A fresh perspective on the shutdown

TODAY’S MODERATOR

All right, everybody: Breathe in. Exhale.

Here’s an idea to start your day: let’s take a short break this morning, relax for a moment over our coffee, and stop fretting about all the bad government-shutdown news from the last few days. Some perspective to share: I heard a public-radio host the other night talking with an American correspondent in China, who said officials there have expressed their surprise at the fact that the U.S. government can partly “shut down,” and yet things still work and most of our lives are not hugely affected. They see it as a sign of our nation’s, and our system’s, basic stability.

On the other hand, they know the same thing would likely not happen in China — a sign of their system’s relative fragility.

Food for thought. Mind you, I’m not suggesting the standoff in D.C. isn’t a big deal; of course, it is. But the way our friends and adversaries across the sea regard our doings may offer a different way for us to see ourselves and the things we do. Or don’t.

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