The Shutdown and American Exceptionalism
I just received a long-distance call from Israel's Army Radio, asking me for my comments on "the strike." It took me a long time to figure out what they were talking about--and my Hebrew is pretty good.
The rest of the world doesn't really understand how our national government would shut down. They are used to massive labor strikes and protests that plague government and the private sector alike.
The shutdown is quite difficult for some people, and Americans don't like it, but no one is panicking. (Except the Obama administration, which apparently feels threatened by people visiting open-air memorials.)
It's nice to be reassured that we're still the one nation where people (some, anyway) understand that life goes on beyond government, and where protestors want to cut spending, not to raise it endlessly.