Shutting down

The Minnesota Republican Party began a radio ad campaign last Saturday aimed at DFLers in the Minnesota Senate. The statewide ad blames Democrats for the possible government shutdown June 30 if budget and tax bills are not agreed upon. The ad states that Democrats are “fooling around and playing games” and that they want to “shut down the government.” Finger pointing, as most people were taught when they were six, accomplishes nothing. For the Republican Party to engage in such deplorable tactics as the state moves closer to shutdown shows that instead of finding ways to constructively help its elected officials, Republicans are more interested in wasting time and money on pointless ads.

It is extremely irritating that lawmakers are not doing the jobs for which they have been elected. They had over five months to work on the people’s business. Both Democrats and Republicans are failing at this task and it could be the state that ends up suffering. It is incomprehensible that Republicans would try to blame the Democrats for this. The two parties, along with Gov. Jesse Ventura, should receive equal amounts of blame. Fortunately, Democrats are not wasting time by engaging in pointless name-calling.

As June 30 approaches, not only is the state government preparing for a possible shutdown, but the University is as well. As a state-funded land grant institution, the University could face the horrifying possibility of closing classes. Many University officials appear to be optimistic that the Legislature will avoid a shutdown. However, erring on the side of caution, Robert Bruininks, the University’s executive vice president and provost, announced in a mass e-mail to staff and students that the university is preparing a contingency plan in case the Legislature and governor cannot reach an agreement. Though summer session would continue, the next school year’s classes and activities could be seriously disrupted by a loss in government funding.

This would be an unfortunate way to cap off a string of school years that have already been filled with disruptions. Between scandals and construction, the University has been slogging forward to educate students. A phased shutdown would be a terrible inconvenience to students who desire nothing more than to receive an education. It would undoubtedly cause immense headaches for out-of-state and international students. Many activities that start at the beginning of the year could also be disrupted. Graduation could be derailed for some students. The negative impact it would have on our campus is unimaginable.

If the Legislature has any interest in avoiding the serious inconveniences that could befall students of the University, as well as citizens of the state, they must begin to work on solutions to their disagreements instead of continuing to attack and insult each other. The state is running short on time and little of it can be spared for bickering. It is unlikely the Republicans will pull their ad, and they may even feel that the ad is helping the situation. However, during the next election, it is more likely that Republicans will rue the day they had nothing better to do but run an ad that proclaimed their own child-like view of the world.