What has America been doing of late? It is still a fairly young country that is trying to find its place in the world, although some would say it already has, however, others still would argue that it definitely has not. One such political thinker, James A. Morone, tells of an America that is quite weak because it refuses to let go of what he calls “the Democratic Wish.”
THE DEMOCRATIC WISH
PHASE 1: Chaos or unrest within a political system or state.
PHASE 2: A revolution of the people by the people.
PHASE 3: A new political system or policy is instituted.
PHASE 4: More government and a return to PHASE 1.
In a way, Morone brings out the irony of the political system in the United States. We as Americans have this ideal of how our government should operate and when it starts to operate against that ideal we hold a revolution. Now, this does not mean that it is a revolution that consists of war, that is, tears of blood and gun powder, but rather a revolution of words and marches. But in every instance there are individuals who get hurt. Those individuals are those on the losing side. Should we feel pity for them? Many would jump to the conclusion and say we shouldn’t because their fall led to our betterment as a nation.
But that’s the irony of our political system. It is what makes us a weak state. We have winners and losers. There is no communitarian approach as Morone would propose, in the sense of the people gathering together and actively participating in their society in a civic manner, so that the people are moving as one. But it is because we are not civically engaged that there are winners or losers, in fact that is the only time we become engaged. Morone would move to say that this is what makes us weak. Of course this is an outside of the box interpretation that I took from his writing when he explained the Democratic Wish.
Now after making this judgment Morone does not leave the United States in the middle of nowhere. He proposes a few…well…let’s just call them INTERESTING changes to our political system. The largest, and in my opinion the most frightening, can be found page 335 of his work known as The Democratic Wish – We must start “by dismantling some of the checks and balances that have accumulated within the political process.”
Now your immediate thought may be similar to mine. He has lost his mind in studying the history of the United States. I mean to get rid of our checks and balances (even the ones that seem almost miniscule) would completely dismantle everything we as Americans have strived for, and our Constitution! But if we look further into the argument, I can settle that Morone is right about the dismantling of our bureaucratic state. In other words, the bureaucracy that we have created for ourselves, such as the rules of the Senate or the constant additions to and revisions of our tax codes.
But, just because I settle in terms of understanding what he says and seeing the possibility of it coming into fruition, that does not mean I agree. I fear that it will further our process of winners and losers and that there will be even more losers than winners and we will end up in a very destructive cycle. Take the filibuster rule for example. The Democrats of the Senate have destroyed the filibuster, thus preventing the Republicans of the Senate from blocking the legislation that the Democrats wish to put through. Granted the filibuster rule has been misused by both sides, but it was there for a reason. To make the other side hear what an important percentage of the country feels about such legislation. Once the Republicans take power it will happen to the Democrats to. Changes such as this prevent the minority from having any say, and allows the tyranny of the majority to occur. My point is while it is a good thought because things can now move forward for the betterment of the country without being stalled by a filibuster, it can easily become an abuse of power and will hurt the losing side even more than before. Imagine if a civil right was up for discussion and a minority of the Senate was fighting for it, but they could not be heard or even make their case because the filibuster, and a very long standing American political tradition, has been taken out of the equation. What will we have then? Violence in the streets? Another Civil War? More Death?
Granted these are the most extreme of cases, but my point is this: our political system may not be the prettiest of systems, but we have it set up the way it is to provide democracy for equality, not just the majority or the minority.
Morone could be right, there is more than this one thing he proposed, but on this particular matter of checks and balances I say we will go from being weak to enveloping ruin. Therefore I will end by setting this challenge for the people of the United States: continue researching and thinking together, and who knows maybe with all of these light bulbs going off in our heads and in a way powering our country (see above photo) we may find the solution, together.