It ought to be obvious to anyone paying attention to U.S. Politics that the governance process has stopped working. The public rating of Congress has sunk to its lowest rating ever at 9%. Republicans and Democrats cannot even talk with one another much less negotiate their differences. As a result the nation festers like an unattended cut with no leadership, no compromise, no plans and no progress. Congress even cut its so-called work days to just over 140 per year. Many of those are half-days or just a few hours. Pathetic.
So what is wrong? I suggest that intransigent ideological differences have paralyzed our government and our entire nation to such a crippled state that it no longer functions to the benefit of The People.
For example, who could have envisioned the most powerful nation in history paralyzed over whether health care ought to be regulated? Seriously, that! No, not whether there ought to be a right to universal health care for the citizens, but whether health care provisions ought to be equitable in all policies offered to The People.
There are no ideas being debated in Congress. No discussions about job creation, infrastructure engineering and repair, high-speed rail construction, urban restoration, green energy initiatives or education reform. None of that. Just partisan bickering over minutia- gotcha stuff- schoolyard nastiness among adults who appear to resemble adolescents.
And it worsens as the months and years go by. Historians note that this situation resembles the so-called ‘do nothing Congress’ under President Truman in the late 40’s. The social progress legislation passed during the FDR administration and refreshed by Truman languished during the 80th Congress and many bills died of lack of interest [by the Republican controlled House]. Not surprisingly, while legislation for The People languished during that period, business interests were rewarded.
The tidal sweep that brought the GOP to power during this legislative session washed them away in the next. The People understood and watched the actions of their representatives much more closely than today. Big campaign money from corporate America and other special interests was not as widespread as it is today [ref. Supreme Court]. Further, during that era, congressional districts were not drawn as severely partisan as they are today and, as a result, House district swings are rare today.
It seems, therefore, that we are stuck. Stuck with another do nothing Congress. Partisan bickering and dead end legislation. Further, the ‘remedy’ that worked in 1949- elections- is rendered fairly useless through gerrymandering. That and the Citizens United SCOTUS decision inhibits the kind of sweep The People rendered some 6 decades ago. Stuck in a bad place and time.