If you think the United States' politics are in disarray, you need look no further than our closest ally, the United Kingdom, to feel a little better about our own dysfunction.
In case you haven't been following the developments, which have unfolded over several months, the United Kingdom — Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland — voted in a referendum on whether to leave the European Union. Northern Ireland, which shares a border with the Republic of Ireland, voted to leave the EU. And therein lies the problem.
Residents on the Irish island don't want a "hard border," which would be similar to our borders between, for instance, Texas and Mexico.
So the two sides have been negotiating back and forth for weeks, even after British Prime Minister Theresa May negotiated a deal with the European Union. She stood before television cameras and Parliament for hours several times and implored for an alternative, but none was presented, and a scheduled vote in Parliament was canceled. And some misguided members of the House of Commons have tried to have her ousted, though the attempt failed.
Neither side wants to budge on their demands, and May no doubt doesn't want to negotiate another attempt at a deal — only to have it rejected and leave her right back where she is now.
One other option that has been discussed is whether to hold another referendum, or to hold a referendum on the current deal versus a no-deal Brexit. May and others don't want another referendum because, they say, they don't want to divide the country again, in a way similar to the U.S. during the last election.
The lesson here is that referendums are messy, and they don't always settle controversial issues. But as we have found in Florida, they give power directly to the people, and, as May has said several times, it's the people they are serving.
Let's hope the upcoming holiday spurs on the reluctant members of Parliament. What they do — or don't do — reverberates around the globe, affecting global trade and adding to the contagious discontent that has plagued too many countries.
Ick Factor (Not for the Squeamish)
The next time you find a cockroach running along a wall and all the other places they hide, remember this: Reuters reported China is breeding billions of them in an attempt to eat trash and cure the common cold, among other things.
It's an icky — and very odd — example of innovation.
We won't suggest the U.S. do the same; we'll stick to the over-the-counter stuff. It's not a cure, but how many medicines are perfect?
And a pill is a lot more palatable. And less icky.
REPRINTED FROM THE PANAMA CITY NEWS HERALD
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