Thursday, June 23, 2016

The point at which American democracy childishly died by sitting down and pouting on the floor.

U.S. House Democrats, a minority in the House, have decided to sit on the floor until they get their way on voting for several gun control bills that would, if voted upon, fail.

A persons view on this story, admittedly, tends to vary based on their view on the topic of gun control.  Opponents of gun control view this as a silly thing.  Some proponents view it as a heroic one.

Well, I submit, it's childish and disturbing no matter what your view is.

Now, I'll further state that if I ran the House of Representatives I'd let votes proceed.  But then I'd let there be a vote on every bill without them going through committee, and without their being wrapped up in other bills.  There is in fact a legislative body that does basically that, and its the oldest deliberative body in the world, the House of Commons in the English Parliament.  

The Parliament lets every bill be voted on.  Introduce them, and they get voted on. And that's the way it should be.  The U.S. Congress has, instead, developed this Byzantine process where bills have to go through committees, etc., before they can get anywhere.  That's anti-democratic by its very nature, and I'm opposed to it.  But it is the system that's been used in Congress for eons, and the Democrats and the Republicans have used it without complaint for a very long time.

Essentially, therefore, what the minority Democrats are complaining about is that they aren't getting their way.  They're trying to dictate what the majority party does.  That's not the way the system works.  No party out of party can legitimately sit down in protest and implicitly say "the majority won't let the minority have an exception to the rules".  

And they know that.

What they also know and hope is that this makes this issue, which is a popular one in urban areas, but a very unpopular one in rural areas (the Democrats in the House are effectively slitting the throats of the Wyoming Democratic Party which was beginning to show signs of life again), an issue in the fall.  Democrats like to claim that the GOP blocks "common sense gun control" due to  the "gun lobby", which translates as GOP voters not liking gun control and using the NRA to support its view (it'd be interesting to see how Democrats would react to being accused of blocking "common sense protection for the unborn" by serving the "death lobby", probably not well).

And what they also ought to know is that by taking this approach, and tying it to memories of the Civil Rights movement, they're going to see it used again, against them, on things that are legitimately closer in spirit to the Civil Rights movement.  While Pelosi and crew sit there they ought to realize, when they return to power, and sooner or later they will, they're going to hear "Madam Speaker, if you won't bring my bill to the floor to protect the living at all ages, while I'll just sit down right here . . . "

But, whatever a person's view, this symbolizes the ongoing demise of democracy in this country.

Not that it suddenly arrived.  Both parties are to blame and this has been going on ever since the GOP decided to attempt to remove President Clinton for having an affair with an aid. That was reprehensible on his part, but it had nothing to do with legitimate politics and frankly it didn't impact the country in any fashion.   Following that both parties have increasingly criminalized bad economic choices and bad political choices, which is appalling.  This election cycle we're seeing a primary process in which the Democratic Party has put in an entire class of delegates that the party gets to choose in case the people do the wrong thing, and a system which confuses party membership with voting rights has helped nominate a Republican candidate that has very little chance of winning.

Many have speculated this year on whether a third party might have a chance at gaining the presidency this year.  I doubt it, but one certainly has a better chance than in prior years.  Would that one would have a chance getting into Congress on the platform of acting like adults, not penalizing economic and business decisions, and actually performing those acts required of it in the Constitution. 

But that's not going to happen.

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