This is What the Democrats Should Be Saying About the Trump Shutdown

4 min readDec 24, 2018


America needs to take a pause.

We have reached a point of no return and before damage is done to this nation that we cannot recover from, we need to just stop for a moment and take a pause.

As the President forces the government to shut down, we must simultaneously contend with the knowledge that his very own Secretary of Defense has resigned because of a belief Donald J. Trump an active threat to the security of the nation. The head of the Department of Defense — a man handpicked by Donald Trump himself — believes that the national security agenda of the President is more closely aligned with those of our adversaries than those of the American people.

And so, we must take a pause.

In the chaos that floods our headline news, our social media feeds, and our daily lives — we can’t lose track of what keeps us united as a people and safe as a nation.

We may never have been perfect, and at times we may have been very far from it, but there is a difference between imperfect and deplorable. There is a difference between making progress and selling the nation off piece by piece for profit. And while there is still much work to be done to make this nation in order to truly make it a more perfect Union, there is no reason to believe that the bigotry and divisiveness in any way make America great.

We, the United States of America, are on the verge of becoming unrecognizable.

No longer are we a nation that lifts it’s lamp beside the golden door to the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. That light is flickering out. No longer are we a nation that stands strong as the cornerstone of Western Democracy. We are readying to bend the knee at the right hand of our Eastern enemies. No longer are we a model of free speech, equal rights, and economic progress. We are a nation that silences sexual assault survivors, prevents black and Latino citizens from voting, and guts the sick and the poor to feed the rich.

Before we take one more American life, before we bend out knee to our enemies, and before the light of Democracy is snuffed out, never again to be re-lit — we must take a pause.

We stand by Jim Mattis.

We too believe that “we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours. It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model — gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions — to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies. That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense.”

We defer to his expertise when he says, “My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.”

And we take pause because a man of Jim Mattis’s experience felt the need to write, “Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”

We as a nation can survive a shutdown. We have survived many thanks to the strong-armed and weak-minded tactics of the Republican Party. But we may not survive taking another step down the path our enemies and adversaries have carved out for us. We cannot put the security of the nation at risk to appease a President whose own military commander believes is working against the interests of the American people.

Trump isn’t just asking us for a wall. He’s asking for a permanent scar across the face of the entire country. Trump isn’t acting to protect the nation from our adversaries. He is acting according to an agenda that serves their interests and puts the lives and livelihoods of the American people at risk.

Trump’s wall doesn’t protect us from foreign adversaries. It aligns us with their interests. Trump’s wall doesn’t support our security as a nation. It marks us with a permanent reminder that we are no longer who we once were. And Trump’s wall doesn’t signal to the world that we are tough on national security. As Mattis’s departure tells us, it shows the world that we are backed into a corner by an Administration that will not uphold even the most basic standards of human decency, let alone national defense.

For these reasons, we cannot authorize Donald J Trump to advance a political agenda that serves in disinterest of the people of the United States of America in the name of border security. We cannot allow Donald J. Trump to build this monument to border insecurity.

We can’t and we won’t allow Trump to build his wall. We cannot allow him to do damage to this nation that we cannot recover from. We cannot allow him to put a scar across the face of the United States of America.

And so we will pause.

We will pause. We will collect ourselves. We will focus. And we will act. Because the future of our nation is at risk. And for that, we are willing to fight.

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