It is a curious time but a troubling time in history. We as a nation are witnessing the zenith of partisanship, whereby respect for tradition and our institutions is at an all time low.
Since it has been awhile since Congress has behaved in a traditional manner, it is necessary to remind the reader of what things used to be like if you were an incoming Congressperson or a Freshman Senator. We all know that Democracy is remarkably slow in dealing with problems but we also know that in times of crisis our nation has functioned well from the early days of the Republic.
Traditionally in the good old days, new members of the House and Senate were to be seen and not heard. Their job was to serve the more senior members while the newbies got their feet wet. A decent period of apprenticeship was required to learn the ropes of how the Institution worked. He or she was expected to devote themselves to routine legislative tasks, while learning how the process worked. New members who tried to dominate public hearings were frowned upon. Your time was to be used to learn and specialize in the topic that your committee assignments dealt with. A definite learning curve exists in mastering procedure and the area of specialization your committee holds hearings on. An attempt to take the lead and challenge the leadership of the body was frowned upon. You are expected to show a willingness to cooperate and participate in a give and take rather than insist on his or her own principles without a willingness to compromise. The traditional ways of the Institutions were taught to newcomers. The most important lesson taught was that in order for you to represent your constituents well, compromise was necessary. The lesson served members well , when you were sufficiently seasoned, your favorite piece of legislation that you would want to be passed for the folks back home could be passed more easily if you proved to be a team player.
In the Senate, a great debating society, respect for your fellow Senators is mandatory if you want to get things done. If you are a team player you can get the key committee assignments you wanted. Collegiality is the norm. Rewards and punishments are used to enforce conformity. If you changed our traditions can you imagine 535 individuals with huge egos doing their own thing and accomplish anything without rules and traditions?
I have always thought that Conservatives were about preserving the nations best traditions. The reality now is that we have members of Congress at war with their own government. They seek to overturn the rules and traditions that have made our government a model for other nations.
Senator Ted Cruz is a great example of how not to act in the Senate. The Senate of the United States is perhaps the greatest debating society along with the House of Commons, in the world. It is a club, a good old boys club that now has many women who have joined this club, the United States Senate. The Senate has prided itself on being a governmental body of workhorses and not show horses. Cruz has shown himself to be a show horse and in doing so he has earned the enmity of his fellow Senators.
You can very well choose to be a non-conformist but by being so, you are far less likely to get things accomplished for your constituents back home.
There is an old saying that fits regarding the alleged reforms the new young guns in the House seek. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I wonder if some of these men and women who now make war on their own government have really ever read the oath that they swore to uphold when they were sworn into office. They are sworn to uphold the Constitution. These new members, particularly of the Tea Party persuasion, are more like anarchists and traitors to our system of government. They would rather destroy what we have than fulfill their oath of office. Those who would destroy our government as we know it are traitors to what many Americans have died for, to preserve. Congress’s job is to make our Union more perfect, not destroy it.
Let us preserve our Institutions and make them stronger not weaker. We should take pride in our traditional ways of doing business. Sure we can tweak a few rules to make our government more responsive to we the people. We need a strong Speaker of the House of Representatives. We need to bring back pragmatism and compromise if our system is to work. Bi-partisanship is required, and a commitment to moving our nation forward. We need to reject extremism, and ideology for the sake of preserving our union and our nation.