The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Militant Moderate

March 10, 2010

Broken government

“Our government is broken,” say some politicians and pundits.  If indeed this condition exists, then its “breaking” must have been an event.  News reporters covering an event are taught to ask certain questions to ascertain the full story.  These are questions like:  “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” and “how.” 


So, “Who broke our government?”  “When was our government broken?”  “Where did this happen?”  “How did this breaking take place?”  But first we might ask, “Who says government is broken?” 


Primarily, it is republican politicians and pundits who have been peddling the notion that government is broken.  They have been joined by others who are accustomed to repeating whatever they hear, rather than thinking for themselves.  Still others may be looking at the turmoil involved in trying to accomplish anything good in the present partisan standoff in Congress, and then concluding that government itself is broken. 


If our government is broken, when did that happen?  Was that just lately?  Or, was it earlier when we went to war based on false premises, violated international law in treatment of prisoners, ran up deficits while giving tax cuts to the rich, tried to destroy Social Security, deregulated the financial sector into speculative chaos, and wrecked the economy -- throwing the nation into severe recession?   When did all that breaking happen?  Who did that?


By way of clarification, perhaps we should first try to identify exactly what is broken, if anything.  Government itself is NOT broken!  The Congress is broken.  Democracy, as it is practiced under U. S. Senate rules, is broken. 


Who has broken the ability of Congress to function?  Quite clearly, this is the excessive partisanship, hostile rhetoric, threats, and the unanimity of negativism of republican senators and congresspersons.  Congress is dysfunctional because republicans have chosen to make it so. 


Perhaps republicans have done this in a desperate attempt to keep the democratic party’s agenda from passing.  In their own public declarations, they have said, “We want President Obama to fail.  If we can defeat health care legislation, we will break his presidency.”  They mentioned nothing about the good of the country.  They have followed that line with actions of voting “No” on every piece of legislation which comes before them.”  Further, they have engaged in every delaying tactic and parliamentary blocking maneuver open to them, and those have been many. 

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