Filibusters: Political Twerking
Since the implementation of the “silent filibuster” (allows Senators to fiat the idea that they would speak for ever), filibusters have become a juggernaut tactic to halt legislation. Now, filibusters are used as jokes.
The reasoning is simple: Filibusters no longer serve as a means of discussing legislation.
What the hell is our politics coming to when Senators feel it is acceptable to read a child’s book on the floor of the Senate? The filibuster was once a strategic tool to discuss legislation and improve a proposed bill. Now, we have senators akin to Ted Cruz who find it appropriate to recite Green Eggs and Ham. I am positive Doctor Seuss would be as disgraced with our politicians as many of us our today.
It is no mystery that the filibuster has lost its intended purpose. From the “Silent Filibuster” to Ted Cruz’s story time readings, the western model of government is losing credibility—it is a joke. But who are we to complain? After all, WE elected them into office (great job, Texas).
All of the mockery put aside, how is it possible that something as corrupt as the filibuster is constitutional? This brings up a particular question; is the filibuster even in the constitution?
Nowhere in the constitution does it explicitly state anything about the filibuster, nor the act of filibustering. So does that mean it is unconstitutional? Aaron Burr, Vice President to John Adams, can be blamed for this confusion. As President of the Senate, Burr removed cloture, deeming it unnecessary, leaving an open spot for the filibuster in the “unwritten constitution”. Although it is not written verbatim in the Constitution, it has been adapted into our structure of government. This can also be seen in the emergence of a two party system as well as the cabinet.
If I recall, the Constitution does not directly include an Air Force, so does that mean the United States Air force is unconstitutional as well? The Founding Fathers were aware of issues like this, which is why Article I, § 8, establishes that Congress has the power to “raise and support Armies”. So the answer is, yeah, the filibuster is constitutional; it’s just being exploited.
And if you think it couldn’t get any more corrupt, it does. In fact, this process was too strenuous; hence the birth of the Silent filibuster. Now, Senators simply fiat the idea of talking for infinity. The way I see it, they should be required to put in some effort. The notion that one can halt an entire bill because they say they will talk forever is absurd.
Not only is Cruz giving a bad name for himself, he is tarnishing diplomacy, moreover the democratic process our nation prides itself upon. His political stunt is parallel to celebrity Miley Cyrus’s unwarranted gestures—a nation utterly embarrassed.
Featured image courtesy of [Zennie Abraham via Flickr]