Saturday, July 9, 2016

Comment: "How American Politics Went Insane"

(comment in response to Jonathan Rauch's article published in The Atlantic, July/August, 2016 issue -- "How American Politics Went Insane")

This is an excellent article that focuses on many of the underlying reasons that have led to the sad state of our current dysfunctional government and the increasing public unrest. It is my opinion that if you dig deep into the search for solutions you can find it in the simple concept of "majority rule." For the last several decades inside political manipulation by both parties has undermined this basic concept, and as a result given rise to a devilish concept of "minority rule." This nightmarish concept defies compromise and feeds on government stagnation, obstruction and inaction on increasingly perplexing problems and issues that demand action -- that's why the public is mad.
The deep-rooted underpinnings of this increased dysfunction are Congressional rules and procedures all designed to frustrate the concept of majority rule -- abuses of the filibuster process in the Senate (silent filibuster & extensive use); senatorial holds; the “Hastert rule” in the House; riders & unrelated amendments, etc. Not only do they grind decision making to a standstill, but they allow for increased leverage for lobbyists and moneyed influences.
These are the "demons of democracy" that, as this article indicates have led to, "the general public’s reflexive, unreasoning hostility to politicians and the process of politics. Neurotic hatred of the political class. . ." As Thomas Jefferson pointed out way back in 1809, "Where the law of the majority ceases to be acknowledged, there government ends, the law of the strongest takes its place, and life and property are his who can take them."
But, solutions are at hand. I agree with the article which indicates, "Restoring the earmarks that help grease legislative success requires nothing more than a change in congressional rules. . ." This is true and every Washington politician and political insider knows it. Yet reforms to correct the process are few and far between because both parties use the "demons" to their advantage to manipulate political outcomes.
The public, the media, political reformers and the few remaining "statesmen" in Congress must focus their efforts like a laser beam on the "demons" and press for changes to restore majority rule. As I point out in one of my blog posts, you have to trust the majority rule system as it may not always deliver the results that you want -- if decisions are really bad, the majority corrects itself by changing direction -- if you can't live with majority rule then you should probably seek another alternative, somewhere else.

1 comment:

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