We’re Back!

Well, that was interesting.

Since October 1st, the U.S. government has been on partial shutdown. That means a lot of different things, but most relevant for us is that since about 11:30am last Tuesday, I have been officially furloughed as an employee at the Voice of America. You may have seen a couple posts we prepared to auto-post once I walked out the door, explaining a little about the shutdown and what it would mean for the Student Union.

However, as of this morning, I and some of my colleagues have be designated “excepted” – which is an official government term for “back to work.” Of course, there still is no money, and excepted employees across the federal government around the world are working without pay for the moment. But at least we can again start moving forward with this year’s Student Union.

Very soon I hope to be reaching out to each of our new team members individually, as well as continuing to recruit new contributors. Tomorrow, we’ve got a post cued up from an international student from Africa and his thoughts on what racism means in modern-day America.

Most importantly, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the shutdown. What you’re reading, what you’re talking about with your classmates, whether it’s affected your studies as some labs and facilities close and aid payments slow down and other thoughts you have. Is the shutdown hurting the U.S. image overseas, or is it a good example of democracy in action?

Leave your thoughts, and feel free to respond to any comments you see here. Like I said last week, let’s consider this a teachable moment.


  1. Of course, it’s not only about national economics and lab shutdowns.

    America, in the 21st century, is seen as a global bully – often all too ready to employ the force of violent military intervention to achieve its political goals and intent on succeeding in its economic agenda by any means available, including war – rather than as an international peacemaker using ethical and democratic methods of negotiation, mediation and international law.

    But, equally disturbing, is its eager willingness to comply with the demands of powerful unelected lobbies acting for both foreign and private commercial and political interests at the expense of its own democratic electorate. A willingness that is at once anti-democratic and insidious in its power to disenfranchise both its own people and those in foreign states whose regimes act in concert with the US in order to maintain their own position vis a vis their own peoples.

    A hundred years ago, Great Britain would shoot a few natives, plant a flag and proclaim ownership of a foreign land. Now, a century later, America emulates that anachronistic colonialism by the use of missile-armed drones, massive cluster bombs and deadly nuclear-armed submarines, to enforce its will throughout the international community – excluding, of course, Russia and China, who are a bit too powerful to intimidate. It’s a given that bullies only ever confront those weaker than themselves. And that’s also applicable in politics.

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