Monday, January 25, 2010

Why Does Orrin Hatch Get to Decide My Life in California?

Okay, so this solution presented by GOOD magazine is a little far-fetched in terms of real possible solution, but the fact is, like California's state government, our national legislative branch is pretty messed up.

Our government has pretty much been set up so that it is impossible to get anything done. True, this was initially created out of a fear of tyranny and corruption but let's face it, people get creative and have found ways to bring both into our government.

Our legislative set-up was intentionally designed to make change happen at a glacially slow pace. There is prudence in this. It ensures that legislation is carefully scrutinized before it is passed, however, it is a system that does not work for a nation in the 21st Century that deals with crises far more pressing and fast-developing than our agrarian forefathers had to contend with.

What's even worse, is our current system has developed to such a state, that anyone with a gripe can bring a piece of legislation to a grinding halt. Anyone. From any small state, from any obscure interest group. Part of it is the gross disparities in representation in the Senate, but another huge problem is the strong voice of corporate interest groups and lobbyists in the legislative process.

America is unquestionably in dire straits. Our current legislative process is ill-equipped to respond to the problems that threaten our economy, security, ecology, and standard of living.

I believe in the power of human ingenuity in a crisis, but I wonder if our present system is just too slow to be able to innovate itself into something that will work. I am curious to see if there is a solution, what form it will actually take, because one thing is for sure--the current system isn't working.


Logan said...

The problem I see is that neither party is willing to make sweeping changes to the structure and processes via law or Constitutional amendment, as long as said party is in the minority. The Republicans in no way would allow the Dems to make structural changes that might benefit the Dems in the short-term, *even if* the changes could also benefit the Republicans in the future. The same is true of the Dems and many of the changes they opposed during Bush years. Unless one party is willing to accept that these are long-term procedural problems left over from a different, more slow-paced era, and that changing them requires looking off into the distance of 50, 100, 150+ years, and not just the near future political benefit to the majority party, then nothing will change.

John Quintana said...

I agree completely. This has long been the problem with our politicians. Well...people, in general, have a propensity for short-sightedness when it comes to power and money.