Thoughts on the Filibuster and Bigotry

Posted in Politics and Justice by EloiSVM42 on March 18, 2021

I have gone back and forth over this issue for years, but I am now convinced that the filibuster has got to go for the good of democracy, against which it has been used egregiously. The filibuster is undemocratic, it is wrong in its practice and it’s wrong in its intent.

It’s undemocratic, because it thwarts majority rule – 50% plus 1, which is the basic definition of democracy. We are obliged to respect the views of the minority, but the filibuster lets the minority mock the majority’s will.

It is wrong in practice because until recently, the filibuster used to be quite rare, and difficult to execute (think Mr. Smith Goes to Washington). Now they occur frequently and with no difficulty for the filibusterer whatsoever. One senator says he or she filibusters without doing anything else and that’s it.

It is wrong in intent, because Southern Senators used to use it for the purpose of denying civil and voting rights to blacks, an odious practice. Today, it’s used by Republicans to obstruct anything and everything Democrats propose, even if the idea was first proposed by Republicans and may be popular with voters.

The filibuster is also a way for the Senate to avoid doing anything, which is pretty much what it has been doing for the last two decades. It’s a terrible way to run a government.

Democrats must do away with it, or they are not going to be able to get anything more done. Moscow Mitch has made it clear he is going to obstruct everything unless this knot is tied in his tail.

In the alternative, we might return to the earlier filibuster requirements. Make the Senator who wants to filibuster stand in the chamber and hold the floor by talking as long as he or she can. And make a quorum of other Senators sit there and listen. See how many filibusters there are then and how long they last. I’ll take the under on a day.

And while I’m on the subject of obstruction, how about that pig part Senator from Wisconsin, Ron Johnson, demanding the entire relief bill to be read on the Senate floor. Actually, I think it’s a good thing for Senators actually to read the things they vote for or against, but the practical result of this stall was to have aids read the bill to an all but empty chamber. Make the other senators have to stay in the chamber and listen.  

The Greater Bigot Theory: All this voter suppression legislation and filibustering begs the question who the biggest bigot in politics is. There are countless worthy candidates. Trump is a card-carrying bigot. Ditto Cruz and Hawley. Can’t forget Gohmert and Biggs. Moscow Mitch is a prime candidate.

But by my lights, the worst bigot by far is John Roberts. He is the one who gutted the voting rights bill on the disingenuous grounds that Southern states don’t really engage in voter suppression anymore so voting rights protections are not needed. The moment these protections were removed, offending states immediately returned to doing it, and a number of states joined in. As I write this, 43 states are introducing voter suppression laws.

So, the man who has don’t more to deny blacks their civil and voting rights since (insert name of your least favorite Southern bigot Senator here), is the Chief Justice of our Supreme Court. Kind of makes you proud of our democracy, doesn’t it?

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