Jiben Roy: Impact of shutdown on ordinary people


Jiben Roy



So many things happen in the world every moment, it is hard to track unless you are affected by them. I heard of "government shutdown" for the last several decades but never thought seriously what it meant.  


In the US, it's a common phenomenon. Even during Reagan's time, the shutdown occurred eight times but lasted only for four days or less. 


During Obama's time, one shutdown lasted 16 days. And this current shutdown will be record breaking, the way it is continuing. This government wants to make many records, apparently, in all areas including the shutdown. The head of the government thinks that there is no other crisis but the U.S.-Mexican border wall. According to Trump, it's a "growing humanitarian and security crisis."  


The government doesn't seem to see how the shutdown is affecting ordinary people. How come building a border wall becomes a humanitarian crisis while millions of people including federal employees and ordinary people are suffering? According to USA Today, "Federal shutdown is impacting everyday Americans in unexpected ways." 


Recently my daughter and I made a long flight to Delhi and Lucknow, India. My daughter came back on 5th January while I came back on 8th. After a long and tiring flight from Delhi to Atlanta via Doha, my daughter stood in a queue for three long hours at immigration in the Atlanta airport. It's a shutdown impact. I asked her, "people aren't angry?" My daughter replied, "what is the point in getting angry?" If it happens in the developing countries, people would get violent. The most tolerant people in the world are now facing a government backlash because of politics with unreasonable issue.  


Staying in Delhi a couple of days more, I started feeling nervous because I had a connecting flight to Jackson and I would definitely miss the flight to Jackson if I faced similar long lines. To my surprise, I came out of Atlanta immigration as fast as possible. I made it to Jackson on time with most of my luggage at least. 


In different period of history, people witnessed and lived under the rule of raja, badshah, monarch, even dictators. History tells only in a few cases, some good things happened but in most cases bad things happened to the ordinary people. However, in this 21st century, there is hardly a one man show; it's a collective and democratic.  


In the land of government for the people, currently it becomes government against the people.  


One survey says, people are blaming the government for this shutdown. During the 2016 campaign, Trump clearly said that the expense of building wall will be paid by Mexican Government or they will be forced to pay. Now it is the US taxpayer who will be paying if he manages to build the wall. 


In the time of drone technology, building a wall may not be the right solution to prevent human trafficking or infiltration of desperate people. On the other hand, a wall may not replace the border security forces. So why not discuss alternative methods rather than walking out of the meeting? 


Jiben Roy, a native of Bangladesh, teaches chemistry and pharmaceutical sciences at Mississippi University for Women. His email address is royjiben@yahoo.com.



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