By: Michael Nunes
Anytime you have a U.S Senator reading Dr. Seuss during a day-long talk-a-thon in Congress, something is seriously wrong.
When Ted Cruz delivered his now infamous 21-hour filibuster against the Affordable Care Act, it was eye-opening. It is not often a speech references Nazism, the Baatan Death March and Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham.”
It is true that government shutdowns have happened in the past, but they are a constant reminder of a political system in shambles. This time around, it is much more noticeable how far apart Democrats and Republicans are.
Congress has abandoned what had once made it great for hundreds of years: the ability to compromise and find middle ground on hot-button issues.
I mean, how long were we able to delay the inevitable Civil War because of compromises between slave states and free states? How could our founding fathers create a constitution that saw that each state had fair representation without being able to find middle ground?
Could you imagine if the founding fathers acted the way our 21st century Congressmen did?
The Connecticut Compromise, which created our House and Senate, wouldn’t have happened. Instead you would have delegates from larger states, like Virginia, demanding to have more sway in government while smaller states like New Jersey would end up filibustering the whole preceding talking about how their opposition are filthy royalists who hate freedom and want to take your muskets away.
Ben Franklin would be caught mailing pictures of himself in his pantaloons sent to every unmarried women in Philadelphia.
Aarron Burr would have shot Alexander Hamilton over something as minuscule as political differences. On second thought, maybe our congressmen are not so different after all, but at least back then they were able to come to an agreement on serious issues.
You might ask yourself reading this, “Why don’t we just elect new congressmen to replace the bad ones?” Great idea — if that ever happened.
Congress is hovering around a 10 percent approval rating. To put that into prospective, 30 percent of Americans, according to CNN, approved of American involvement in Syria. Meaning more people were in favor of going to war than in favor of the branch of government that decides whether we go to war.
Now, if Congress’s approval rating is so low, how is its retention rate so high? In 2012, 90 percent of congressmen kept their seats, according to OpenSecrets.org. This is not how a democracy is supposed to work. We are supposed to give Congressmen who don’t serve our interests the boot and elect new representatives.
Clearly the American political system has seen better days. With hundreds of thousands of federal workers out of a job, national parks and monuments closed and important government funding cut for government social programs, we could clearly see our political house lies in tatters. The question is: Could we sew it back together?