Thursday, November 3, 2011

Republican politicians don't believe in up or down votes

Both parties have been known to block legislation and appointments by preventing bills and nominations from coming to the floor for a vote. This is perfectly legal in our primitive system of government--and by "primitive" I mean the same thing as was true of American TV signals before we adopted digital transmission: as the first TV country we had the best signal available at the time--but the PAL standard adopted by other countries later was much higher resolution (ditto France's SECAM).

Likewise, our democracy has the lower resolution of early TV, with a lot of mechanisms well suited to a rural economy in the horse and buggy days, but unable to act decisively when the minority party chooses to gum up the works.

The Republicans have gone so far as to say "majority" means "60%"--something that would dumbfound the Founding Father, since the need for minority consent to do anything is simply minority rule.

And they have blocked so many pieces of legislation and nominations as to make it the default now.

To the extent that both major parties keep legislation and nominations from coming to a vote they oppose democracy and seek to impose their will on the American people when the ballot box doesn't support them.

Minorities have important rights in any real democracy. But control of government shouldn't be one of them.

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