Congress: you should have seen this one coming.
I know you’re busy congratulating yourselves for hauling yourselves out of a self-created mess that was the government shutdown, but in that time did you stop to think about the implications of your pointless turf war? Others around the world certainly have.
How embarrassed would you be, Congress, to find that while you’ve been in your filthy trenches China has provocatively suggested that our time as a leading nation is waning? That’s just what’s happening.
In an article released earlier this week by the state sponsored Xinhua news agency, staff writer Liu Chang called for a “de-Americanized world”, most directly as a reaction to your irresponsible handling of the functioning of the federal government. And it was irresponsible, wasn’t it? Furloughed workers with unpaid bills, health and medical research facilities closing their doors, damage to the tourism industry that depends on national parks and monuments for business, Medicare dispersals being halted (notice, Obamacare was not affected), small business loan requests going unhandled, and the IMF and World Bank are left to question our credit rating. Nothing quite says “I’m a responsible global powerhouse” like a potentially impotent credit rating and no presence at critical international meetings.
None of this has been lost on China. Our desperate grasp to our legacy of post-WWII prestige and our moral standing as a country have been questioned, the implication being that if we cannot manage ourselves, how can we manage the political empire we have crafted so carefully all these years? Additionally, while not coming right out and suggesting the Yuan usurp the Dollar as the standard comparative world currency, the Chinese news agency did suggest it be replaced by a new and different currency standard. Imagine what that would do to US and international markets. How would the world cope with such an enormous proposed shift in the economic world?
Those most doggedly defensive of the goals of the shutdown claim that it didn’t go far enough and that of course this is all the fault of Obama and others less conservative than themselves. Some lesson should have been pulled out of this mess—perhaps that the world is watching us have a meltdown or that American citizens are really, really frustrated by the partisanship—but no such lesson was learned. If anything, Congress, I expect another round of vehement partisanship to turn up at the next opportunity. It should be obvious by now that we DO need government, and that we need it to function at a level approaching “well” and to represent us both here and abroad, but it can only seem to serve other less useful interests. All this time you thought you were victimizing yourself, when really you were victimizing the rest of us. Congratulations on your 11th hour victory, Congress; just realize that no one else is celebrating in quite the same way you are.
Image source: Elks USA