The 53 Republican senators
Let’s be clear, you 53 Republican senators face some serious problems.
And no, this is not about polarization in Washington, it is about the future of the nation and your sworn obligations to protect and defend the constitution.
This president is undermining the nation in front of you, publically, while you re-tie your shoes, brush the lint off your jacket and check your cell for the latest Brook Brothers ad.
Is it possible you did not notice Trump’s repeated efforts at witness tampering of Michael Cohen, threatening Cohen’s wife and her father? As a reminder, these are criminal actions designed to prevent information about President Donald Trump reaching the public.
Can you actually claim, those of you not in the 11 dissenters voting, that reducing sanctions on a Russian oligarch who has been named in the efforts to undermine the 2016 elections, is not a gift to the Russians for corrupting the election? Do you not see this act for what it is, the U.S. president helping Russian goals against American interests?
Are you oblivious to Trump’s never-ending efforts to stop the investigation into Russia actions in the 2016 election, when any loyal American president’s position would normally be to support the investigation so that such corruption never happened again?
Do you understand foreign policy enough to appreciate that Trump’s efforts to harm or end NATO are against our national interest and encourage Russian ambitions on their western borders?
OK, maybe you view each of these dangerous actions as individual and not cumulative enough to command response. A small crime here, a minor lie there, an occasional secret meeting with Putin, all in all, maybe no big deal?
Then there is the shutdown over the wall. Now think about this for a moment. This president promised, in public, that he would shut down the government. And then he did. He promised he would not blame the Democrats and then he did. And more than a month into the shutdown of his own government, you stand beside his campaign chant over sound policy on border security.
How expensive is it for you to fight for a wall after billions and billions have already built border walls where they are needed or possible?
So far, to get $5 billion for the wall you have:
Obligated the government to pay over $6 billion in back wages for government workers who are not working.
Driven thousands of government workers to the brink of personal loss that cannot be restored.
Placed at risk our ports of entry for drug smuggling.
For the first time, refused to pay the uniformed military, the U.S. Coast Guard.
Put in jeopardy the safety of air travel.
And there is more, so much more. All to build a wall that is not needed, not wanted. Neither most Americans nor most experts believe the wall should be built. 71 percent of Americans are telling you to stop the shutdown because the wall money is not as important as the shutdown is damaging.
The president is losing this argument in the public forum, his already dismal popularity falling.
And in case you are unaware, he is taking you down with him
Finally, one last reminder. Your job is to legislate, not to wait for any president to tell you what you may or may not propose. The American people hired you to make a difference, not to rubber-stamp an egomaniac in the White House who could care less about you or his country.
The Trump shutdown is not about his followers, nor is it about your re-election. To Donald Trump, it is about Donald Trump. His strategy is that everyone knows he is entirely compassion free. He wants Democrats to know that he can close the government forever because they will end up caring about the people hurt. He will not.
But Trump is not the problem, for he will never care about the human damage he does. You, Republican senators, you are the problem. For you have reneged on your obligation to serve the constitution and the nation. Get back to work.
Jim Crawford is a retired educator, political enthusiast and award-winning columnist living here in the Tri-State.