Civics 101 — emergency edition

My host had a major malfunction a few days ago, so I am reposting this to be sure my latest edits are in it.

How laws are made

President or congressman proposes a bill.

  • The bill is debated in congress.
  • It may be amended.
  • It is put to a vote. If it wins a majority vote in the House and the Senate, it is sent to the President for his or her signature.
  • If the president signs the bill, it becomes law. If the president vetoes it, Congress can try again or drop it altogether.

The basis of American democracy is majority rule. If a majority of Congress and the President approve a bill, it becomes the law of the land.

Laws can be changed, amended or revoked by future Congresses. The process is the same as above. This system has worked very well for the last two centuries (except for that one little glitch in the 1860s).

How laws are not made

  • A minority of Congressmen demands a law be revoked, amended, or created, as the case may be.
  • They obstruct necessary legislation until their demands are met.
  • The nation grinds to a halt.

Note that this behavior is contrary to majority rule, and violates another cornerstone of American government — compromise. In that sense, it lies outside constitutional law and democratic tradition. It is inherently anti-democratic.

A minority of voters or Congressmen do not get to call the shots. The President or the majority cannot give in to their demands. To do so would set a precedent, so that any other minority group could also hold the government hostage. At that point, we may as well throw out the Constitution.

Let’s be absolutely clear. The current impasse, and impending default, results from a minority of Representatives and Senators refusing to accept that a bill (the Affordable Care Act) was passed into law by a previous Congress. Rather than follow the traditional system of compromise and amendment, they are demanding the entire law be thrown out, as if it never existed.

Not only that, they are now demanding that their pet legislative “reforms” be accepted, or else.

Every one of these Senators and Representatives swore an oath to uphold the Constitution of the USA. They are ignoring the Constitution, and therefore violating that oath.

Remember this at election time.

T’row da bums out!

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