Updated: Jul 4, 2019
This morning President Trump said he might declare a national emergency to get money for his wall if Democrats don't cave to his demands.
""I may declare a national emergency dependent on what's going to happen over the next few days," Trump told reporters as he left the White House for Camp David, CNN reported.
To declare a "national emergency", Trump needs a crisis, which Webster’s defines as “an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending.” Given this definition, President Trump's calling the border issue “a national crisis” implies that there are reasons we need a border wall, to the point of ignoring the balance of power.
Is this claim based on reality or is it simply creating a crisis to play to the ego of this president who wants his own monument, aka George Washington and Abraham Lincoln?
Contending that there is a crisis on the border with Mexico flies in the face of facts. Pew research states that illegal immigration is at its lowest point in a decade. Nevertheless, this administration continues to claim there is a crisis of illegal immigration, necessitating the need for a border wall.
So where is the crisis, really?
The current government shutdown is hurting government workers, but if it continues it will directly impact the average American by preventing the processing of tax returns and delaying refund payments. This would indeed meet the definition of a crisis.
The shutdown, in fact, affects nearly everyone from contractors who won't get paid to researchers working on deadly diseases and school kids and veterans needing healthcare. Airline pilots are pleading for an end, saying the shutdown jeopardizes "the safety, security and efficiency of our national airspace system." Transportation Security Administration agents are calling in sick.
All of this could be avoided because this is a crisis of the administration’s making. The Department of Homeland Security contends that America is being “invaded” by terrorists and overrun by drug runners. By creating a humanitarian crisis, DHS officials hope to promote a sense of protecting the country from a threat that doesn’t exist. Why are they creating this situation?
The 'Great Wall of Trump'
It boils down to the vanity of the president. He wants to create his own monument by building a wall that he hopes will carry his name and cement his place in history. Like the Washington Monument or the Lincoln Memorial, he sees it as a lasting tribute to the great Donald Trump.
As a result, the shutdown continues, with each side blaming the other despite an Oval Office meeting in which Trump said he would be "proud" to own the shutdown and would not blame Democrats. Despite this, he and his supporters are attempting to do precisely that for their refusal to “negotiate”, which in their terms means complete surrender to their demands.
In addition to satisfying Trump's ego, this “crisis” is a blatant attempt to energize Trump's base. When a supposed agreement was reached, it was sabotaged by the likes of Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh. Where and when it will end is anyone’s guess.
Sadly, the ones being hurt are the American people.
CJ Waldron is a retired English teacher from upstate New York. An adjunct instructor at Horry Georgetown Technical College, he lives in Conway, SC with his wife, Donna.