yeah, i've been thinking about The Handmaid's Tale quite a lot lately, myself. :\
Thus are they proving Heinlein correct when he said:
"It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics."
Yeah, he was right about that one.
This is not making me happy.
I have no love for the fillibuster. I realize it's an established and cherished part of your law making process, but it's ridiculous. If everybody is always so concerned with politicians wasting taxpayer's monies, I don't see how one can justify the right to waste the entire senate's time by reciting recipes, or Dr. Seuss ad nauseum.
The filibuster is like giving a veto to the minority to overule the majority in the senate. No matter how offensive the minority may find those laws being passed to be, it is counterproductive to the legeslative process to allow fillibusters to occur.
I've always considered the entire concept of it idiotic.
Majority rule and minority rights. No matter what the majority wants, if it goes against minority rights, the minority has to have some way of standing up for themselves. If they remove the right to filibuster, what's next? Maybe they'll remove the right for any party to exist but the party of the majority which right now is Republicans. That's a fascism. Now I don't approve of somebody reciting recipes, because that seems a bit over the top.. but how many senators filibustering do that? The story was looking for a sensational story of filibustering to engage the reader, not to give an example of the most likely yawn-inducing filibusters that go on more commonly.
I don't think many men would get why The Handmaid's Tale affects women so deeply when they read it and then take a look at what's going on in the US today. I don't think it'd ever get that bad, since that was a book exaggerated to get you to pay attention. But somehow when I talk to and think about these ultra conservative fundamentalists I can't help but think that the world in that book is the kind they envision.
There is a very serious question in our culture about whether the government has the right to legislate what you can and can't do with your own body. Our government was not designed to tell us what we can and can't do with our own bodies, only what we can't do to others who don't consent to it like stealing, killing, etc.
There are laws that legislate such things - the victimless crimes laws like prositution and drug laws - but they are public policy laws that deal with the physical effect that such behaviors can have on a neighborhood and such, not just because of the moral reasons for their prohibition.
These people regard homosexuality and non-Christian morality in the same category. That's the scary part.
So if it's only 4, why is it such a terrible misuse? Obviously it was used judiciously.
I think you are wrong. Plain and simple. I think the ability to block a judge whose agenda is undoing civil rights is important.
It's scary how dark the country is getting.
I wonder what statistics the Ministry of Truth looks at when they shout about "economic recovery"? It sure can't be the job creations stats.
It might be my over-cynical side speaking up, but I'm beginning to be afraid it might be too late to effect any sort of real change.
I need to re-read "1984" and "The Handmaid's Tale".
I don't think the filibuster rule should be removed, but I don't exactly agree with your reasoning. My reasoning is more like "removing checks and balances is a very bad thing." If a judge performs his/her job based on political/religious ideology, rather than the Constitution, then absolutely that judge should be removed. Unfortunately, once a judge is put in place, it's a lifetime appointment. I would strongly support limited terms for judges, over removal of filibuster.
The right to debate was never meant to be a tool to completely halt the legeslative process. Introduce a new tool that better serves such a purpose if that is needed.
Put much more clearly and succinctly. Thank you.
2004-12-03 10:20 pm (UTC)
we would need a full-scale revolution to balance out the last twenty years.
2004-12-03 10:19 pm (UTC)
2004-12-03 10:29 pm (UTC)
One of the issues that energized the Republican base to come out and vote is this very issue. Their voters told them to get this problem solved.
It was well reported and understood that giving the Republicans a bigger majority would increase the chances of more conservative judges being added. The Republicans were given a bigger majority.
I expect and demand that they take action to get more conservative judges into the system. They're appealing to me, a supporter, when they do this and people like me are important to them.
The process of appointment (usually with one or more legal association recommending the candidate), the debate in the committee, and the actual debate on the Senate floor all should be able to weed out true problem judges.
The simple fact is that the Democrats lost even more ground this election. I feel for you in that there will be judges appointed that you do not agree with. However, I've had equal and opposite feelings on judges that were not appointed or were appointed that I didn't agree with when Clinton was in power.
I certainly do not buy into your slippery slope and comparison to fascism approach.
I have no objection to conservatism - true conservatism, which respects precedent and moves slowly and thoughtfully. I am scared to death of reactionary rulings that strip away rights people have come to take for granted. I am scared of a return to sodomy laws and to the overturn of Roe, just to mention two.
I agree that there is a backlash against liberal judicial activism. But the Supreme Court is, in my opinion, balanced now. I don't think it will be in a few years. I think that the Christian Fundamentalist agenda is going to have a field day.
And I think it's shortsighted of the Republicans to suppose that they will never be in a position to need a filibuster again.
The term sacrosanct hits close to home, since I'm currently taking a Fall of the Roman Republic course right now. Making cloture a simple majority would be a bad idea simply because it will make it'll make legislation pass too quickly.
I'm not sure exactly what is "evil" about this.
I found the editorial misleading. It seemed to be designed to give the reader the impression that the Republicans are trying to completely eliminate the filibuster. At some point it acknowledged that in fact they were only trying to make it so it couldn't be used for judicial appointments, but that fact was kind of hidden.
I don't have a problem with a simple majority vote being all that is required to confirm a judge. The fact that Republicans might suffer from it one day doesn't bother me. Republicans have done a pretty lousy job of preventing liberal judges from getting on the Supreme Court anyway (hell two of the current "liberal" judges were appointed by Republicans!).
As a compromise I would also suggest we term-limit judges. And someone tell Rehnquist to resign already so we can get Scalia installed as Chief Justice! [ducking & running] ;-)
I think the real point here, lost in the minute observation of filibuster itself, is that the party currently in power is trying to remove that which may stand in the way of doing things exactly the way they want to. They seem to want to ignore that this was an extremely close election which means that the so-called minority is still incredibly numerous.
And if the main problem people have with the filibuster is that it wastes time, then I have a very simple solution - instead of chucking it out entirely, limit it to actual debate about the subject at hand. Then it can continue to be a check on the power of the majority while not being a waste of time.
Every time Bush pulls this kind of crap I always think of that book, too.
Not long ago I saw a 'Bush, stay out of mine!' t-shirt, but I never got to ask the lady where she got it from.