Everybody, it seems, has a solution. And shockingly, so do I. After pondering the entire situation for some time, I think I have a handle on the problem and the cure.
Grid lock is the problem, quite obviously. Nothing much gets done. Over time, both sides have learned that the best way (as they can conceive it with their fairly simian brains), to get power is to simply block and obstruct every single thing, good, bad or indifferent, that the other side wishes to accomplish. The party out of power then points to the failure to do anything by the other side, and hopefully, we, the drooling electorate, too stupid to know better, vote the in’s out and the out’s in. Then we begin again.
Plenty have tried to forge a common foundation of discontent hoping to vote them all out and begin again. However, everybody finds some people worth saving, and this overlaps to a degree that, well, we never do it.
We must return to the fundamental problem–what causes this strategy of “no” to be successful? Why are we in a situation where a minority can shut down the government more or less?
I’m constrained to see that the problem lies in the rules and interpretations of the two houses. I don’t know, and wouldn’t bore you anyway, with the details. Apparently it is possible for one person to hold up the appointments of the White House so they cannot get to the floor of the entire Senate chamber for a vote. Apparently there are all kinds of rules and interpretations that allow A house or senate member to block other types of legislation from being voted upon.
Of course, we know about the filibuster, that tried and true method for one person to stop everything for as long as he/she can stay standing and continue to speak. Of course, as we now know, we are a gentler kinder people, so we don’t actually require them to do this but in some “spirit” as they go home, sleep, eat and otherwise go about business as usual, stopping by and speaking for a required period each day to qualify as “continuous speaking.”
What this all amounts to is that the Senate and House has instituted by design or interpretation, an array of devices whose sole purpose is to cause utter dysfunction within its chambers.
Let that sink in. What institution has deliberate dysfunction built into the fabric of its operation? Why are we so intend on giving A person such control?
What the American folksies want, I would argue, is a government that debates with an eye toward uncovering commonality. Where we find common ground, then we move to enact it. As to the real differences that still exist, why then we continue to argue, debate, question, answer, explain, exhort, and so forth. When consensus is arrived at on another point or two, we enact that.
We in essence, govern. We move forward. We address problems in small incremental steps. Surely, nobody is perfectly satisfied, but all can sleep at night knowing that we are not mired in mud up to our eyeballs, in danger of being suffocated.
So the solution is simple. We instruct our representatives and senators to stop this. Eliminate these rules, change these interpretations. Of course they won’t do it voluntarily, but they will when they see that we will vote them out of office if they don’t.
They will complain, they will explain, they will pat us on the head and declare that “brilliant as we are, we don’t understand parliamentary procedures and how necessary these stop gaps are to prevent tyranny.”
Bull crap. Stop it and stop it now. You have institutionalized dysfunction which serves only one purpose now–to insure your re-election to fight the good fight against the infidels (meaning the other side). So stop it. Or get ready to return to private life when your term is over. We can all agree that any elected official who wishes to retain the status quo wishes only to protect his/her own fiefdom. They are NOT representing our interests.
You have three months. Do it. Stop whining. Just do it. Can we not agree on this even? For if we can’t, we cannot continue to castigate them for not agreeing on anything. If we can’t agree that institutionalized dysfunction is irrational and counter productive in a modern government, then we deserve to perish in flames as did Rome.