Until President Obama’s administration began, one could attribute our political dysfunction to a repeat of historical patterns but I would argue that for the last 6 years we are truly witnessing a new era. What this era represents is a break with the past and a real tyranny of the minority.
In the past, elections have mattered, the will of the majority has been expressed through changes that a new administration brings with it. We have in the history of our Republic been governed by the idea that the majority rules with protections through our system of checks and balances, that protect minority rights.
Today’s actions break with the past and border on treason. Never before has a political party decided to totally obstruct and impede all actions of a new Presidency with the design of seeing its failure. The Republican Party is so extreme that with the exception of 3 Republican Senators voting for the stimulus bill during President Obama’s first year in office they have been voting in unison against any of his proposals, hoping that it would lead to his defeat. Party loyalty has triumphed over the needs of the people.
What has been almost to the level of treason is the Republican effort to prevent the proper and required implementation of laws that are on the books, and to prevent the implementation of new laws such as the Affordable Care Act.
The complete obstruction of our government’s ability to function seems to be the Republican Party’s goal. Obstruction is defined as one who systematically blocks or interrupts or impedes. Obstructing is not governing.
The world is still not out of the woods economically and I doubt if anyone would disagree with the idea that our economy could be doing better. The citizens of the United States have important needs that need to be addressed both societal and economic that are not being addressed. Gridlock and keeping things the way they are is not the answer. Our problems require solutions.
Our political system is broken both structurally and from a political party standpoint where partisanship has won out over reason and compromise. Compromise is viewed as a weakness and principle and ideology are winning over pragmatism. In the past differences were dealt with by agreeing to include some points that the other side wants. Politics is all about compromise and the accommodation of other peoples views. If you do not have compromise you have tyranny, chaos and anarchy. Extremism along with partisanship can lead to the rendering of the tapestry of our nation and permanently divide us along ideological grounds.
Now even when the President offers what were Republican policy points all of a sudden because he is the one who has proposed to have a Republican idea included, Republicans are against their own ideas.
We, the people, face dire consequences if we can’t get our act together. The fall season of 2013 promises to bring with it, greater dangers as another debt ceiling comes to the forefront and the passage of the budget comes to a head.
Political dysfunction is not just happening in Washington. We are seeing it occur in state houses and governorships as the old tactic of Nullification is being used and new prohibitive measures are being passed that effect the rights of women and voting rights.
Money in politics is just one of the sources of the problem. The following list comes from a marvelous book, “It’s even worse than it looks,” written by Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein. The following partial list represents examples of what makes what is happening different from what has happened before during the history of our Republic.
Sharply asymmetric polarization, with an insurgent Republican Party far from the mainstream of American politics.
The virtual disappearance of regular order in Congress.
The widespread denial of the elected President’s legitimacy.
An unbending opposition-party strategy of obstructing, demonizing, and nullifying presidential initiatives, accomplishments, and appointments during economic crisis.
The hostage taking of the full faith and credit of the United States.
The first ever downgrade of U.S. Securities.
Nonnegotiable demands producing gridlock on issues of prime importance, including economic recovery and deficits and debt.
We face issues such as creating jobs, working on our infrastructure, health care, immigration and regulating greed so that we can hopefully prevent a repeat of the financial disaster of 2008.
I am afraid that the Republican Party is quite willing to shut down our government and put the full faith and credit of the dollar at risk once again in order to extort concessions that they were not able to convince the American people of at the ballot box. These acts that we have seen and are perhaps about to witness once again are not democratic acts but actions that represent the tyranny of the few over the many. They delude themselves into believing that by winning some partisan points, America will be better for it. No one will be the winner we will all be the losers.