State of the Union

According the Republicans, the United States is the most perfect nation on Earth, and can do no wrong, except that they hate the size of the federal government, think we have too many laws, we’re way over taxed, and our ideal political system is crushing their personal freedom.  On the other hand, Democrats think the United States is a magnificent country that keeps making huge mistakes that could easily be fixed if we pass the right laws, raise taxes to pay for the right programs, and act cool with the other nations.

The state of our political union is a polarized ideology that operates a political machine that’s so big that change of momentum is almost impossible.  For decades now we’re pretty much a divided population that throws mud at each other.  Both tickets practically blather about the change they will bring about, but will either man actually do anything beyond ride the tiger?

I think Congress has dug itself into a hole so deep with partisan politics, influenced by special interests, corrupted by pork barrel dealings, that we’re almost in political gridlock.  I’m tired of being a citizen that feels like my only power is to root for my team, the Democrats, hoping the Republican team will lose the game this time.  How can we get ahead when at each election half the population goes home mad?

I think we need to introduce a change.  One tiny change, and see if it has the right ripple effects.  And I don’t think it should be a top down change, we could never agree on something so big.  I was thinking we could make one change in how Congress conducts business that might improve things in a way that would make more people happy on both sides of the political spectrum.

I think we should pass a law that Congress can only vote on one item in each bill.  In the debates the candidates keep slinging attacks by using voting records, but it’s always deceptive because they can claim they didn’t vote for a particular bill because of another item in the bill.

With such a simple change, voting records would be much clearer.  However, it would solve other problems too.  A lot of corrupt wheeling and dealing in Congress is done by attachments to a bill that allow special interests to get what they want, or congressmen to get pork for their districts.  If every bill had to be based on one item, I think politics would be much cleaner and clearer.  Look how backers of the financial bail-out package are having to buy votes with pork promises.

Another thing I noticed during the bail-out crisis was how Congressmen justified their vote by claiming to be responding to phone calls and emails from their constituents.  I think if every bill had only one item it would be far easier for the public to understand and express their opinion.  Every Congressmen could put web polls for forthcoming bills and let their voters have their say before making their vote in the House or Senate.

I think making this one change in how we play the game could have lots of ramifications that might break the gridlock and depolarize our political system.  Think about it.  When you watch the news see how often issues come up that are related to bills with multiple items being quickly pushed through the system.  Our political representatives seem to be getting lazy, and want to make huge packages that have a little something for everyone, but are bad for the nation as a whole.

JWH 9-19-8

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