So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #024: Shut It Down

Hello, Pop Culture Squad readers. I’m interrupting my regularly scheduled screed on the minutiae of pop culture I regularly consume to bring you a bit of political theater. While my compatriot Mike Gold does it far better than I ever could, after thirty days of the present farce in our fair nation, frankly pop culture isn’t serving me well.

Sure, I want to write about the current slump Saturday Night Live is working through. I’d love to pontificate on my recent rounds of Super Smash Brothers Ultimate Melee Battle Extraordinaire (or whatever it’s actually called on the Switch). I’d given nothing more right now, then the ability to focus on my watching the second (and last, boo) season of The Punisher — and how only 2 episodes in I’m already wanting to scream about the drastic dip in quality.

But no. None of it really resonates with me right now. Because our President and congress have frozen 800,000 people out of earned money — in addition to tens of thousands of independent contractors and related businesses who are all presently suffering — over what amounts to a debate over border security. 

I would like to make note here that to the best of my knowledge… there are no hordes of illegal sex-criminal-drug-dealer-super-soldiers pouring over the Mexico-United States borders. There are no tanker trucks of heroin running roughshod through our ports of entry (or, as one might suggest… making a left (it’s always a left) in the desert and on to American soil unencumbered). Granted: I personally have not flown over the expanse to survey the ongoing crisis for my own eyes. But reports from CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, and even Fox News have not made clear an undulating wave of humanity laying waste to our country like something pulled from any number of zombie movies.

What there is could best be described as a difference of opinion between the President of the United States, and the majority of the population living in the country (legally, mind you). On one hand, we have Donald Trump — who has provided no actual discernable proof to congress beyond his own opinion that there is a crisis so bad and out of control, that everything needs to stop in order to solve the issue. Because that would be a state of emergency. Opposing this (primarily) are the democrats in control of the House of Representatives, who flatly disagree with the opinion, and have rivaled it only with the desire to punt the ball down the field a short distance. They seek to solve the issue of our current shutdown first, and then take up the discussion. As best as I can glean, the opinion is backed by the fact that 800,000+ people have now missed one (or possibly more depending on when this posts) paychecks, with the stalemate only exacerbating things.

It’s at this point, per regulation of internet opinions, that I present my opinion on border security, immigration, and the like.

Simply put? I believe in legal immigration. And for those that cross the border without seeking proper channels to stay… need to taken to a court of law, and dealt with on a case by case basis. I wholly accept and understand that our legal system doesn’t have nearly the assets required to speedily do this. As such, overtime, the buildup continues, more illegal immigrants come in, and the cycle indefinitely swells to a breaking point. The way to solve this — again, my largely uneducated and mostly liberal opinion — is through a combination of tactics. Increasing the number of judges and legal folks to move cases through the system quicker. Better technology to monitor the border and track would-be problem-makers. Repairing, and yes, building effective physical structures specifically at points along the border that have been thoroughly researched to make an impact. Keeping in mind that a large swatch of our border technically is a river. So, maybe we need some mines or something. But I digress.

What matters to me most about this situation is that it feels like a hostage negotiation. Which is sickening. And my fear is the longer the stalemate continues, it will push people to quit their jobs. It’s a pebble kicked off the apex of the mountain. And all of this is occurring, again, when no actual crisis that has anything to do with those presently not being paid is actually happening. Furthermore: even if the democrats had caved to give our President the 5.7 billion dollars he needs to start the wall… making that decision would not erect a wall in an instant. It would merely start a months long process to start construction that could last beyond Trump’s time left in office. All the time that passes during this fever dream… the same evil sex-rape-drug-murder-death-killers are literally pouring over our border like the armies of Sauron descending upon Gondor. Even with the fake-problem solved, it doesn’t solve the fake-problem quickly.

All that will be left are the people pushed to the breaking point being forced to work for free hoping  that their backpay will be immediately processed and given to them. Who knows what the lasting damage will look like? We don’t know… because the shutdown is still going on with no end in sight.

It’s a reality stranger than fiction, and unlike a bad song, tv episode, or movie… there is no changing the channel.