Monday, July 8, 2013

"Preamble To What I'll Be Writing Tomorrow

There’s a stack of three-by-five cards on my desk – ideas for posts that, when I scribbled them down, seemed promising but which, over time, have lost their appeal.  The majority of them are politically themed.  

I’d like to write more about politics, but I am currently too discouraged.  And when I’m discouraged, I lose energy.  And when I lose energy, I can’t focus.  And when I can’t focus, I can’t write. 

So there is no writing about politics.  (This post does not qualify as “writing about politics.”  This is “writing about why I can’t write about politics.”)

Why am I too discouraged about politics to write about it?  When an apparently overwhelming majority of the electorate favors a law requiring background checks for gun purchasers and our Congress is still unable to enact one…

I mean, in what other democratic country besides this one is that, in any way, shape or form...


This doesn’t happen in other democracies.  (If you already know this, you can jump ahead.  I shall tell you to where when I get to it.  Though, more likely, I’ll forget.) 

There are imaginably people who are unaware of the difference between parliamentary democracies – like the governments of England and Canada – and form of government we have here.

In parliamentary democracies, there is no legislative division of power.  Whichever party wins the most seats in the election forms the government, and the leader of that party becomes the Prime Minister, the governing head of that country.

In parliamentary democracies, the head of the country and the majority in the Legislature? – The same party.  (Sometimes after elections, if they don’t get over a fifty percent majority, the leading seat-accumulating party has to form a coalition with a less popular party in order to govern, but let’s stick with when a party wins a majority of the seats.)

Being unified in its legislative philosophy, the winning party is free to carry out its policies – the policies they ran and won on in the election.  By their victory-establishing vote, the electorate has said to that party, “We’re in favor of your ideas – Go!”

So that’s what they do – they do what they promised they’d do.  And if the policies they were elected to implement do not work out, or prove extremely unpopular, the next scheduled election – the voters turf that party – and its leader – out the window, and they elect the Opposition, and try them. 

But at least the victorious party gets their shot.  When they’re in power, they are in control.

Not here.

As a result of their unpleasant experience with England, The Framers of the Constitution were hypersensitive to the injustices brought about by accumulated power (as with a king, or possibly a president) and by the Tyranny of the Majority (dominating the legislature.) 

In response to those concerns, the Framers created a Constitution that would, as much as possible, prevent such injustices from eventualizing.  (They were also ferociously against parties – Jefferson said, “If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all” – but likeminded people seem to inevitably band together, so what are you gonna do?) 

With the branches’ separation of powers – so that no branch gets too powerful – and rules, such as the necessity for the hundred-seat Senate to obtain sixty votes to bring a proposed bill to a vote (instituted so the Minority would not be steamrollered by the Majority), the Founders made it intrinsically more difficult for anything to get done. 

As a result of the separation of powers and institutional limitations such as the “Sixty Vote” Senate rule, unlike England and Canada, the leader of this country, elected by the majority of the voters, may still be stymied in his efforts to turn the ideas that they ran and won on into law.

Enter the Minority strategists, partisanly committed to tactics insuring that the already high legislative bar is elevated even higher.  How does the Minority do that?  Two ways.  One:  They unilaterally refuse to participate in the legislative process.  And two:  They fan the flames of real, fabricated and exaggerated “scandals”, forcing the Opposition to deviate from their legislative efforts, their energies instead diverted towards extinguishing those fires.

(See: The Clinton impeachment affair.  Even if they failed to get Clinton kicked out, the Opposition succeeded in keeping anything else from getting done.)

The current Minority has been accused of doing nothing.  There’s another way of looking at this, of which I am certain the Minority is happily aware. 

Every time nothing gets done, nothing gets changed.  And when nothing gets changed, the group that prefers things to remain as they are, their constituents, their backers and their powerful contributors,

Have a party. 

And for good reason.  As I asserted not long ago, for the group that prefers things as they are, doing nothing, and therefore keeping things from changing in a less favorable direction, means victory.  

And so, with the continuing stalemate, resulting from gamesmanship rather than the will of the majority of its citizens, it can persuasively be argued that the Minority in this country

Is winning.

Tomorrow, for educational purposes – my own, but possibly yours as well, I shall offer some questions for the Minority, concerning their passionately held positions.  I do not have a plethora of conservatives in my universe, so I am required, for answers, to venture outside my “Thought Collective” and bring my queries to The People.  And by “The People”, I do not mean just those Indian tribes who call themselves “The People.” 

Though they are welcome to weigh in as well.

My apologies for going “all heavy” during “Vacation Time.”  They come out when they come out.  In an effort to make it up to you, when I am finished following this trail, which is, hopefully, after tomorrow, I shall tell you what it was like working on “Phyllis.”  And if you don’t care about “Phyllis”, tell me what you’re interested in, and I’ll see what I can do.

By the way, if you think this country is divided today?

See:  The Civil War era, and the struggle to define government in the 1790’s.
Adios.  And enjoy your summer.

1 comment:

Steve from Toronto said...

You can always move back to Canada. Or, how about you do what my parents do? Live in Canada from May through October. Go back to Cali-for-ni-a from November through April. Then U.S. politics doesn't matter because you're just a snowbird.

Love the Blog, by the way.