Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Mr. Smith Should Go Back To Washington

            Who can forget the scene? Jimmy Stewart, his hair askew, his tie crooked, his face slicked with sweat, speaks passionately about the lack of integrity in American politics. 

            We don’t have Jimmy Stewart anymore, but the spirit of Mr. Smith lives on in America, it’s just so hard to find him because he doesn’t have to give a speech anymore. He need only shrug and say no. Nobody has to listen to him give his reasons why. Nobody has to sit through his thoughts on the American experiment, or his rationalization for holding up the business of the Senate, because the filibuster no longer requires objections to be voiced on the Senate floor. It all happens behind the scenes, out of view of the American public, so whatever deals are cut, whatever favors bargained for, are all negotiated in secret.

            If senators are so attached to the filibuster surely they would support bringing back the rule that a speaker must hold the floor in order to execute it. A speaker blocks the vote by speaking. It would be inconvenient, and tiring, and very hard work, certainly, but if the minority really wants to obstruct what the majority of Americans have voted for, they should have to work for it. And if their reasons are sound for blocking a piece of legislation, and they feel so strongly about it, they should have no problem holding the senate floor to speak about it, for however long it takes.

            And the American people should be able to see the process, rather than having to be satisfied with a shrug, and a secret phone call as another year goes by with our government accomplishing nothing.

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