If you're a Democrat, you're an excuse maker. You blame the congress for Obama's not getting things done. Note I do not use the word failure.
If you're a Democrat, you blame Mitch McConnell for the Democratic majority in the senate not getting anything done-- because of that nasty filibuster. I don't just blame McConnell. I blame Harry Reid just as much. The two of them-- Reid and McConnell are a team, working together.
Here's what I think. Our political system has evolved, or better yet, devolved to a game where people attempt to stay as long as they can, or until they get an offer to run some org that pays them seven figures a year.
The annoying thing about being a member of congress is you have to vote-- on all kinds of topics. And some of those votes are bound to irritate or enrage some of your constituents, even ones who voted for you.
The members of congress have come up with a few ways around the need to vote.
1- In the senate, the filibusters rescues senators from voting on most issues. Now don't jump to just blaming Mitch McConnell. Harry Reid could have made it a lot more difficult to start and maintain a filibuster. He decided not to. So we have the situation where Reid rarely tries to do anything, ostensibly because malicious Mitch will do the bad thing and block the bill from reaching the mythical 60 votes. This saves almost all of the senators from voting on anything that is difficult.
2-In the house, it's a piece of cake. Thanks to Gerrymandering and a brilliant state level stratagem that has put the Republicans in deep, strong control of the south and the midwest, the Republicans have a strong advantage in the House, even though the democrats had over a million more votes. John Boehner lets the herd ride him and they end up proposing legislation that is strictly partisan or that will never ever get past the senate.
The end result of both these strategies is congressional gridlock. But it's a gridlock that the members of congress embrace and use to save their sorry butts.
There are some ways to end it. But they're unlikely to be accomplished if efforts are aimed within the political system as we know it. That system is designed to protect the status quo, and to secure, protect and maximize the interests of big multinational corporations and the top one tenth of the one percent.
If major change is going to happen, it's not going to happen from within congress.
Buckminster Fuller, the architect who invented the Geodesic dome-- talk about thinking out side the box-- said, "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."
This is not easy, not obvious and you never know where this new model will emerge from. Fuller also says, "There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly." For all we know, some activist, or perhaps some disgruntled employee or some person who was treated unfairly or just flat out pissed off is trying something odd, something that everyone else is saying won't work, that it's crazy or stupid and certainly a waste of time. That's what they said about Occupy, and electrity and even home computers.
We probably won't recognize it when we see it. Arthur Clarke has said that if a technology is advanced enough, it appears to be magic. Perhaps the paradigm shift that makes the existing model we are afflicted with now obsolete will also look like a metaphorical caterpillar. Most likely people will mock and question and challenge it. So perhaps that is where we should be looking-- at ideas that our reflexes tell us "Not really." Perhaps we need to be generating a lot more new ideas, or using old approaches-- I like to look for ones that have appeared in nature-- in animals or in indigenous cultures.
But one thing we should not be doing is digging a deeper hole, continuing to use an approach that we already know is not working-- and I'm talking about putting time into the legislative process.
These elected officials, from Obama on down, are not failing, they're not be obstructed by the other side. They are getting exactly what they want. They are, in fact, colluding to maintain the failure, the gridlock, the do-nothingness.
Do not allow yourself to forgive these people. Do not allow the idea of excusing them by blaming the other side. That is not what's happening. It is what they want you to think.
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