Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Purple Thoughts

Tigerhawk has a lot of discussion on proposed changes to the filibuster rule. He seems to hold a somewhat middling position that the filibuster is being abused by the Democrats. He warns, however, that it may actually serve a purpose that the Republicans could, some day, regret losing. He also thinks that it should be harder to use the filibuster, which I’m not sure I disagree with. There should be some cost for being disagreeable.

It is my belief that the Congress should be forced to negotiate around the middle of these contentious issues. That’s what the filibuster is for. I’ll go so far as to say that compromise over slavery was absolutely necessary in the beginning of the Republic. No one today believes that it was a good institution of itself, but the South was not going to change. If we had forced the issue one way or the other, the Union would never have held. Should we have insisted at the cost of the Union? It is conceivable that slavery would still exist in the South if we had forced the issue any earlier. It was only the industrialization and population of the North that made it possible to enforce the solution. I suppose it could have gone the other way as well. There’s nothing about history that says it has to go a certain way, but I believe in the righteous power of creative consensus.

There are today issues equally contentious to some parties. Rather than jockey for position and sacrifice the Protocols of American politics, we should desperately seek to find consensus on every aspect of the problem that is amenable to any degree of objectivity.

We can reason together. We can barter. We can deal. For instance, we could agree to allow unrestricted stem cell research in exchange, all cards on the table, for prohibition of third trimester abortion. We could agree to drilling in Anwar in exchange for raising the CAFE standards. Or, we could agree to not drilling in Anwar and raising the CAFE standards in exchange for allowing nuclear power development.

Any aspects of the political system that work against this kind of brass tacks negotiation should be identified and cured. Any aspects of the system that allow one group to steamroll another should be recognized and resisted to the limits of our ability. Make democracy work.

5/4/2005 11:14 PM

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