Super Long Shutdown Endangers Super Bowl Fans and Scientologists
by Angelina Zervos
Super Bowl LIII is approaching, meaning Americans around the country will be enjoying hot wings, beer, food unnecessarily shaped into miniature footballs, the charade of pretending to enjoy sports, and of course, unpaid federal workers.
As the government shutdown passed the one month mark this past week, making it the longest shutdown in American history, concern surrounding governmental operational failure is rising. Agencies affected include the Internal Revenue Service (during the beginning of tax season), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and to many Americans’ unease, the Transportation Security Administration. As the shutdown continues to drag on, Federal workers are expected to miss their second paycheck. Although TSA workers are legally prohibited from going on strike (under the Federal Service Labor Management Relations Act of 1978), many have started to call out sick from work, causing major security issues. The primary reason that many TSA workers cannot attend their jobs, like most government employees, is lack of childcare, as well as insufficient funds to pay for the commute to work.
This year’s Super Bowl is taking place at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, a city which also happens to be home to one of the busiest airports in the world. As an increasing number of TSA workers have been calling out from work as the shutdown drags on, many are worried that security checkpoints will have to be reduced in order to make up for missing employees. With the shutdown seeming to have no end in sight and a large amount of travelers expected for Super Bowl Sunday, this may cause a perfect storm of misfortune.
Due to both passenger concerns and unpreparedness of airline hubs, Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants president, told CNN that there are expectations for large numbers of cancelled or delayed flights into Atlanta and the surrounding cities that will cause “a massive economic impact.” As for the concern about whether security checkpoints will be upheld, the TSA is moving its remaining workers into Atlanta to ensure that security guidelines are met. Airlines face more fear concerning flights out of Atlanta, however, on the day after the Super Bowl, infamously called “Exodus Monday.” The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has advised passengers to check out of their hotels and arrive at the airport up to five hours before their flight. The airline even asked that passengers do not pack their Super Bowl programs in their luggage, as they contain materials that could set off security alarms. To reduce any unnecessary delay, they will be asked to treat the programs like a cell phone or set of keys would be as they walk through checkpoints.
The events of the past month have caused numerous Americans to take an active stance against the current administration to demand that President Trump end the closure. Many people have taken to Twitter and Instagram to voice their opinion, some encouraging government employees to go on strike, despite that action’s illegality. This year’s Super Bowl may produce an interesting take on the shutdown; it wouldn’t be the first time athletes have taken a political stance. What will Super Bowl LIII have in store for us this year? Perhaps an Adam Levine nip slip? A Chick-fil-A open on a Sunday? Or maybe a well-devised constitutional message? We’ll just have to wait and see!