As we round the corner finishing a bizarre start to 2019 filled with extreme winter weather, it is easy to picture what an emergency looks like.
Record low temperatures and ice storms, or even the extreme hurricanes that rocked the south in 2018. All of these constitute an emergency.
What does not seem like an emergency — the state of our security at the southern border.
But according to President Donald Trump, we desperately need to allocate federal funds to create additional fencing for hundreds of miles.
While the argument for increased border security is a polarizing issue, it should remain detached from the debate surrounding this move by the president.
This is because the use of national emergency funds for a border wall is simply a political move by a president eager to please his base. The wall has always been a central point of his campaign, and will likely remain so as we approach the 2020 election cycle.
The president merely wants to add another talking point to his speeches about how he is fighting for a wall, while he is aware that this is an overreach.
He even outlined this plan when he declared the need for these funds, by discussing how he was making this move with the knowledge that it would immediately be challenged in the courts, and likely defeated.
What remains of this decision will be a stress test of our democratic institutions, as it is up to either Congress or the judiciary to strike down this unhinged use of executive power.
What is beginning to unfold is the downhill slide of an administration that values media attention and political allegiance over substantive change and the testimony of experts. This issue is highlighted further with the collapse of the nuclear deal with North Korea.
The president has made vast promises about a total denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, banking on his apparent working relationship with Kim Jong Un and his ability to strike deals. After two summits full of pomp and grandeur, no tangible progress has been made.
The North Koreans demolished one nuclear testing facility for the attention of the international media, but this is another tactic they have used before.
They still have an unknown array of nuclear weapons and testing facilities, and have made no promises that United Nation inspectors can enter the country to investigate their arsenal. Similarly, the Trump administration has made no concessions regarding the easing of sanctions or reduction in military presence in the region.
Regardless of their media circus of summits and false promises, we are still mostly in the same stalemate with the North that we have been in for decades. The only positive change that can truly be accredited to Trump is that the mood of mutual nuclear annihilation has, for the most part, left the air.
What remains to be seen is how this administration tackles these issues as its base supporters lose hope and their ability to make progress dwindles.