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Sun Times Feature Story

Sun Times 01.17.19

Americans Are

Held Hostage

By Larry Blustein -

After a three week partial shutdown of the government, the affects have started to find their way into south Florida.

Whether it’s the closing of national parks or TSA screeners at the airport - this shutdown has now cut into the daily lives, and whether President Trump cares or not - it’s now getting dangerous for families who need to get paid and get back to work.

“I have now gone into our savings and that is not fun at all,” said 44-year-old Valerie Williams of Dania Beach, who happens to hold down one of those jobs that is being paid by the government. “I don’t think that the average American - Republican or Democrat - really gives a darn about building a wall.”

Williams only knows that she and her husband are hurting - and with one child in college and the other getting ready to go next year - this is one of the most humiliating times of her life.

“We are definitely a two income family,” she explained. “Both checks are vital to us living and enjoying our lives daily. It has not been that way the past month.”

Like so many Americans, Williams is now getting to the point where enough is enough - and she is not alone.

Mark Thomas, who started working for the national parks system five years ago after getting his Master’s Degree, is sick about the layoff. While he says that he still goes to work to make sure that his park doesn’t get overrun by trash and people taking advantage, he is not getting paid. With a two-year-old with special needs that is a strain that he or his wife were not prepared for.

“I have never been political before, but what this President is doing is playing with our lives - and for what - to prove a point about safety,” Thomas questions. “This is insane to think that all of the people who depend on the government to live are being treated like this - because he wants to build some wall that will never, ever change what is happening in the world today.”

The Democrats, led by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, insist that they will spend no money on a wall, but only on technological solutions. They think no one will remember that the Bush and Obama administrations took the technology approach, and suffered embarrassing failure.

Everyone knows that border security is important, and with all the crime on the streets, the last thing we need is to have illegal aliens adding to what is already a tough place to live. But as we have watched  in so many of these mass shootings, the criminal element does not care what the obstacle is, if they want to do harm, they will certainly find a way.

Because building a wall along the southern border has been such a battle cry for this President - using the now famous “Mexico will pay for the wall” slogan to give his supporters something to rally around, but for anyone to understand what is at stake in constructing this wall, this is all a huge joke that many are feeling the crunch over.

“You take a look at something so broad as a border wall and believe that it’s really a needle in the haystack scenario,” retired economics professor Tammy Allen said. “Living here in south Florida, we fully understand being a destination for illegal aliens, but it is virtually impossible to stop every bad person with bad intentions.”

Even Republicans - including Lindsay Graham - have asked President Trump to halt the shutdown for three weeks. In that time, if progress is not made on at least funding the wall - they can shut the government down again, but at least everyone has had a taste the past three plus weeks of what it’s like. It then puts the pressure on the detractors instead of on the President.

“If he does end the shutdown, the Democrats will be under the microscope to at least work something out,” Thomas said. “People who work for the government will then place the blame on someone other than the leader of this nation, knowing that this current work stoppage will happen again, and nobody would want that.”

This is an important week for this country - because now it is hitting home and that is when we all start to see the reality of this mess.

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