THE lockdown of the Federal United States of America is a morality tale. We are now animated and live our prejudices, but can we bring this passion to building Jamaica? We lard Republicans with slurs. "A wha dem duh we?" We laud President Obama for his socialism "lite", but we will not have it here; we pin racist motives on his white critics and ignore our black racists. America is not like us. They have three viable levels of government with executive powers. Republicans and Democrats battle on principles of debt, deficits and defaults. Here, JLP and PNP just cuss. We have one Parliament and 12 small, unviable parish councils which could fit into a State, to make work for 200 politicians. Want to cut costs? The USA has 50 State governments and DC --a Federal District. Federal feeds us, gives us visas, security and more. States grow food to send us. The emotion we invest in the Republican-Democrat impasse is self-serving; we do not value the cut and thrust of ideas, we just cuss and vent our pent-up racism. In America ideas contend as there are many paths to growth. Here, we have economists.
The Republican and Democratic parties prosper their 50 states and their federation, but the PNP and JLP have not prospered us. Americans went to war with the British for Independence, we waited for it; they built roads, industry, farms, towns by sweat; we took loans. They were self-sufficient in decades; we get more dependent as years pass. They invited in the world's poor; we run out Haitians. Yes, they built with slaves, but Africa and Arabia had slaves before them and can't prosper. You cannot lock down innovative working people. "Slavery did not create their prosperity, enterprising men did." Ethiopia had 4,000 years of legal slavery but could not cut it. We are more lock down than the USA; they thrive under stress. We need to learn from them and build our own small, well-endowed nation. We need a leader!
America is a Federation as was planned for the West Indies, and CSME, our back-door union, may work for islands south of Montserrat. Our islands are lapped by the same body of water, so the British told us to unite, but CSME is unfeasible for us. Ghana, Barbados, Ireland, and New York are lapped by the Atlantic, but which idiot would put them in a single economy? The USA is one, but it's not easy.
Between 1995 and 1996 the Clinton presidency had two lockdowns over debt and agreed to balance the budget. Had the JLP locked down to get the PNP to stop accruing debt or vice versa, we might be better off. Since President Ford in the 70s there have been six lockdowns under a Democratic president and eight under a Republican. A lockdown is when "neither Republicans nor Democrats blink". The issues were debt ceiling, health care, Federal funds for abortion, defence spend, and social services. But in life, someone has to blink. Do you know House and Senate wanted to fund jobs and a president vetoed it? At times it was House vs Senate or one and the president vs the other? The USA has come through all these crises stronger. God, why do our crises not make us stronger?
The lockdown may not affect most Americans, but may hurt other countries. When you owe a lot of counties a lot of money you have leverage. If Georgetown, our CSME Federal capital, locked down, who would notice? My Caricom passport says Jamaica, but Barbados's Caricom passport is more respected than ours as they are from a high GDP nation. California or Ohio use USA passports uniformly, but all Caricom passports are not equal. The world judges a poor nation by performance, not its union.
America may default on its $18-trillion debt in a few days, so what about an IMF loan? Why are they not panicking? "Remember Ritchie Rich? a poor little rich boy who had to drive a poor old Rolls Royce, live in a poor old mansion and his ten poor servants?" The rich are not like us. Republicans cause their citizens to suffer, but weep for our own. None of the 50 States have our Rhodes scholars, Nobel laureates, sprinters or minstrels per capita, but they are strong. New Jersey was shut down in 2006, Pennsylvania in 2007, did we care? President Obama was elected to run America, not Illinois. Our president in Georgetown runs CSME; did we vote for him? What's his name again? If the Federal locks down, States still live. In fact, some US citizens see the Federal government as a burden and rue the waste of taxes to aid work-shy nations as Jamaica. Timothy McVeigh bombed a Federal tax building in Oklahoma in protest; would you ever bomb Georgetown to protest the imposition of CSME?
Jamaicans know Federal but little about State government. We hate Federal Immigration and Customs at the airports in Miami and ATF, DEA here. But Federal bozos also send food, lend us money, train us to intercept drugs and save our sorry arses. These things hurt a proud Jamaican man. Washington does not run utilities, so after Gilbert it was a State via Florida Light and Power that helped us restore power. Should Idaho help us grow potatoes? Wisconsin, dairy cattle? The USA taxes States and we get some. How do we build self-reliance if we keep taking aid? Suppose Vermont or Tennessee do not aid our health care, education, water supply to upset egos in Washington's beltway? Folks in Hawaii who don't know us feed us. In lockdown some Americans suffer, but we still get our aid parcel from them on time. I am not proud of this reality. Who should be sorry for whom?
Don't weep for Obama; did you for Clinton or Reagan? Had we a Federal system, MPs from the states of St Elizabeth and Manchester would lock down the nation as they got so little from their own bauxite. Weep not for America. A million Federal jobs are in escrow, but tens of millions in State governments, industry, farming and commerce are at work. We selfishly think of our tourist industry as passports, air traffic, border control are Federal duties. Otherwise, would we care about America or Idaho? Why not applaud Republicans so the USA does not get to our debt trap? The "Affordable Care Act" is OK, but States have better health care than us. Weep for Jamaica. Which States have water, energy woes; garbage problems? No State lacks food. Georgia sends us eggs; California apples, pears and grapes. Has lockdown harmed their production? Has one chicken back trailer arrived late, Roger?
The USA is not like CSME, and we are not like Dakota, though we have Jamaicans in the New York State legislature. We make racist comments, but President Obama makes none. We are in an unviable federal system, CSME, but we take USA aid, lecture Republicans, Democrats how to run their rich federation and fruitful States while Jah kingdom goes to waste. Lockdown is the crucible of a great nation renewing its values. Don't weep for America; rend your hearts for Jamaica. Stay conscious!
Dr Franklin Johnston is a strategist, project manager and advises the minister of education. email@example.com