Saturday, April 05, 2014

Wastin' Away in the Fun House

The House of Representatives has voted now more than fifty times to do away with Obamacare even though everyone knows, including them, these votes are a complete waste of time and taxpayer money. They have also held repeated meetings to prove some kind of White House conspiracy or cover up about Benghazi. Similarly they have also held repeated meetings to investigate the IRS, determined to prove the White House was involved in the IRS investigations of various tax exempt organizations even though it has proven without a doubt their claims of White House involvement have no basis in fact  whatsoever. In short, they have basically wasted endless hours of time and endless amounts of taxpayer money chasing their tails.

 One might well ask why they have been permitted to do this, or, as it is sometimes asked, where are the adults? Why can’t these ridiculous and repetitive investigations simply be stopped when everyone knows they are completely without merit, costly, and disruptive of our governmental process? Where, in other words, is any overriding authority that could insist they cease and desist wasting our time and money?
It is here, I believe, where there is a troublesome flaw in our democratic process as there is no overriding authority that can move quickly enough to discipline such rampant and fruitless behavior. The only thing like an overriding authority is the ballot box. But as elections are held only ever two or four years the possibilities for abuse are obvious. First, the collective memory is so short that by the time the next election comes around the electorate has probably forgotten the problem. Second, the system is much too slow and unpredictable.

Can anything be done to rectify this unfortunate situation? Probably not, as unfortunate as that desirable possibility might be for the proper functioning of our (at least supposed) democracy. I am not a fan of dictatorships, even benevolent dictatorships, but I can see here why such a dictator might be worthwhile. Someone, or some entity, ought to have the authority to put a stop to pointless, wasteful, and purely partisan political malfeasance. Someone, for example, should have the authority to tell Issa to stop wasting our time and money. Or tell Boehner that another vote against Obamacare should not be allowed. Waiting for the next election, which may or may not bring about an end to such frivolous nonsense, is not a useful solution.

I realize how profoundly na├»ve this may be, but perhaps we could have a “Commission to Protect Democracy” (the CPD), vested with such authority. This assumes, of course, that we could as a nation agree on just how it is we want our democratic process to work, and then we could elect a number of responsible bipartisan members who would police the process so that our politicians could not willfully and irresponsibly violate those principles. There is no doubt that Republicans in the last few years have done everything they could to circumvent what most of us believe in the democratic process (like the right to vote, for example). Of course we would have to agree, first, precisely how the system should operate, and second, find a suitable number of individuals trustworthy enough to enforce the rules. I guess the death penalty for violations might be a bit extreme, but how about immediate removal from office, massive fines, public humiliations, maybe a week in old-fashioned stocks. Tar and feathering, riding people out of town on rails, might also be too difficult, but I bet it would work. Somehow the thought of seeing Cheney, Rumsfeld, Issa, Boehner, Palin, Bachmann, and others of that ilk being suitably chastised is comforting. Having made a mockery of our democracy they would fully deserve it.



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