Commentary: Gov't shutdown exposes chronic flaw in U.S. political system

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-21 10:04:19|Editor: Lu Hui
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The U.S. Capitol is seen through traffic during rush hour in Washington Jan. 19, 2018. The U.S. government was shutting down as the Senate failed to pass a stopgap spending bill on Friday. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)

by Xinhua writer Liu Chang

BEIJING, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Washington loves to brand itself as a "shining city on the hill", yet the latest government shutdown in the heart of Western democracy has once again exposed its chronic flaws.

The shutdown, the fourth in the past 25 years, is another product of the political battle between the Republicans and Democrats.

What's so ironic is that it came on the first anniversary of Donald Trump's presidency on Saturday, a slap in the face for the leadership in Washington.

With the election of Trump and the continued control of both houses of Congress by Republicans, the GOP seemed to have finally got revenge for eight years of a Democratic White House. Their most recent victory was the highly controversial tax reform package introducing tax cuts that critics claimed would make the rich richer.

The Trump administration has backtracked on almost every notable policy Trump's predecessor Barack Obama had put in place, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and the Paris climate accord.

If there was any legacy that has survived the transfer of power, it was the spirit of noncooperation across party lines.

The U.S. federal government was shut down when the Obama administration and the Republicans in Congress were locked in a battle on Obama's healthcare plan in 2013.

Now that another lockdown is underway again, the two major political parties are as usual busy accusing each other of not doing their job.

Thanks to their unrelenting rivalry, many of America's long-standing problems remain unresolved.

Last year, gun crimes became more rampant,the wealth gap continued to widen, and the politics grew unprecedentedly polarized.

The Western democratic system is hailed by the developed world as near perfect and the most superior political system to run a country.

However, what's happening in the United States today will make more people worldwide reflect on the viability and legitimacy of such a chaotic political system.

After all, for most people, the most important criterion for an effective political system is how it helps to resolve their problems, not telling them whom to blame.


Backgrounder: U.S. government shutdowns in recent years

BEIJING, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- The United States is witnessing a government shutdown, the fourth over the past 25 years, as the Senate failed to pass a stopgap spending bill.  Full story

KEY WORDS: government shutdown