The shutdown was never about a budget, nor was it really about a wall. The wall represents immigration. Immigration, in turn, represents a toxic panoply of issues facing us, and dividing the parties. The divisions are so wide and deep as to induce despair over reconciliation.
Each party panders pathetically to its base. Republicans charge Democrats with imperiling our national identity while exposing us to waves of crime and drugs. Democrats indict Republicans for betraying our national diversity while emboldening xenophobes and bigots. So it goes.
Each side vilifies the other over a wide range of issues including guns, health care, reproductive rights, and affirmative action. Each party demonizes the other as not just wrong or misguided, but morally defective. Who would compromise with such villains?
An utter lack of trust exists, which is a bad omen for political decision making. Worse yet is the threat of deteriorating shared values. After all, compromise is possible only in the context of shared values. Compromise requires agreement on basic principles. The compromise is designed to advance those shared principles. If the very thing I demand is the very thing you reject, it is devilishly difficult to compromise.
It is as if the two parties were standing on opposite sides of the Grand Canyon shouting at each other. We must build a bridge.
I'm Bob Evans and that is my perspective.