Hiba

U.S. government shutdown differs from one in Arab world

Oct 2 • Opinion • 654

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It seems no one can escape all the talk about the U.S. government’s shutdown.

Let me tell you what I know about American government shutdown – close to nothing. From the bits and pieces that I heard and read, it happens when the Senate and the House of Representatives can’t agree on how to fund the government; and this seems to be the case right now. So most government agencies closed their doors and sent their employees home until the issue is resolved.

That being said, when I first heard of the phrase “government shutdown,” this wasn’t the first thing that came to mind.

I thought of something, of course, that is closer to home. I thought of Jordan’s “government shutdowns.”

Let me precede this by saying that while all the information I present from here on is true, I am not an expert of Jordanian government internal affairs and politics – I know just enough to get by.

Jordan is considered what is called a “constitutional monarchy,” which means that while a parliament representing the people does exist, a king who has ultimate power to dissolve this parliament exists, too.  The prime minister is appointed by the king, and so are the senators serving in the Senate.

During the last two years, our government has had six “government shutdowns,” and by that I mean that six prime ministers were either fired or quit on their own throughout these two years. Some deserved to get fired – by the king – because they were not complying with the people’s wishes, and for fear of another “Arab Spring” rising in Jordan.

When I, as a Jordanian, hear “government shutdown,” I laugh, shrug and go on with my day.

But while it may not be a complete disaster in Jordan – because government agencies still operate – it is here in the United States.

The reason this whole problem started is because the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Democrat-controlled Senate disagree, mainly on Obama’s Obamacare, among other proposed bills and policies.

I am not necessarily politically or emotionally invested in the domestic policies of the United States. But as a foreigner, I can see a silver lining. While I may not necessarily agree with the current American government shutdown, I appreciate the fact that political parties and people in power are able to make it happen.

Political parties in several other countries in the world do not enjoy the same privilege of a structured party, which has a real say in domestic politics.

That being said, the American political system, while effective on paper, seems to be failing in reality – hence the government shutdown.

If a monarch were to rule America, the two-party disagreement would have one simple solution: dissolve both the Senate and the House of Representatives and start a new election. What government shutdown?

 

HIBA ALMASRI

almasri002@knights.gannon.edu

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