Merry Christmas, friends! Especially Coast Guard friends. This cannot be an easy year’s end for you, I know. The government has shut down, and while the other branches of the military are funded, the Coast Guard is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security, which is not. This means that the Coast Guard is not getting paid. They cannot stop working, however, because we literally need them to be on patrol and available all of the time. But we as a nation have decided not to pay them over the holidays, and indefinitely onward, until the federal government opens back up.
Instead, we are mired in a pissing contest over the construction of a wall, or wallish fence, along our southern land border with Mexico. Some people greatly care about this issue. Our current president greatly cares about this issue, enough to pull the trigger on this shutdown that is taking away the hard-earned pay from 38,000 active duty Coast Guardians (not to mention the nearly 20,000 agents of the US Border Patrol, 34,000 Customs agents, and 53,000 workers of the TSA). As of this writing, approximately 240,000 other likeminded activists (or Russians, who knows) care enough about this issue to donate their own money to a GoFundMe campaign that aims to raise a billion dollars to pay the government’s tab in constructing the wall-fence (which, under current law, is not actually allowed — you can’t buy government action like that), a fundraiser that has to date raised over 14 million dollars.
Also also, low-end estimates for a complete, border-spanning wall* (*fence) range from $25 billion (John Oliver) to $12 billion (Mitch McConnell) to $21.6 billion (Homeland Security) to $4 billion (Trump) to $6-$7 billion (Trump later) to $10 billion (Trump again) to $70 billion (Democrats) to $25 billion (latest FoxNews estimate) to $15 billion (most recent Trump estimate) to $5 billion (how much Trump is currently asking for to build a $15 billion wall, but congress will not grant him, thus, the shutdown). So even if the fundraiser meets its goal, the only good it could do would be to pay each of the 170,000 successful illegal immigrants per year $5882 apiece to go back where they came from. Which would probably be more effective.
Full disclosure, in shutdowns past, backpay for work has typically been granted. I just thought it was worth pointing out that all of this political grandstanding and finger-pointing is in favor of an inanimate, one-dimensional protection of 1150 miles of US border. Meanwhile, Florida alone has 1350 miles of coastline, which is not to mention the approximately 10,000 other miles of ocean coastline that provide access to these United States, also not counting the 4530 miles of US coastline in the Great Lakes which must be guarded from invasion by those sneaky Canadians, but all of which falls under the protection of 38,000 active duty Guardians and 8000 reservists, to whom we are currently sending the message, loudly and clearly, that we appreciate your service and all, but if instead of all that intense training and risking your lives and whatnot, maybe could you all stand in a line and hold hands and be made of chainlink and cement? That would be great, thanks.
Happy holidays, ya filthy animals.