Abolish the Filibuster!

The Senate is inherently an undemocratic body.  When states as small (in population) as Vermont or Montana have the same representation as states as large as Texas or California, you have a undemocratic system.  But that’s (sort of) what the Founders wanted, so that’s what we have.

But it gets worse.  The filibuster, which was used only sparingly until recently, is being used to stop any and all legislation from coming to a vote.  And although it is the Republicans that are using it now, the Democrats did the same thing when they were in the minority just a few years ago.

But wait, it gets even worse.

The filibuster is not even being used.  It is the threat of a filibuster that is actually being used.  A filibuster is, of course, when a member of the Senate stands up and continues to talk for a long period of time and doesn’t stop talking.  This is a tactic that was meant to stop a given piece of legislation from getting to the floor by delaying everything because the Senator would not stop talking.  OK, fine.  But now, they don’t even stand up and keep talking, they simply say that they will do that if the other side doesn’t stop what they are doing.  So it isn’t bad enough that filibusters are being used to stop votes.  No, we simply need the threat of a filibuster to stop votes.  At the very least, they should have to torture each other by actually employing the tactic.

In fact, the filibuster should be eliminated altogether.  We shouldn’t have this simple tactic that doesn’t allow anything to get done at all.  If they don’t like a bill, then they should vote against it.  If it passes anyway, well, too damn bad.  There are plenty of democratic ways to stop a bill from being passed.  How about telling people about how bad a bill is and letting them tell their Senators to vote against it.  I know it is a foreign concept to allow the actual people being governed to have any say in what laws get passed, but hey, let’s try something new for a change.

The Senate is undemocratic enough with its 100 members (2 per state), but the filibuster (or just the threat of such) is over the top.  I know that it’s more likely that we will get a camel through the eye of a needle than for the filibuster to be abolished, but I am one of those crazy people that believes that capitalism should be abolished too.  So you can just add this to my list of impossible dreams (abolish the filibuster, abolish capitalism, get money out of politics, racial equality, etc.)

Unless we reach for the stars we will be stuck with what we have here on earth.

Senate Republicans: Filibuster everything to win in November? (McClatchy)

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