Recent Compromise on Filibusters Damaged an American Tradition

The recent compromise on the possible filibuster of at least one of Bush’s judicial nominees has been hailed by many as a great sign of bipartisanship and Senate cooperation. The same people that appeared to be ready to bite each others heads off one morning, ended the day locked in arms, almost as best friends. The stage was set for what could have been a very exciting week- a week unlike almost any other in Senate history- a week without the predictable motions, votes, and floor speeches. The week could have been an exciting one- a week that could have brought so many apathetic citizens to their television sets to watch the historical proceedings. The Senate would have been in an uproar, and possibly, the chamber may have been empty of Senators- the few that would have remained on the floor being tied up behind closed doors in meetings with their fellow Senators, debating about what they would do next.

Perhaps what would have been most exciting of all would be to see how our Democracy can really work; that our government can run itself through in times of turmoil, not only times of banal motions and predictable debate. The Great Constitution could have been our savior once again- leading our nation to the solutions we so desperately need. The fact that the 14 Senators who made this deal did not let our government go through the period of trial to reach its true potential of greatness by displaying to us the method by which a real government ought to run, and decide issues on, demonstrates that perhaps our leaders are not thinking in the best interests of our Constitution; that maybe they believe the Constitution would be unable to deliver us through this era, and is perhaps inadequate as a guide to how our nation should be run.

The filibuster and its purpose are well known by now to all who have even picked up a newspaper in the last few weeks. Its necessity is great, and the willingness of Republicans, and Democrats, for that matter, to dismantle it, is unnerving and concerning. The procedures of our government should not be a political issue- one that could bring about major changes in the system simply as a result of one issue being impacted by its existence, or the mere threat of it’s use, namely in this situation, the issue of judicial nominees. The traditions of our government are sacred institutions- each and every one of them, and to create a “compromise” between two parties to eliminate this tradition on the basis of political expediency and convenience is wrong- both morally, and Constitutionally.

We may not know now if this argument is valid; maybe it is not- maybe it is simply formed on the basis of naÃ?¯vetÃ?© or the passion and belief system that is a trademark of youth and patriotic ideology. However, a hundred years from now, citizens of our nation may look back at this day and tell over the story of America’s second “Great Compromise”. People may think back and realize how foolish we were to give up one of the great traditions of Senate history- especially a measure that protected the minority in this country, a demographic whose voices are heard but rarely followed. Maybe they will see the way our nation was governed for the hundred years after this compromise, and curse their ancestors who smiled foolishly at television cameras around the world, telling people that this was a great event in our nation’s history. Maybe they are right, though. Maybe this compromise was great. And not in the sense of the original Great Compromise either; rather, it’s “greatness” may be tantamount with that of the “Great” Depression.

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