The “shutdown” of the government of the Earth nation, the United States of America, is over. It was interesting theater to observe from up here in my spaceship for a couple reasons. I noticed the inconsistencies between that which was understood by United States humans as this “shutdown”. More important, the shutdown’s result and the interpretation of these events by United States citizens reveals much about the evolution of United States politics and is a statement about the power of national political inertia and morals.
This United States government “shutdown” was a rare occurrence. It hasn’t happened in over 15 years. And it has been a popular topic for Earthlings in this country–and elsewhere–to discuss. What happened was the United States lawmaking body was at an impasse on spending measures and couldn’t compromise a solution. The result was that a budget wasn’t passed and services provided by the federal government were stopped. In using the label “shutdown”, the portrayal was that of complete cease of operation. But federal government activity was only reduced 17% and the 17% that was chosen to be ceased by the federal government was in part targeted to those services which would look the most obvious–national parks, monuments, etc.
The shutdown took on mass appeal, a meme to run with representing to the people government incompetence, and largely, Republican Party fault. Portrayals of citizens angry and rebellious against the lack of services revealed a population ashamed of the inaction–not proud of the political resistance as some had been for, say, recent principled filibusters. Other nations’ attention on the United States government inactivity prompted more embarrassment.
Then, accompanying this budget disagreement was the impending debt ceiling–a point at which the United States of America government can no longer borrow due to reaching their credit limit. This deadline got the United Stated federal politicians to act and the nation to breathe a sigh of relief.
Evidenced by this relief, and prior, by their shame about the inactivity, it seems that the United Stated citizens and its media find it more crucial to keep moving, and so to stave off this shame and spending crisis, than it is to examine the direction their nation is going.
This particular disagreement over a budget is an example of age-old political games played out all over Earth in response to any number of political issues. These always reveal the phenomena of societal evolution and its accompanying shifting morals. The “problem”, as it was written, regarding this particular conflict in Washington D.C. was that principles came before pragmatism. The reason these principles were considered wrong in the court of United States public opinion was because Earthlings’ measure a principle’s morality not by its virtue but by its effect.
When I observed Earthlings in Cambodia in the 1970s it was “wrong” to plant one’s own crops. As a national collective, the state determined who would grow the crops and when, where, etc. Despite famine, an individual found growing crops got in trouble. Most Earthlings would come to the defense of the rogue farmer, because this exercise of one’s ability to grow crops is determined right or wrong depending on the benefit it serves–and people were starving. Had things been going well in Cambodia, then this individual is most likely labeled rebellious and wrong. Most Earthlings are pragmatists. And what’s pragmatic depends on changing conditions.
The principles that fiscally conservative Earthlings in the Unites States are promoting misalign with the country as it is today. The United States of America isn’t the nation these fiscally conservatives think it is, or should, or can be. It has shifted over the years, and a stance such as theirs is out of place, throws a monkey wrench into the system, and causes people to be inconvenienced and alarmed to a point where it is labeled that fluid label, “wrong”.
In the end, the consensus is that the Democrats are the good guys, the Republicans are the bad guys, and the Tea Party Republicans are the ones who took their party down that bad path. And what this indicates is the appeal of those going with the status quo. Moderate Republicans are favored over the “radical” Tea Partiers. Change of this magnitude is not something the people in the United States want.
Tea Partiers are in a political system that is not amenable to their ideology. And by bringing up such principled stances–regardless of merit–they interfere with the direction, flow, and movement of the nation. And the direction of their country–the political and moral inertia–is more powerful than they.