Working As It Should

House of Representatives

When the House of Representatives started its deliberations and voting on the next Speaker I was as horrified as were many other Republicans, and as the deliberations drug on and on my impatience grew.  The gloating by the Democrats and the media only served to raise my annoyance at the impasse.

 Listening to a broadcast on some station hosting an interview with a newly elected Representative, he started my thinking in a totally different direction.  For many years the Democrats held a majority in the House and did not need the Republican vote to pass any legislation.  Since Nancy Pelosi could always corral the votes needed, the House was reduced to a single person who had all the votes at her disposal.  How she intimidated the whole Democratic caucus to back every piece of legislation, every measure, every budget bill she wanted is a bit of a mystery, but she did it.  Our founders would have shuttered at this use of her office and is not how our Republic was designed to work.  If this single person vote happens, we do not see strength, we see coercion and abuse of power at the highest levels.

Our House of Representatives was designed to stand for the interest of all states and each state’s diverse population.  Unlike the Senate, the House was designed to be confrontational and a little less orderly.  There should be impassioned speeches, rowdy incidents, name calling, and all manner of debates just as there are among citizens and States.  The Senate is where most of the polite adults sit, and only rarely do they get into the type of name calling and infighting we see routinely in the House.

As quoted in USA Today, January 2023, the press, due to the expiration of rules, gained wider access than normal to the house floor and saw:

“…images of lawmakers shouting at each other on the floor, huddling amid the contentious debate or racing to the floor to vote as the drama plays out.  In one astonishing image, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., is seen being physically restrained by another lawmaker after getting into an argument with Rep. Matt Gaetz R-Fla.”

Finally, the House of Representatives is back to being the people’s house.

When the House becomes a one person rule our system of government goes off the rails, and the gridlock, the Founders designed into the system, is circumvented.  This is triggered by a “lockstep” voting pattern where one person can decide who will be coming back to the gravy train in the next election cycle.  The Democratic Party is not aligned on issues so much as it is easily coerced into voting for all sponsored legislation, whether it is good or bad for the Nation.  This situation is not as bad as one Party controlling all of Congress and the White House, but it removes one of the intended checks and balances. 

When asked about the lengthy debate Representative Jim Jordon said:

“Sometimes democracy is messy, but I would argue that’s how the founders intended it,” Jordan said.  “They wanted real debate, real input from all people and you get a decision.”

One Person/One Party rule played a role in driving us into the current situation and left us with these serious challenges.

  • Our national debt is about to crest $32 trillion
  • Our southern border is unprotected and wide open to drugs and human trafficking
  • Bills are passed with no review, no debate, no discussion
  • Violence issues facing our schools are ignored in inner cities
  • Homelessness is largely ignored or just covered up with money
  • People are sitting home rather than working because of all the stimulus money and entitlement programs
  • Our children are being poorly educated and, in some cases, indoctrinated
  • Our military has been weakened through WOKENESS

At first, I did not like the show on the floor of the House, but I am becoming a fan.  Speaker McCarthy cannot move a muscle without standing a “no-confidence” vote, so he will do his best to find compromises that help us all.  On closer review the new House Rules encompass:

  • Easier removal of the Speaker
  • Added investigative powers
  • Slowing spending with more oversight
  • More accountability of bureaucrats
  • Seventy-two hour minimum between presented legislation and voting
  • Reversing pandemic-based rules that allowed Representatives to vote remotely
  • Support for the fossil fuel industry and restrictions on use of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

Right now, we cannot find any issues with the rules, but it remains to see if these are real, or merely good intentions, or political posturing.  For right now through our representatives, we the people have stood strong and said “enough.”  No more business as usual or we will find new leadership, and it only takes one member of the Party to start the process.

When one Party controls the Executive and Legislative branches of government we briefly morph from a Republic into a pure Democracy.  History has shown the pitfalls of pure democracies.  The earlier list if societal issues stem directly from the lack of substantive debate and compromise.  It is a glimpse into the world of pure democracy, and it is ugly.

In America “pure democracy” usually lasts just one voting cycle.  Voters can feel and see the damage it does, and move to split power again.  A quote often attributed to Thomas Jefferson warns:

“Democracy is 51% of the people taking away the rights of the other 49%.” 

So goes the House of Representatives when open and balanced debate is abandoned, and one powerful politician seizes control.  So goes the Nation when there is no compromise on critical issues between political parties.

Franklin and the others knew what they created, and it has held for centuries.  .

“We have given you a Republic.  It remains to be seen if you will be able to retain it.” 

As painful as it is to watch, we see the change of the guard in Washington.  The Pelosi, Schumer, McConnell, Biden, Trump era is ending.  They do not like it and they will go kicking and screaming.  The old guard knows it, but also know they cannot stop it.  

Only time will give us the insight to see the damage done during this period where one party had control of the Executive and Legislative branches of our government.  There are brighter, more intelligent, cooler heads coming at a time when not just we, but all nations need them.

An accurate, but unattributed, description of our Republican form of government is:

“The real legacy of the Founding Fathers is a political process: a system of disagreement, debate, and compromise that has kept democracy vibrant in America for more than two hundred years.”

In the words of George Washington, the greatest of our citizens:

“(We must have the) ability to see members of the other party as fellow citizens rather than political enemies."

For more on this discussion see the article titled Not a Democracy