Friday, October 07, 2011

I couldn't have said it better myself...

In what may seem a "dog bites man" story (i.e., not really earth-shattering news), the Washington Post recently reported that "Few Americans Think Congress is Doing a Good Job." In fact, just 14% do and even they aren't wildly enthusiastic. It's probably more accurate to say that "few Americans think that Congress is not doing an abysmal job."

That said, there is information associated with this article that advocates should know. The truth is that Congress is designed to be completely and totally inefficient. Not much is supposed to get done and, one might argue, legislators are doing an excellent job of that. I was very impressed by a comment in the article from a very wise citizen from Washington state:

“Congress is supposed to be a mess and all screwed up in times of transition, when you have one party in control of one chamber and the other in control of the other. It’s supposed to be a brawl,” said Eric Briggs, 40, a financial adviser from West Richland, Wash., who cheered the GOP’s fighting spirit. “But people just don’t want to hear fighting. They just want everyone to get along and for it to be happy and work out.”

I couldn't have said it better myself. And in an argument for promoting factions in the U.S. Congress, James Madison (one of our founding fathers and a really smart dude) said:

Liberty is to faction, what air is to fire, an ailment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be a less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.

I had to read that a bunch of times to understand what it said, but the gist is: without factions there would be no liberty, just like without air there would be no life. Even though it makes governing more difficult, we need to live with it if we're going to go with this whole "government by the people" thing.

So if you're frustrated with Congress, rest assured that you should be. The only solution is persistence!

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