Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Do We Really Live In A Democracy?

The dysfunctional occupants of the United States Senate are at it again.
Yesterday Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell joined thirteen other Senate Republicans in proclaiming that they would filibuster any attempt to bring gun control legislation to the floor for a vote.
You may not be aware of this but Party Leaders do not join filibusters.  They leave it to the backbenchers of the party to do the dirty work.  But Mitch McConnell is in danger of losing his seat and his powerful position.  And Mitch McConnell is not a dummy.  He understands how weak he is in his own state.  So McConnell has calculated that he needs to curry favor with the far right to avoid a primary challenge come 2014. He believes that joining this filibuster is the way to do it.  Never mind that 92% of the nation favors stricter laws on gun ownership.  What’s important to McConnell is not the will of the people but the will of the far right special interest groups that fill his re-election coffers.
Senate Majority Leader is no better.  Reid went to the Senate floor and chastised his Republican colleagues for refusing to allow a vote on gun control legislation.  Senator Reid would like us to forget that it is as a result of his incompetence that Republicans have the opportunity to play these obstructionist games.
You see ever since Barak Obama became president the Republicans have used the filibuster to block his agenda.  They have used the filibuster hundreds of times more than any previous party in our history.  They have basically changed the rules.  Whereas the framers wrote that a simple majority vote should rule in terms of passing new laws; the Republicans, through use of the filibuster have altered the rules so that it now requires 60 votes to pass anything.
During the past election season Senator Reid vowed that if Democrats were returned to the majority he would exercise his power to change the Senate rules in such a manner as to reduce the power of the filibuster and return Senate procedures to the way the founders intended.  But when the time came Harry backed down.  He agreed on a handshake deal under which Republicans “promised” to only use the filibuster on important matters.  Harry agreed on this casual, watered down agreement because he feared that one day his Democrat Party might be in the minority and might want to abuse the power of the filibuster themselves.  Forget about the framers and the voters; it’s all about the Party and preserving one’s cash cow.
This whole thing is ludicrous! 
Who in his or her right mind filibusters an issue that is favored by 92% of the American people?  The answer of course is those who know that they will lose he debate.  Republicans don’t want an open debate and up or down vote on gun control because they know that they will lose.
Vice President  Joe Biden will participate in a round table debate on gun control this Thursday on MSNBC’s popular “Morning Joe.”  The host of the show, former Republican congressman and unabashed conservative Joe Scarborough invited the NRA to participate.  They declined saying that they were “too busy.” 
The NRA has railed against Biden’s efforts to pass stricter gun control laws.  They have accused Biden of “shredding the Constitution” in violation of their Second Amendment rights.  Yet when offered the opportunity to make their case before a national audience by debating the #1 proponent of gun control laws…they are too busy.  The fact is they don’t want to debate the issue because they know that they will lose.
The United States Senate is often referred to as “The world’s greatest deliberative body.”  Others have called the Senate “one of the most powerful political bodies in the world.”
We prefer “the most dysfunctional, out of touch self promoting social club ever assembled.”
If fourteen Senators can prevent the will of 92% of the people from even coming up for a vote then the question must be asked...do we really live in a democracy?               

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