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Arthur Christory / Gavel Media

Is Disorder the New Order in American Politics?

Becoming politically conscious during the era of Trump has led me to be no stranger to chaos and disorder within American politics. From increased party polarity to heightened tensions, the political environment that I've come to know has been one of conflict. Yet, recently, this chaos has seemed to take a step further and stay there. From impeachments to an insurrection to indictments, unprecedented events are happening left and right. Chaos is seeping into every aspect of current-day politics, and tensions are as high as ever. This has left me wondering: Is disorder the new order in American politics?

During the turnover from September into October, putting out Halloween decorations wasn't the top thing on many people's minds. The government narrowly avoided a government shutdown, with the stopgate funding bill coming just in time. This temporary funding bill will keep the government running until November 17th, after which lawmakers will have to pass another spending bill to avoid a shutdown. So why is this the case? A government shutdown occurs when Congress cannot agree upon the approval of spending bills. Without this approval from Congress, federal agencies cannot spend or obligate money, leading to the shutdown of non-essential functions within federal agencies. The inability to agree was largely due to disagreements on border security and Ukrainian aid. The approval of a temporary funding bill, which came just hours before the midnight deadline, helped prevent impacts on millions of federal workers and active-duty troops. Not only that, but it prevented multiple other impactful consequences, such as the suspension of food benefits, pay suspensions for federal workers, and national parks going unmonitored and uncleaned.

The chaos doesn't stop there; just a few days later, on October 3rd, the House of Representatives voted to remove Republican Kevin McCarthy as speaker of the House. McCarthy was the first speaker to be fired via a House vote amid a congressional term. Even though speakers have previously stepped down, this unprecedented firing has left people uncertain about who will become the next speaker and what that will mean for them.

The Republican Party narrowly chose Steve Scalise as the Republican choice to lead the House, but several Republicans pulled out of their decision. This left Scalise no choice but to withdraw as speaker candidate, furthering the chaos and division within the Republican Party. The supposed next-in-line candidate is Republican Jim Jordan, who is endorsed by former President Donald Trump and whose supporters are the ones who refused to vote in Scalise. But there is still uncertainty if Jordan will be able to snag the candidacy as speaker, as some representatives believe this will reward the poor behavior of his supporters. As stated in the Times article, this inability to seamlessly transition and elect a new House speaker in one vote is very unusual. The House speaker has traditionally been easily elected after their party's nomination, and this turmoil displays the divides not just between parties but within the parties themselves.

With all of these unprecedented events and narrowly avoided shutdowns, how are people responding? In hearing people's discussions, it seems as if many BC students don't know about the almost-government shutdown or the extent of the speaker's turmoil. This could be due to the BC bubble—the tendency to focus on what is happening on and around campus while you're here. Getting caught up in friendship drama or discussions about a professor but struggling to get your head out of your immediate space. While it's important to pay attention to what is happening on campus, I've found that a large portion of BC students struggle to stay up-to-date on national and global news. With never-ending assignments and club meetings, it can be difficult to find time to go online and peruse the New York Times or Washington Post. It can be even harder when other world events are taking up a lot of your attention and concern. But it's important to read up and acknowledge the increasing chaos within American politics, as it might be here to stay.