Sometimes, Newton politics takes a slight backseat in my thinking, and today is one of those days. Emily and I have been keeping an eye on the news services and the cable news to try to see if Congress will be able to find a way to broker a deal and keep the government open.
It’s an incredibly important issue, and has repercussions as the micro and macro level. Government employees won’t get paid. The mail could stop. The general functioning of some of the basic services and institutions we rely upon could drop off the radar until this gets resolved.
Earlier today I also got a glimpse into what this situation means to the rest of the world, and how they view us. I got a call from my partner in the Netherlands (our little firm has 20 people, with dual headquarters in Newton and just outside of downtown Amsterdam). He is scheduled to speak at a conference in Philadelphia next week and wanted to know if customs and immigration were going to be on duty when he flies in on Saturday.
We then got into a brief discussion on how the story is playing out in the international press. The short story is that the press is talking more about how the one bastion of economic stability in the world is on the brink of defaulting on its obligations. He also noted that the discussion in Congress right now sounds quite a bit like the arguments his children have over toys, shared desserts, etc.
Lastly, he noted that some of the site selection discussion which had recently favored the US as a destination for new manufacturing and service investments will likely take a big step backwards due to fear and uncertainty.
We elect Congress and give them the responsibility to represent us. We also entrust them to wisely steer the nation through difficult times, not to intentionally steer into walls at high speed. Surely the parties involved see the hazards, which begs the question of why we are here now.
I will get back to the normal story line in the next post. This weekend was a wonderful few days that included two village days, canvassing over 50 doors, and a wonderful house party thrown in support of the campaign by friends of mine. I’d love to tell you about them and the work we did a few years ago to try to change the dialogue on what our village centers mean to us. Maybe that’s what we’ll talk about next time.
Chris Steele is running for the city-wide office of Alderman at Large, Ward 5. You can learn more at www.steele4newton.org or by contacting him at email@example.com