By Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson
The shutdown of our federal government, the result of President Trump’s intemperance and incongruent request for $5 billion dollars to construct a wall at our nation’s southern border, is callous and blatantly unfair to nearly 800,000 federal workers whose lives have been disrupted.
It is yet another example of the lack of empathy by some of those in power in Washington for people who do not have resources beyond the pay that they expect to receive for the work that they perform, many of them living from one pay period to the next.
The sad thing is that the president knew full well that support for the money he demanded did not exist in the Senate. Rather than face reality he chose to listen to rigidly-partisan members of the media and some in Congress who suggested to him that he could forget about their support in the 2020 presidential election if he did not draw a line in the sand.
And that is exactly what he did. He drew a line in the sand, dragging his shoe across the landscape as the winds began to whip up sand and toss it in the faces of federal workers, ending any thought of a joyful holiday season for many of them.
Those who encouraged President Trump to ignore the reality that he faced reminded him that he had promised voters in the 2016 primary and general elections that he would build a wall and that Mexico would pay for it.
For their part, Mexican government officials informed him immediately that they would not pay for a wall. So much for promises! Disgustingly, this shutdown is rooted in a campaign promise, and the fear that those who believed it will turn against the president if it appears as though he misled them.
What is taking place is no way to run a government, and it certainly is no way to treat the dedicated men and women who come to work each day to ensure that government functions properly.
The president seems to believe in the colloquium, “my way or the highway.” Someone needs to tell him that government is not a one-way thoroughfare. It is more like a two-lane highway where there are proper rules of behavior and order.
Those that prudently navigate it do not simply remove their hands from the steering wheel when it appears that things are not going their way. That leads to chaos! That leads to government shutdowns and harm to innocent people.
Congresswoman Johnson represents the 30th Congressional District of Texas in the United States House of Representatives.
This article originally appeared in the Dallas Post Tribune.