I have some friends around the world who I simply know are laughing their backsides off at my country.
They live in Germany, The Netherlands, Australia, Israel and Greece. Yes, even my Greek friends — who live in a country that has embodied political dysfunction in recent years — must be chuckling over their ouzo.
My German and Australian friends are journalists; they have spent many years watching the United States. My Dutch friend is a lawyer who also possesses a keen interest in policy and history. My Israeli friends are a more eclectic bunch, as are my Greek friends; but they are well-educated and sophisticated.
Our government is shut down. Senators and House members are haggling with each other. Meanwhile, the president — who campaigned loudly and boastfully about his ability to make “the best deals” — is remarkably disengaged from the nuts and bolts of this charade.
Donald J. Trump boasted about how he would “put America first.” The implication was that he doesn’t care what the rest of the world thinks of the country he was elected to lead. I believe he should care.
This is a small and shrinking world. Nations are increasingly dependent on each other. Trump also said he wanted to “make America great again,” but I feel compelled to say — yet again — that this already is a great nation. We are the most powerful militarily and we possess a seriously strong economy.
It matters that our inability to fund our government beyond these ridiculous stop-gap “continuing resolutions.” The rest of the world is watching — and laughing.
I know this because I am utterly certain my own friends abroad are howling as they watch our government “leaders” writhe and squirm while they hurl insults at each other.
This is no way to achieve American greatness.