Universal Translator

Friday, July 29, 2011

Yep. This is Very Weird. By Design

A few years ago I got into an online conversation with my former Constitutional Law professor. He is a good guy and I probably was too harsh in our conversation, but that is because he believes in our system of government and is almost incapable of recognizing that -- sometimes -- it breaks down. But even now that I am no longer his student and he is not required to put up with my kvetching, the man still took the time out to talk with me and argue me out of my default "Let's burn it down!" mindset. Like I said, a good man.

One of the things he recommended to me to help me make sense of what I was witnessing in the dark days of the Bush II administration is a book titled "Our Undemocratic Constitution," written by another constitutional law professor named Sanford Levinson. (My prof called him "Sandy," but I think that is only because my prof knows him; I won't take such liberties.)

I read the book and it did a good deal to show me how conservative is our system of governance. Not "conservative" in a system of values, but "conservative" in that our system was consciously designed not to let a lot of change happen. There are a lot of veto points in our system that allow a relatively small number of people to stop whatever is going on at the moment.

And I am sure that when the Founding Fathers crafted this document in the late 18th Century, that probably seemed like a good thing. I'm pretty sure I could not have come up with a better idea myself, and I've the advantage of two centuries of additional history to help me.

But now it looks as if a small group of people have seized one of our two political parties, which is bad. But that political party controls one of the two houses of Congress, which is worse. And even though the Congress is only one-third of our federal system, it is a necessary one-third.

Which means that our federal system of government depends on Congress, and the Congess depends on the House, and the House depends on its majority party, and right now that majority party is controlled by the Manson Family.

Can you spell "disaster"?

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