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What the Shutdown Says about US

I knew the shutdown was coming to a close as soon as I flipped on the news and heard stories about massive delays at airports around the country. After more than a month of paralysis, I realized that the impasse between Democrats and Trump was about to get resolved faster than you can say Wall Street. Consequently, I tweeted this morning that the government would reopen within 48 hours. Trust me, it’s not because I have some magical powers nor is it because I am neo-Nostradamus. I just knew that the government was about to open its doors because corporations were beginning to finally feel the pinch of this manufactured crisis.

Five weeks after Trump initiated a partial government shutdown and held 800,000 Federal workers hostage to build a wall solely for the sake of soothing his monstrous ego, he finally caved when corporations said enough. This whole ordeal should be a wake-up call to all Americans; the people we send to our nation’s capital to represent our interests don’t give a damn about us. What Representatives, Senators and this puerile President care about and pay attention to are the plutocrats who run this nation by weaponizing their wealth.

The writing on the wall came into sharp focus the minute LaGuardia airport grounded all their planes and this news was plastered all over cable news networks. Politicians on both sides of the aisle snapped out of their disinterest and resolved their differences when the profits of globalists were imperiled. It was not the suffering of employees who had to negotiate between rent and food nor the uncertainties faced by millions who depend on government assistance that inspired action, what motivated Democrats and Republicans alike were the threats of CEOs and the prospect of losing their extortion (donation) checks.

This fact is being omitted from mainstream media “reporters” and pundits who are currently assessing the winners and losers of this showdown like it’s a sport. But then again, this too is par for the course, what else can we expect from corporate journalists other than to distract us with more bread and circus. There are no adults to be found, from the White House to Congress to our supposed “free-press”, we are being led by a bunch of infants who would rather troll each other than make hard decisions. The only time anything meaningful gets done is to appease the corporate class.

America’s economy depends on reliable transportation — airports have an over-sized effect on the viability of interstate commerce. To this end, it was not only the millions of travelers who take to the skies on a daily basis who felt the pinch of TSA workers calling out sick. When a major airport like LaGuardia comes to a halt, the roll through effects are felt throughout multiple sectors. Amazon packages being delayed, goods stacking up in warehouses and the overall flow of capital seizing up were all a sudden very real possibilities. This is why Trump—who promised he would never cave—folded like one of his casinos as soon as the risk spread from Main Street to Wall Street.

The concerns of American citizens take a backseat to the desires of Wall Street, we are the collateral damage in the chess match between plutocrats and their puppets.

This whole fiasco reeked of a government that is utterly immoral and populated by depraved grifters. Both parties are equally toxic; instead of representing us, Democrats and Republicans are repressing us with malice. This is the problem with parties, politicians who join factions are more interested in enhancing their power and protecting their turf than they are in doing what is good for the nation. The threat to America is not some foreign power or some imagined enemy at the gate; the menace are these two parties who are destroying us from within. The wall that we need is not to keep out immigrants but to separate these criminal politicians from America. #WallThemOff Click To Tweet

If we are to be totally honest with ourselves, we the people bear nearly as much responsibility for this dysfunction that has beset our governance. Too many of us would rather follow politics like it’s a reality show or a pastime to cheer on. Instead of demanding accountability first and foremost, people would rather latch on to media driven narratives as some weird form of entertainment.

It was sad scrolling through my timeline and seeing folks applauding Nancy Pelosi or Trump and treating this shutdown as if it’s a high school popularity contest.

What we have in DC is not a government but a cancer, a system so toxic that it’s eating away at the fabric of our nation. The very foundation of this vile duopoly is one that encourages selfishness and dispenses with the need for self-sacrifice. Driven by the unabated greed of their billionaire donors and the fanaticism of their rabid base, politicians are given every incentive to rage against the machine as they walk away from common-sense solutions. What we get is gridlock for the people and smooth sailing for the 1%—we are living in a Chiquita Republic.

Any thought that a “blue wave” would somehow check the president and deliver accountability should be dismissed by all except die hard loyalists. What we witnessed over the past 35 days were not checks and balances, we were treated to the ongoing implosion of an empire that is in a tailspin. Pelosi and Trump, two septuagenarians with the sagacity of Nero, put on performances that make Spongebob SquarePants look like the second coming of Plato. Meanwhile, freshmen Representatives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib revealed themselves to be nothing more than sheepdogs of the establishment as they threw firebombs at Republicans instead of speaking against the entire debased system.

What people don’t get is that we are the game that is being played. As long as we let partisan loyalty get in the way of holding elected officials in check, what we will continue to get is this bankrupt government that ignores the plight of the people and only answers to the demands of corporations. Eleven years ago, another manufactured crisis was met with tens of trillions of dollars being shoveled to the same criminals who bled our economy. Meet new mannequin, same as old mannequin; Trump and Democrats yet again show us that the only votes that matter are the signatures on the checks written by the American oligarchy.

As pathetic as this whole shutdown episode was, there is one silver lining we can take out of it. Trump, Pelosi and company just showed us their vulnerability and the central weakness of the corporate powers who have hijacked our government. It’s not the symbolic votes we take at the ballot boxes politicians or their wealthy benefactors care about, if we want to be heard, hit them where it hurts—right in their wallets. An organized boycott will do more to deliver change than rigged elections and a million meaningless protests.

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Lij Teodrose Fikremariam
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Lij Teodrose Fikremariam

Lij Teodrose Fikremariam is the co-founder and former editor of the Ghion Journal. He is currently the chair of Ethiopians for Constitutional Monarchy. A published author and prolific writer, a once defense consultant was profoundly changed by a two year journey of hardship and struggle. Going from a life of upper-middle class privilege to a time spent with the huddled masses taught Teodrose a valuable lesson in the essence of togetherness and the need to speak against injustice.

Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
Lij Teodrose Fikremariam
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