So the government seems close to a temporary deal to end the shutdown. But there's so much happening so fast, the dysfunction and political games, too, the average person may have to take a class to figure it all out. But as our Brian Dwyer reports, it's not the easiest thing for professors to try and teach either.
WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- Dr. Ray Petersen has been teaching government for decades. But even the most experienced, seen it all, educators are finding this government tough to explain.
"It's very difficult to teach because you have to get into all the details of the separation of powers and how it works," JCC Political Science Professor Dr. Ray Petersen said. "The relationships between the president and both houses of Congress."
A part of our government that can, unfortunately, lead to gridlock, dysfunction and hidden agendas that these students are working to piece together.
"Maybe distract you from doing something else," JCC student Andrew Baldwin said. "I think government and politics do that a lot. They try to say a lot and bring up so much stuff to distract what they're trying to do."
For younger students like Baldwin, this dysfunction in Washington has gone on so long now, it's all they know.
"Why?" Baldwin responded when asked what he'd like to say to Washington's leaders. "What's the point? Who's going to benefit other than them? Why can't they focus on the country rather than their paycheck?"
In a debate that involves the constitution so heavily, it's nearly impossible for a professor of a course that depends so much on history to not at least take a small look back.
"That's the job of teaching, to provide context and provide historical background." Dr. Petersen said. "Once that happens, then they can understand and they can kind of dig in a little deeper."
Looking all the way back, Petersen is sure none of this is what the founding fathers had in mind.
"The people who were there would be setting aside their own personal self-interests on behalf of what was best for the country," Dr. Petersen said. "The term of the time was they'd express civic virtue."
We the People. A more perfect union.
The president of Fort Drum's Government Employees union was the guest speaker at Wednesday's forum.