When I am asked why I became an American citizen, I usually say, in a moment of bliss I saw in the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and everything written by Jefferson, Adams and Lincoln, the closest thing to a secular bible I could believe in. Even during my leftist youth I understood instinctively, that because of America’s inherent dynamic political culture and traditions, the Soviet Union had no chance of prevailing. It was the combination of Jefferson and Lewis Armstrong, Adams and Orson Welles, Lincoln and William Faulkner, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Steve Jobs, Hollywood and Harvard, that made the U.S. exceptional and victorious.
The government shutdown
Shutting down the government is uniquely an American phenomenon and there is nothing like it in the well-established Western democracies’ or the new emerging ones throughout the world.Hisham Melhem
The current government shutdown shows that the U.S. is also exceptional in an almost nihilistic way. The Republican Party, which has been shrinking steadily geographically to the South and ideologically to its very conservative core, has managed in recent years to marginalize itself to the point where a brigade of firebrands in congress known as the “Tea Party” wages a quixotic ideological war against what it sees as the evil of ‘big government.’ The members of this group sound and act more as members of a cult, or an extreme religious sect than a political party. To them, compromise is a dirty word, reconciliation is tantamount to treason. It does not matter to them to achieve realistic, if not perfect political solutions, because they wrap themselves with ideological purity and indignant self- righteousness. In the current struggle, they seem to deserve the label ‘anarchists’ bestowed on them by the Democratic majority leader in the Senate Harry Reid , because they are willing to literally shut the government down, and threatens to force the Federal government to default on its debts rather than increase the debt ceiling.