THOMAS JEFFERSON: Hey Alex, can you hear me?
ALEXANDER HAMILTON: Faintly. There’s a lot of distance between us.
TOM: Yeah, like there was when we argued with each other.
ALEX: All in the past, Tom. What’s going on now?
TOM: You wouldn’t believe it. Or maybe you would.
ALEX: What is it?
TOM: They’ve shut down part of the government.
ALEX: What? They ran out of money?
TOM: No, they’re fighting over funds to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
ALEX: A wall? What the hell do they want a wall for?
TOM: They claim there’s illegal immigrants crossing the border. They want it stopped.
ALEX: Immigrants? Like I was?
TOM: Well, not quite. But the president wants a wall built. He’s a Republican. The Democrats don’t want the wall built, so they won’t approve money for it.
TOM: Over a wall? Can’t they just have a system for letting people in?
ALEX: They do have a system. But some people don’t use it and try to get in on their own.
TOM: A wall? That’s a strange thing to do. Can’t they compromise?
ALEX: That’s another problem. In the Constitution, we set up checks and balances. Three parts to government.
TOM: Right. I thought that was a great idea. Isn’t it working?
ALEX: The Senate is led by the Senate Majority Leader. The Senate is Republican, like the president.
ALEX: The Majority Leader controls what bills the Senate takes up. He won’t take up a bill on funding for the wall unless the President will sign it.
ALEX: You got it. Unless the Leader knows the president will sign, the Senate doesn’t vote.
TOM: So there’s no chance the Senate could override a presidential veto?
ALEX: No. It’s like the Senate has become part of the presidency. No check. No balance. And no vote on bills both the House and the Senate have passed that might at least reopen the closed parts of the federal government.
TOM: I can’t believe that. How can the Majority Leader be such a wimp?
ALEX: Did you say Whig?
TOM: No. That political party folded in the nineteenth century. Wimp. Gutless. Weak. Spineless.
ALEX: OK Tom. I get the picture.
TOM: It’s politics. You remember how we had reservations about political parties?
ALEX: I never thought they were a good idea.
TOM: Well, now I’d say you were right.
ALEX: So the parties have become more important than the people? Or the country?
TOM: You’re talking turkey there. Only it’s worse.
ALEX: How can that be?
TOM: The president has made funding for the wall personal. He says he promised the wall to those who voted for him. So he’s got to deliver, and he’ll keep the government shut down until he gets it.
ALEX: And to think we thought King George III was bad. At least when he saw he couldn’t win the war of independence, he let the colonies go.
TOM: Well, this president thinks he can win this wall, so he says he‘ll never give up. The shutdown will go on as long as it takes.
ALEX: For a wall?
TOM: For a wall. You remember in King George’s latter years, the doctors determined he was mentally ill.
ALEX: Makes sense. He did some stupid things.
TOM: Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
ALEX: You mean, how could we have designed a Constitution that would be stupid proof?
TOM: Do you think it’s possible?