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Government Shutdown

Rusty Leffel | United States

Crisis in my Purse

The unprecedented December 2018 - January 2019  35 day budget funding shutdown of many US agencies in dispute of the president's demand for including over $5.7B for border wall funding left approximately 800,000 US federal workers furloughed without pay or having to work but not receiving pay.   These photographs from a demonstration Day 20 in Kansas City reflect the incredible patience and dedication of the federal workforce to continue to stand by ready to work in spite of the personal harm being caused to them by the failure of their employer, our US government, to keep them paid.  

The President's seeming political stunt appeared to be a "manufactured" crisis supported by his partisans and Republican Party and very clearly hurting our country.  The question to ask may be why were so many electeds in Congress bowing to this President's tantrum and tactics.  The result was that America and Americans were held hostage to this president's demand for $5.7B for a 2019 payment on his campaign promised border wall between the US and Mexico which he had promised would be paid for by Mexico.  

As we look at another possible shutdown in mid February 2019, I'm hoping this exhibit can spur further discussions to keep another shutdown from happening.  So many are personally hurt by a shutfown and it is dangerous to our democracy. It seems to me that if our democracy can't function to the point of keeping the government open, it leaves a vacuum a demagogue can use to expand or take over power such as in the emergency powers threat by this president to build his border wall without approval of Congress based on some type of definition of national emergency.   Ultimately, the balance of power has shifted too much to a president and the Congress which has spent too many years already in gridlock will need to re-learn how to be a responsible and active party in governing.

Rusty Leffel Photographs

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