Hundreds of thousands of federal employees are furloughed and out of work currently as President Donald Trump and our congressional representatives argue over funding for a border wall. Federally-funded programs, parks and museums are closed. Other programs have essential workers, like border security officers, working without pay. Some federal programs, like our area federal court system, are open, but quickly running out of funds. There’s no end in sight.

This is no way to govern, and we’re issuing a THUMBS DOWN to everyone. Shutting down the government if you don’t get what you want is ridiculous. Let us have a debate over the border wall where it belongs: on the floors of Congress, in columns and op-eds, in speeches, in talks with experts, and the like. But we need our government to be open and running.

We think both sides need to negotiate, compromise and find a way to get things done. That is what we sent them to Washington to do, not to parrot talking points and play gotcha politics.

A THUMBS UP to another session of the Texas Legislature. We’re getting the popcorn ready for whatever antics come this way, while also hoping our elected officials can provide real solutions for our problems.

Outgoing Harrison County Elections Administrator Mike McMurry gets a THUMBS UP for the great work he did in that position. He came into a job after the mess that was the November 2014 general election and turned things around for the better.

We are saddened by the death of former Marshall ISD board member Lenora Reed, but offer a THUMBS UP to the legacy she left for Marshall. We think Harrison County Democratic Party Chair Maxine Golightly said it best: “Her concern was for the people of her community, county, city and church. She was a humanitarian, a good Christian woman, a mentor to the youth at the schools and her church and just an awesome, awesome person.”

We offer THUMBS UP to the now-former county officials who served Harrison County well during their tenure and recently stepped down. This includes longtime Harrison County Judge Hugh Taylor and Harrison County Clerk Patsy Cox. Both Taylor and Cox were instrumental to keeping the county running smoothly, and we’d have to agree with Taylor’s assessment: “I think we’ve got a good return for the taxpayer money.”

THUMBS UP to news that GoBus and the East Texas Council of Governments will spend $1.24 million to replace aging transit vehicles in its fleet and that it would reduce fares for paying riders (veterans and active military members ride for free). GoBus provides cheap transportation to senior citizens and others in our rural area who would not otherwise be able to travel to things like jobs, doctor’s appointments and more.

We’ll always issue a THUMBS DOWN whenever local businesses and restaurants close, like Mama Tia’s did at the end of the year. We need to support our local institutions, because they are the lifeblood of any city or area. Supporting your local shops and restaurants supports your local economy, and that in turn benefits everyone. Help us keep Marshall vibrant.

Do you have a suggestion for Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down? Email it to news@marshallnewsmessenger.com.