Filibustering: Rust on the Gears of America, Inc.

Slowing Legislation – A Poor Trend in America

By Jaron Serven, Staff Writer

Image Courtesy of: hmcasia.org

I’m like most young Americans. When I read about the recent filibustering in the U.S. Senate, I can’t help but feel that I’m about to inherited a country with lot more problems than I was told existed — and I’m not talking about just filibustering.

(Filibustering, according to a New York Times Topic report that you should really read, is a technique used to slow the passage of quick legislation.)

There are many things wrong with my country and some petulant part of me — the child I refuse to let go of — hurts because of that, and I want to blame my government, because that’s the easiest thing to do.

But it’s not the right thing to do.

Americans get so mixed up with what’s going on in their own lives that they start to think that government is a separate entity from them.  We moan about Congress, about the president and about the Electoral College, but we don’t realize that their actions are the result of our decisions.   [pullquote]We moan about Congress, about the president and about the Electoral College, but we don’t realize that their actions are the result of our decisions.  [/pullquote]

The democratic process ensures that the people are the causes of change. When an American doesn’t like something, he lets their elected representatives know, and they try to work out a solution.

But the United States is a diverse country. There are numerous differing views on any one issue. There are millions of people displeased about something at one point of another and they all want their government to do something about it.

Of course the American people are angry. Their elected representatives are working on so many different issues and in so many different directions.

That is how democracy works. It is an imperfect process — slow, prone to mediocre results and unable to satisfy everyone — but it is one that ensures a massive corporation is beholden to its stakeholders.

Yes, the U.S. government is a corporation. All governments are corporations — or, at least, they strive to be. They strive to be efficient; they strive to make money for their shareholders; and most importantly, they strive to remain in business.

That is why the U.S. government wants to keep the people happy — because it has to. A CEO does not stay in power for long if he has unhappy shareholders.

And maybe that’s why we’re seeing filibuster reform moving through Congress so quickly. Filibustering is rust on the gears of an efficient machine. It’s bad business practice.

Of course, reports say that the filibuster reform itself is now busted, but that’s the price of living in a democracy — the system isn’t perfect, and compromise must be made for progress.

But compromise does not mean complacency. The CEO might run the corporation, but the shareholders are the corporation and it is they who will initiate change. A democracy is, after all, a reactive institution — it acts only through its people. Work towards the change that you want. The government will not do it for you.

Jaron Serven is a freelance culture writer and editor working out of the Greater New York City area.  Follow him on Twitter, and read his music blog at www.jaronserven.com.

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