Last month, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency so that he could claw back funds appropriated to other areas of the executive branch’s budget in order to build the border wall he promised Mexico would pay for. In an announcement from the White House’s rose garden, Trump said he “didn’t have to do this,” but declared the emergency anyway. The House and Senate both passed resolutions this week to nullify the president’s emergency declaration, but Trump is expected to veto the bill once it hits his desk.
From the moment he made his announcement, the national emergency status has been called into question. The fact that Trump himself said he didn’t actually have to go the route he was going, and was instead choosing to make a politically-motivated end-run around Congress denying him funds for his wall, fueled the criticism. Many Americans simply do not believe that the country is facing a true “national emergency” at the southern border, given that illegal border crossings remain at all-time lows.
This same week, Facebook and its affiliated social media programs had a massive, sustained outage. It was one of the longest unplanned downtimes in the history of Facebook. We called 500 subscribers and asked them how they felt about Facebook’s downtime. 83% said that in some way it felt like a “real,” “true,” “genuine,” “not made up,” or “not fake like that orange d-bag’s skin color” national emergency. Here are some of the more noteworthy responses, below.
Hellen Chang, 32, Port St. Louis, Washington —
“Oh God! It was terrible! All day long, every time I wanted to escape the boring monotony of my stupid life and look at some cat memes or something, I couldn’t! I’m not at all worried about some made-up invasion of non-existent armies of so-called illegal immigrants, but boy am I afraid of a life without the ability to have social media soothe my existential dread and general malaise.”
Chad Massey, 43, Springfield, New Mexico —
“People fleeing murder and crime and repressive regimes and poverty don’t bother me at all. In fact, it’s kinda dumb that we have all this empty land, and all these jobs Americans can’t or won’t do, and we’re freaking out people coming in and making our lives better. But at least now I know what Trump wanted us to feel like under his national emergency. So there’s that…I guess.
Facebook being down for more than a couple hours though? I literally would rather die. Kill me, next time, for reals.”
Greta Haber, 29, Gold Hills, New York —
“Maybe I’m crazy, but a real emergency doesn’t seem like it’d be something you wait two years to address. It doesn’t feel like a real national emergency would need a rose garden ceremony, like it was some kind of damn keg party. So yeah, I don’t know about that so-called emergency, but I know when I couldn’t log onto Facebook and distract myself from my terrible boss and shitty co-workers, that I was facing something at least as bad as 9/11.”
Helen Ripplemeyer, 46, Salem, Kentucky —
“Growing up, my parents always taught us to respect the office of the presidency, even if we didn’t respect the man. Well, now that this guy’s been in office for a couple years I can finally see how fucking stupid my parents were for saying that stuff. The last month we’ve been under some alleged state of emergency and 99% of us literally had nothing change in our lives.
But let me tell you, I need Facebook. I have a side-hustle where I sell stuff I find in my flea market and garage sale trips. And I didn’t make any money yesterday. So that to me feels like a real national emergency.”
It’s unclear when President Trump will veto the bipartisan bill that nullified his emergency declaration. It’s also unclear if Democrats and moderate Republicans could possibly exercise 2/3 majorities in both chambers of congress. That’s what would be needed to override Trump’s veto.