(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
Our leaders have offered excuse after excuse to try to explain why they
won’t can’t pass social legislation. Not since the time of LBJ have they passed any social legislation of significance. Why could LBJ get such landmark legislation pushed through Congress as the following, and in such a very short time frame, while the Democratic majority of both Houses of Congress and a Democratic Administration is mired in self-inflicted gridlock? Here’s a reminder of what was accomplished in two short years a few decades ago (and these are just the really big ones–there were many more also passed, and worth a few minutes to check them out here : (all emphasis mine)
1964: Civil Rights Act of 1964 (plus many, many more socially beneficial laws)
Aid to Appalachia
Clean Air Water Pollution Control
High SpeChild Health
High Speed Transit
Community Health Services….etc, etc, etc.
Republicans politicians have subsequently made it their goal to reverse every single piece of social legislation enacted during those two years and before, and blocking any future attempts to enact more socially responsible legislation. Democrats have either passively stood back and allowed them to do so, or have actively assisted them in destroying as much social legislation as possible. While LBJ wasn’t the most likable guy in the world, and he made many mistakes (we know what they were), he did get that legislation passed. He wasn’t a “nice guy”, but he got the job done.
In 2008, the people had had enough. They gave the Democrats a clear majority in both Houses of Congress, and the White House. Instead of doing as they were elected to do, the Democrats have fought among themselves, have made multiple unnecessary concessions in the name of “bipartisanship” with their uber-partisan Republican colleagues, and have sacrificed principles (and the good of the people) for the sake of the lobbyists. The Republicans meanwhile continued to do what they do best–obstruct for the sake of obstruction.
It has been more than four decades since the Congress of the United States has been able to summon the will to pass a major piece of social legislation…
Significant healthcare reform is all but dead for this session, and the chances of substantively addressing the regulatory breakdown that allowed Wall Street’s irresponsible speculation to precipitate the worst global financial crisis since the Depression seem to recede with each passing day. So too the prospects for passage of further stimulus measures to remedy the crisis of unemployment and underemployment…”
The people continue telling the politicians they are not doing their jobs:
A Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey, for example, found that although 52% of the nation’s voters retain a favorable view of President Obama, only 38% have a similar appraisal of the Democratic Party. The Republicans fare even worse; just 30%, fewer than 1 in 3 voters, view the GOP favorably…
“A national Washington Post/ABC News poll found that just 24% of Americans, fewer than 1 in 4, trust congressional Republicans…The House and Senate Democrats didn’t fare all that better, and are trusted by just 32%. Forty-seven percent of those polled — still less than half — have confidence in Obama’s ability to make the right decisions…”
Well, Democratic and Republican politicians–if that isn’t a giant “No Confidence” vote from the people who elected you, what is? BTW, Democrats: If 24% of Americans view the Republicans favorably–why are you still bending over backwards to accommodate them, to the detriment of your constituents?
But, what is even more troubling about the politico’s lack of willingness to listen to their constituents is what their willful disdain for the people who elected them could mean to our democracy:
When people’s mistrust of their elected officials and the parties reaches these levels…… Discontent with the present and apprehension about the future have become the background noise of our politics, yet both sides of the congressional aisle seem deaf to the din….
In one of his magisterial explorations of German politics between the wars, the historian Ian Kershaw mused that “there are times — they mark the danger point for a political system — when politicians can no longer communicate, when they stop understanding the language of the people they are supposed to be representing.”
It would be reckless not to insist that this country and its politics remain, in crucial ways, far distant from Weimar. It would be rash, though, to pretend that the distance remains as great as it once was…“
Unfortunately, it seems that far too few of our politicians are able to step back from the kabuki theater of DC politics, and listen to their constituents. If they were wiser and had more integrity, they would listen, then they would make rational decisions and follow through with acts of principle for the good of the people. They would act with courage instead of cowardice. They would put the people before the politics. If they don’t begin to listen soon, the gap in the “distance between the Weimar republic” and our current Democracy could grow shorter and shorter. The problem is how do we make them listen and make them do it? The more troubling question is: Can we? Thoughts anyone?