Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Dysfunctional Government

Is the Constitution of the United States beyond its sell by date? Americans are educated to believe that ours is the best document of its kind ever written. It has been adaptable to change and at the same time sustained our stability so that the United States of America was able to become the most powerful country in the world.

The document was written within a great context of compromise. A belief that there needed to be a foundation upon which 13 very different and sometimes disparate states could agree to be 'one among many': E pluribus unum. The document is a testament to the complexity of simplicity. It is also an example of the over-riding desire of the Founding Fathers to correct the inequities of English parliamentary government. It's success at this is the Constitution's strength and its weakness. So intent were its authors to limit the power of government that it has encouraged the ability of opposition parties to overcome the wishes of the majority as a policy for regaining power.

Within the framework of the Constitution there are mechanisms present to correct its inadequacies. I believe it is time to seriously consider extending the period members of the House of Representatives are elected to serve. I believe it is also time to consider extending the length of a Presidential term to at least 5 years. Another consideration should be whether it is advisable to relect the entire House in one election. I don't have an opinion on that, but think it should be questioned and debated. And fillibustering is not democratic no matter which party is doing it. It enables the will of the majority to be circumvented and stymied; it can make and has made a government by the people and for the people impossible to achieve.

It is not healthy for the country to be thrust into political maneuvering and posturing so soon and so often that the business of governning becomes impossible. In the 21st Century it is a fact that constant media speculation about future elections does not encourage positive government. It is a great inhibitor, a negative influence that harms the nation and discourages its people.

There have always been charlatans in the halls of power. Whatever amendments may made to our Constitution these charlatans will still be found trying to bend the powers that be to their will. But I believe that by giving our legislators more room to breath we will enable government to be more reflective as well as effective.

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