Americans lose as politicians play petty games

Published: Sat 20 Jan 2018, 8:36 PM

Last updated: Sat 20 Jan 2018, 10:39 PM

The quirks of democracy and the legislative process have caused the US government to shut down. A blame game is on as we write this but a deal could be struck over the weekend to get government departments running by Monday. It's a political shutdown, shall we say. The politics of one-upmanship has made life difficult for ordinary Americans. If the impasse continues, which we hope it won't, democracy will be the loser. Collective decision-making and the art of consensus will take a hit. Now, it's a case of who will blink first - the Democrats or the Republicans - and it could not have come at a worse time for President Donald Trump who just completed one year in office. The president loves gloating over the 'art of the deal', and has even written a book, but being in government is quite unlike business. Governance is all about consensus. You give some and take some. Foes turn into friends and you let bygones be bygones in the service of the people. Democracy demands it. The people yearn for attention and they deserve all of it. Politicians should get things done because the people voted them to power in the first place. Citizens are at the centre of legislation.
It's about making compromises without losing face. But when both sides are concerned about the optics, politics is thrown into the gutter.
What's causing the stalemate? Immigration and border controls. The Senate did not manage 60 votes to keep the funding going. Functional democracies like the US should do better than that. The people of the United States are being held to ransom this election year as both the Democrats and Republicans play hardball. The parties are sending a message to their core electorates, the faithful, while the system of governance goes under after being battered by two polarising forces. It appears like politicians have taken the legislature for a ride, hijacked it, and are leaving nothing in it for the average American Joe and Jane. This high stakes game has taken it away from average voting Americans, the real stakeholders. What a shame!

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