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Politics & Power

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Hopes of a Rubber Stamp Congress Dashed

In Georgia the runoff between incumbent Saxby Chambliss and Jim Martin is over and with the defeat of Democrat Martin the Republicans have ensured that regardless of the result in Minnesota, the Democrats will not have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. While Democrats see this as a defeat, the American people may be better served by this result. The filibuster is constitutional insurance against the majority running roughshod over the minority ensuring the need for compromise in government.

One of the biggest dangers our founding fathers saw in the formation of our government was that of factionalism and the possibility of one faction getting an unbreakable hold on power. History has shown that their concerns had merit. When Adolf Hitler took power in Germany it was through the democratic process. As his faction grew stronger and pushed out the other factions the government became more totalitarian and eventually became the monstrosity that killed six million Jewish civilians and left a bloody path through Europe in World War II. One faction or ideology gaining absolute control of any government is not good for the long term health and security of the nation in question. It often is quite the opposite case and leads to the destruction of the nation.

During the first six years of the outgoing administration the ruling Party had a virtual lock on control of all three branches of government. As we come to the end of that administration we are reaping the benefits of one-sided government. Policies that favored the wealthy over the workers and put immediate gains over long term economic stability have left us in what may likely end up being the deepest recession this country has known since the 1930ís.

Checks and balances are needed for any democracy to thrive. The filibuster is one such check that keeps the majority from making decisions that disenfranchise people of differing viewpoints. While the election of Chambliss will likely make it harder for Democrats to push through their agenda, it will also mean that Republicans will have a seat at the table and at least have a chance to be heard. Despite their poor stewardship of the economy from 2001 to 2006 Republicans still deserve to have some say in the process of fixing the mess. Democrats are not without blame for the problems and should not be allowed to dictate without debate the solution. They will still have a strong majority but they will now have to have some cooperation to get things done. That will likely lead to things being done a little more even handedly than otherwise might have been the case.

Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer| Give your feedback on this article. | Click icon to Digg this article

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