Government shutdown: Tarleton reacts

This story was reported by Blayne Ballard, Kennedy Bragg, Alexis Burkett, Hadley Butler, Kaia Clark, Abigail Farrer, Chazmyn Ford, Gia Garland, Brandon Gutierrez, Jadie Hargrove, Hannah Holmes, Shelby Lawless, Tierra Mauney, Hayley Gillespie, Hannah Herring, Lily Hutcheson, Kathryn Irvin, Alexis Richmond,  Trenten Robinson, Ronald Russek, Joseph Seaman, Tobie Sparkman, Mitch Thomas, Bailey Templin, Jordyn Tipps, McKenzie Tucker, Isaiah Valdovinos and Caroline Wolf.  

President Trump following his State of the Union Address. Photo Courtesy of The Associated Press

The longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history is over, but the fallout continues to impact federal workers who face perhaps another shutdown as President Donald Trump continues pressing for full funding for a physical wall on the southern border with Mexico.

The government reopened on Jan. 25, after a 35-day partial shutdown. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers were furloughed. Others were required to work, but were not paid during the period.

Tarleton students expressed mixed reactions about the shutdown, but most of those interviewed said they viewed the shutdown as unreasonable and unnecessary. They were split on whether President Trump or both major political parties deserved the blame for the shutdown.

Jessica Barrow, a 23-year-old graduate student from Blanket, called the shutdown a “very extreme action”.

“I think something else could have been done that was less extreme,” she said. “There are plenty of others things that need to be taken care of and might be more important. I feel like it was done more to make a statement.”

Landry Wells, a sophomore nursing major, spoke for many students who blamed the shutdown on political confliction between Republicans and Democrats.

“Both sides of the argument are so focused on making the other party or leader look bad that instead of working to solve this important issue, they are being petty and arguing instead of doing their jobs and protecting the American people,” Wells said.

“Trump feels it’s important to build a wall instead of addressing bigger issues that have a larger bearing on our nation’s success,” said Chasity Lopez, a junior business major. “There are other ways to persuade people to agree with your views rather than to just shut down the government and put thousands of people in a financial bind,” she added.

“I think there are better ways he could have handled it,” said Knightlin Haley, an 18-year-old math major from Breckenridge. “I just think he’s throwing a little tantrum fit.”

Dexter Johnson, a 19-year-old psychology major from Duncanville, said he worries about the cost of the wall. “I don’t think the president was right to force a government shutdown over a $5 billion wall and we’re already in trillions in debt,” said Johnson.

Ashtyn McCurdy, a 20-year-old junior from Dallas, said if the “president wants something done, he should find a way to get it done, but I don’t think you should shut the government down for a long period of time. It affects the citizens, and at the end of the day as the president, it’s your job to protect the citizens.”

“I feel like this is what [GMT1] the president had to do,” added sophomore business major Trent Robinson. “None of the politicians would give any leeway or compromise on the subject so Trump had to shut it down to get everyone to work together.”

Jared Conley, a senior pre-vet major, said he felt the shutdown was “unnecessary,” but securing the border was a necessity. Both parties had a hand in the shutdown, he added.

“Our border needs [GMT2] to be protected and I’m glad we have a leader that will do anything to protect us,” Conley said.

Lane Rathke, a senior criminal justice major, said he felt Trump did the right thing since he was trying to keep his word about building a border wall.

“On the other hand, there has to be a mutual agreement to either go with it or call it off,” Lathke added. “It’s not fair to government employees that are not getting paid that have nothing to do with the negotiations.”

Many Tarleton students said they felt sorry for federal workers who weren’t part of the negotiations between Republicans and Democrats, nevertheless paid the price with many losing two paychecks.

“I think it’s hurting more than it’s helping, because not getting paid had such a big impact on people’s lives,” said Lexi Wesson, a sophomore finance major.

Sloan Massengale, a 20-year-old Godley sophomore, said she has an uncle who works for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and he “has been majorly affected by the government shutdown. Kind of ironic that he is working to support this matter, but is not getting paid to do so.”

Max Wimberly, a 21-year-old senior from Burleson, said his father has worked for the Transportation Safety Administration for more than a decade.

“Since my dad works for the government, it sucks, but I do think President Trump (was) right to shut down the government because he is doing a good job to try and keep us safe.”

Most students interviewed agreed both political parties need to come together, ending gridlock.

Kaechele Linder, a sophomore animal science production major, said the “stubbornness on both sides” that led to the shutdown has to stop. With Trump hinting that he may shut down the government again or declare a national emergency, she said the problem is not near to being solved.

“The only solution I see working is if the two parties in Congress come together, as well as the president, to work something out,” Linder added.

“We are far too educated and intelligent to allow turmoil to divide and degrade our country and its citizens,” said Katie Stewart.

Ethan Price, a 19-year-old freshman business major from Dublin, said a government shutdown isn’t an acceptable “excuse for not being able to negotiate.”

Kadarious Martin, a freshman from Fort Worth, said shutting down the government for great wall funding is “just wrong.” He said non-citizens should be able to come into the country and get citizenship, better opportunities and a better life.

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