problem with Washington. It is currently a duopoly where the primary objective of each party is to defeat the other.
This mindset is why this shutdown has lasted this long. Both parties want to look like the hero, and neither is willing to budge to the other.
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