Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Silent Senate is Good For No One

While we'd hoped that the U.S. Senate, one of the most famous deliberative government bodies on Earth, would have at least shown the courage on Tuesday to DEBATE the Defense Authorization Bill, we were sadly proven wrong.

By filibustering the Defense Appropriations Bill in the way that Republicans did on Tuesday, Republicans - and Congress as a whole -  showed the world that the mere idea of even DISCUSSING an idea is enough to scare them into temporarily freezing all financial moves for the world's greatest military.

To make it clear: On Tuesday, a MINORITY - less than half - of the members of one of the most famous deliberative government bodies on Earth were cowed into inaction by an idea. Our Senators were SO afraid of even DISCUSSING the idea that some gay Americans want to serve their country in the military, that they were willing to put off for months the fiscal security of the world's greatest military.

The amendment on Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) included in the appropriations bill would NOT have immediately struck down DADT. Rather, it would have allowed the military to repeal DADT, WITHOUT further authorization from Congress, should the study commissioned by the Secretary of Defense and due this December, recommend repeal.

DADT isn't the only amendment in the Defense Appropriations Bill that was also blocked from discussion in Congress on Tuesday. The DREAM Act - which, like DADT is also favored by a majority of Americans - was also denied the chance to be debated by a minority of Senators, mostly Republicans. This, in spite of the fact that the current DREAM Act specifically assists military recruitment AND helps solve immigration issues, two things that politicians of ALL kinds claim to be in favor of.

The largest current problem with Congress isn't that just one party or the other has more seats. The problem is that instead of working together on issues that both sides agree need to be fixed, like DADT, hyper-partisans continue to hold the Senate - and Americans - hostage, with their arrogance and intransigence. Ideas that are common sense, that most sane Americans agree with, regardless of political affiliation, are no longer being given a forum in the primary American government body responsible for discussion. That, in itself, is a shameful indictment.

We shouldn't have to repeat it, but we will: the soul of effective government is compromise. If you choose to vote for candidates this Fall who agree with the stonewalling techniques of past Democratic and current Republican congressional members, it's not just the Senate that will continue to fail.
So will you.

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