As the #shutdownstories pour in, a different picture of America emerges than the one commonly seen in the TV news. This America lives paycheck to paycheck, worries about how to juggle debt and bills, and feels a deep insecurity about their well-being. Many of the #shutdownstories speak about “elitist” politicians who are out of touch with the reality of common people, of being “held hostage” to political games that they don’t even support, and of realizing that their well-being is not their government’s priority.
The tactics being used in this circumstance have been used by the American government against many common people in other countries. Whenever we hear the U.S. government “threatening to withhold aid” or threatening “to stop funding major agencies” abroad, now our antennas will be tuned into another frequency.
Just as the President and other officials make misleading statements about federal workers being “on strike,” or “supporting the shutdown,” or how they will “definitely be paid their back pay,” we can be assured that the statements they make while using these tactics on other countries’ people are likely just as misleading.
Perhaps some may feel that the government “giving money” to other countries and then withholding it is not a similar situation because they “shouldn’t give that money away” in the first place. However, a closer examination of one highly misunderstood situation will show the complexities of these related international events.
In January of 2006, the Palestinian people overwhelmingly supported Hamas candidates, who won 74 of 132 seats in parliamentary elections that were lauded by many as being fair. Former President Carter stated: “It seemed obvious to us and other observers that the election was orderly and peaceful and that there was a clear preference for Hamas candidates even in historically strong Fatah communities.
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