I keep reading how people are so horrified and embarrassed by the government shutdown. You shouldn't be. It is a sign of our greatness. So many people have bought into the notion that authoritarianism is running amuck across the land, and here is your proof that is not the case.
The United States is a country that endows united, large minorities with the power to obstruct the will of the majority. It is kind of funny now watching a bunch of liberals who championed the minority that supported gay rights being able to dominate the majority that did not. But now they seem to have forgotten all that and are wondering why the GOP can't reopen the Senate without Democrat votes.
It is because our founders were wise men who knew that the unchecked power of a majority could be as ruthless as a dictator. So the checks and balances within our system operate even within one half of one institution within our system. A minority of Democrats in the Senate can keep the government shut down because their minority is almost a majority. The filibuster serves a good purpose here.
China can laugh and ridicule all they want, but the Chinese are communist dictators who ruthlessly jail and exterminate dissidents. Here, the dissidents march in the street calling Donald Trump an authoritarian. There is no better proof that he is not than that they can do this.
The perfectly run trains on time in China may make some wish for better here, but that is actually a flaw of the Chinese system. That perfection masks a lack of rights, liberty, and freedom. Here, the government can shutdown because the balance of power must be mediated through both institutions and competing concerns of voters.
It is far messier and can appear far more dysfunctional, but that is why you get to march in the streets and protest. As the nation teeters at 50-50 between the parties, the parties are more apt to play for keeps to acquire power and, as a result, we get more dysfunction. But that is just the way our republic processes and sorts itself out. It is a feature, not a bug -- a feature of a 200+ year old system that masterfully forces parties to compete, check, and balance one another and, in the process, keeps those parties out of our hair.
I don't care whether you support or oppose the shutdown itself. But the fact that it can be shutdown is a good thing. It's not that we should be more like China. Other countries should be more like us.