Democracy is not enough

Democracy as a goal of a new government or an existing one is insufficient. The balance of powers of the American system is what is important for a well functioning government.

With a simple democracy, even if everything were to be decided with a vote, the majority can trample on the rights of minorities it doesn't agree with. The Bill of Rights in our Constitution is what protects individuals and minorities from the oppression of the state and the majority. The enforcement of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution is left to the Supreme Court. Without the ability of the Supreme Court to reign in the President and the Congress, individual rights may not be protected.

Given that a piece of legislation is constitutional, it should be given the chance of passage without undue interference with the Democratic process. There are problems in both the House and the Senate with getting that process to work effectively. In the Senate is the filibuster. The Senate is already biased toward small states and then to add a requirement to get 60 votes for all major legislation as has been the case recently instead of a simple majority is counterproductive. A filibuster should be a rare occurrence and should be carried out in the traditional manner of extended speaking on a subject instead of using a procedural shortcut. If it is overused or abused as it has been recently it should be eliminated.

An issue with the House and the Senate is the policy of not allowing a vote if the majority party does not have a majority that supports the legislation. This is a ridiculous and outrageous policy for a democratic system. It should not even be considered a democracy if a vote cannot be taken on an issue because one man or one party disagrees with the possible outcome.

The people have elected individual, autonomous representatives to decide on legislation and they should be permitted to vote without interference from the majority party or one of its leaders. If an issue has the support of some of the majority party as well as some from minority parties and has enough votes to pass, that is the very definition of Democracy. It should be based on one man, one vote, not majority party rule.

A lawsuit should be initiated to challenge the constitutionality of not permitting a vote unless the majority party agrees with a piece of legislation.

2014 David Nation

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