U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday scrapped a trip to the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. “Because of the Democrats intransigence on Border Security and the great importance of Safety for our Nation, I am respectfully cancelling my very important trip,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
The ongoing government shutdown where Trump and Democrats are locked on the 5.7 billion USD border-wall funding is approaching the longest in U.S. history. The president said earlier that he would “probably” declare an emergency in a bid to bypass the Congress to construct the wall, a promise central to his 2016 presidential campaign.
But such a move would for sure prompt a legal conundrum, as Democratic lawmakers have already expressed their readiness to object to Trump's claiming national emergency powers on this issue. “This is ablatant example of executive overreach, if he [Trump] chooses to go in that direction,” Representative Ami Bera was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying.
Both of the warring parties are using American people's interests as a bastion of their persistence. But, ordinary citizens turn out to have suffered the most from this brewing political game, which is entering its fourth week if not resolved by Saturday.
Thousands of employees are furloughed, missing wages for weeks in gnawing anxiety. The political gambit is also putting public safety at risk. Take the aviation industry as an example. As air traffic controllers, technicians and baggage screeners are either forced to work without pay or furloughed, airline safety is being eroded.
Union workers demonstrate in front of the White House against the government shutdown in Washington, D.C., January 10, 2019. /VCG Photo
The disadvantaged could also feel the pinch as shelters across the United States rely on federal funds to operate. The Justice Department warned nonprofits earlier that it will only be able to process funding requests until January 18, Politico reported.
As the wall fight escalates, its perilous effects are spilling from domestic affairs to the country's foreign activities. The WEF, as one of the world's most influential economic events, has attracted a slew of powerful business and political leaders ranging from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to former U.S. president Bill Clinton.
Trump's absence at the event has, to some extent, tainted the country's global image. It's jaw-dropping that the president of the world's largest economy scrapped the Davos trip due to his political fight with rivals.
“Democracy,” which the United States has been proud of, is starting to bite. As Democrats clawed itself back to a majority in the House of Representatives, a grueling standoff like this may become a regular event in Congress until the 2020 presidential election. Democratic votes gave Democrats' real levers to check the GOP, but such levers are convenient weapons for political gains.
Politics is supposed to function as the basis for economic prosperity and societal stability, so that politicians can play their due role on the Davos-like international forums. It's high time the United States end the wall fight and shoulder its anticipated obligations on the global arena.