Why are we living through another Congress that is getting NOTHING done?
Honestly, it is beyond me how year after year, regardless of who occupies the White House, the United States Congress seems to work hard while accomplishing very little in the way of legislation. How 535 seemingly very intelligent people who each have been chosen by voters in their districts can spend so much time yet achieve so little or nothing at all defies logic. It seems to me that there may be a secret agenda there: to do as little as possible that might ruffle feathers — not feathers of voters, but the feathers of those on the “other” side of the aisle. Believing that may be factual is terrifying to me — and should be to every American.
Let’s face facts: “IF” Congress met with just one agenda — to make and revise laws to serve the people of the United States, confirm appointees to fill government office positions, and make sure the federal government clicks on all cylinders — they could get a lot done in every one of those areas. Yet as of today, President Donald Trump has more unconfirmed Cabinet nominees at this point in his term than all previous presidents combined, according to an ABC News analysis of data from the Congressional Research Service. As of December 31, 2017, Trump had 300 appointees waiting for Senate confirmation. Think about that: 300 positions in federal government management positions still without people to operate in them a year after the election! (for note that is 152 more appointees waiting than did Obama during the same period) How can this possibly happen?
Let’s face it: in every administration a newly elected President faces opposition from the opposing party. Conducting legislative business by Congress seems to the average American to be a simple task: members of Congress are elected by voters. Those people when candidates were elected because of their political positions preferred by their constituents. They should vote the will of the people they represent. It should be that simple. But it obviously is not.
That fact even in the day of President George Washington was alarming to the first President. He was extremely concerned about political parties and the problems they created. President Washington argued that political parties needed to be restrained in a free country with a government empowered by the consent of the governed and established through popular elections. He warned of the possibility fearing they could distract the government from its required duty to the people and even lead to the eradication of the freedoms established at the founding.
Obstruction in the political process raised its ugly head in America’s first government. And it has tagged along through a couple of centuries. However, it seems to never have held the power to stop the governing of those elected to govern as it does today. Obstruction that resides in the hands of not the governed or the government, but of the power junkies of political parties is the danger Americans face today. And it is ripping our nation apart at its seams.
Who are the Obstructionists?
Honestly, this is NOT a Republican or Democrat thing. This obstruction is the direct result of political posturing of members of both parties with one objective: power. I’ll shut up and let President Washington explain. Here is an excerpt from his farewell address:
“The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty. Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it. It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country is subjected to the policy and will of another.”
The Father of our Nation got it very early and warned Americans about such a danger. President Washington expressed genuine concern in that “the alternate domination” of one political party over another, thereby allowing one party to enjoy temporary power over the government that would use it to obtain revenge on the other. He seriously felt that this tendency toward atrocities directed at the party out of power “…is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism.” Washington understood that if “a wise people” did not do their duty to discourage and restrain the over-zealous development of political parties, it would be the end of America.
Unfortunately, it may be too late to restrain the hunger for power evident in America’s political parties in this day; such power now seems entrenched as it has become evident that both major political parties have a hard time yielding to the will of the people. The election of 2016 gave us a new chance to right this ship. But obviously as we together look to D.C. with hope that Congress will get things moving, legislatively it seems we are stuck in the trenches of Party Obstruction.
How do we get unstuck?
Simple: Democrats are going to have to forget about what Democrat Party leadership wants; Republicans are going to have to forget about what Republican Party leadership wants; EVERYONE in Congress is going to have to forget about everything and everybody except the voters in their districts and what they as candidates promised those voters during their campaigns. THEY MUST VOTE THEIR DISTRICT’S DESIRES…..AND NOTHING ELSE!
Can we ever get to that point?
Not so simple: members of Congress will have to lay aside ALL partisanship and hold fast to only the substance of each and every legislative issue as that substance relates to their constituents. Anything other than that is pure partisanship. And each time a vote is made based on that rather than constituents, another piece of the U.S. Constitution is erased, AND George Washington turns over in his grave.
What can voters do?
Simple: starting now, get with like-minded voters in your district and come to agreement on the terms of an agreement you want your Congressional candidates to agree to — IN WRITING — in exchange for your vote in November. You don’t know what to put in such an agreement? No problem. Read on.
You probably know that I’m a staunch Conservative. So here’s what I’ll do: I’ll prepare a “template” for you fellow conservatives. It will include right down-the-line commitments to individual conservative issues. It will be written in formal language (“whereas, whereas, and therefore….”). I will post it as an attachment in tomorrow’s story. I think I can post it in Microsoft Word so you can download and edit it to insert items you want to include and/or delete items you don’t want to include. Get with your friends who live in your district and reach agreement, finalize what your expectations of what your next Congressional representative should have in D.C. to represent you, and present it to each candidate when they announce their run for Congress. Demand their signature. Then make a copy of it available to your local news media to print and broadcast.
If you will do that, several things will happen: your doing so will show all those running that their constituents are engaged in the political process, are cognizant of all that their representatives are doing or not doing on their district’s behalf, and that you WILL hold them accountable. It will also confirm to you your willingness to engage rather than sit back and either ignore D.C. or just gripe about D.C. In either case, you will know for certain where you stand on every issue and if you really do care or just talk about caring.
Additionally, I’d like a copy of each of those signed commitments when completed. I will compile them and provide them to the leaders of both Democrat and Republican parties so they can see exactly how voters in your districts feel and exactly what candidates have committed to do and not do when elected.
Anybody can say anything in a political campaign with no consequences it seems. It is time for voters in America to make members of Congress pay for breaking campaign commitments by first exposing their hypocrisy and secondly to send them packing. Get those members of Congress on the record publicly, then hold them accountable!
It’s OUR country just as much as it’s theirs.