The national Christmas tree in Washington, D.C., stood lightless and listless on Christmas Day, a casualty of the partial government shutdown, sending sectors of the country into a whirlwind of delays, stoppages and emergency adjustments to holiday plans.
According to the Associated Press, several national parks had closed as a result of the government shutdown that started Friday after Democrats rejected Donald Trump’s childish budget request for border wall money. In much the same way a child might react upon being told he’ll shoot his eye out if his parents buy him a BB gun, Trump dug his feet in and said he’d take full responsibility for causing hundreds of thousands of government workers to be put in limbo for the sake of constructing his border-wall pillow fort. Of course, he then blamed Democrats, likely triple dog daring them to fund his anachronistic defense measures.
The reduced services impacted the national Christmas tree, which had been unlit and closed off through Monday evening due to delayed repairs. By the time the repairs were done and the tree was relit on Monday evening thanks to a donation from the National Park Foundation, several families had already found their holiday plans impeded, if not outright ruined; from the AP:
Under cloudy skies in a brisk wind on the third day of the shutdown, the capital put on little holiday wonder for visitors like Greg Forcherio of Columbia, Maryland, a government contractor with no office to work in after the holidays as long as federal buildings stayed closed. He, his wife and their toddler on Monday came to see the giant, glittering spruce tree brought from Colorado to serve as the national Christmas tree, normally a focal point for Washington holiday visitors.
But a locked chain-link fence blocked access to the site and the nearby White House visitor’s center and its bathrooms were closed, with a hand-scrawled sign directing visitors to portable toilets, which also were chained shut. “Kind of annoying when you’ve got young children,” Forcherio said.
“Annoying” is a poignant word here, if only because Trump seems to be treating this shutdown as a minor inconvenience rather than an event that is affecting thousands of people’s lives during a sensitive and often very tough part of the year. From the AP:
“Just in case anyone still thinks a partial shutdown over a holiday weekend is harmless, think again,” Tony Reardon of the National Treasury Employees Union said in a statement. “Your friends and neighbors around the country who work for the federal government are already showing signs of financial stress.” …
Terri Lyons, visiting from Rockville, Maryland, with her 27-year-old daughter as they do every Christmas, found the lights off at one of her favorite monuments, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, when she visited Sunday night. A single guide tried to show tourists around in the darkness.
At least someone was showing some holiday season consideration and trying to do their job properly. Maybe Trump can learn a thing or two.