To the editor:
The current political situation is distressing at best, particularly at the national level. Mainstream Republicans strongly want reforms, while left-leaning Democrats desperately want to prevent them. The parties have switched roles: the progressives wanting change are now Republicans, the conservatives are Democrats. Call them the Doers versus the Obstructocrats.
Obstructocrats want nothing else than to stop any and all progress by Republicans. Donald Trump, their perceived demon, should be stopped at any cost, rendered ineffective, even destroying his presidency. Never mind it hurts our country.
Obstruction takes many forms – leaking potentially damaging information to the press, blocking maneuvers in Congress, false narratives and news perpetuated by the media and partisan court judges who have decided court cases against the government without taking the actual law into consideration.
So, I’d like to see some changes.
For the federal government employees who leak sensitive information, I’d like to see them caught, prosecuted and imprisoned. The minimum sentence, I believe, would be five years. Edward Snowden should be prosecuted and receive the maximum penalty. The United States can still employ capital punishment. It’s been rarely applied, but it’s in law for treason and some other crimes.
I’d like to see federal sedition laws enforced. I believe those laws could be used to prosecute state officials who refuse to follow federal immigration law, particularly when they instruct sheriffs and police to ignore those laws.
I’d like to see new laws concerning protests – ban the wearing of masks, crossing state lines to join a protest or paying someone to protest for you. This topic deserves a separate letter.
There are changes I’d like to see in Congress. Eliminate Senate confirmation for all but prospective cabinet members and judges. The obstruction by Democratic senators has prevented Trump from completing his cabinet, and I understand there are more than 3,000 lesser officials to be confirmed. I don’t believe the openings will ever be totally filled in Donald’s first term.
The House and Senate operate under archaic rules, some of which I’d like to see changed. The first is debate. The House has 435 members, the Senate 100, yet each body has only one podium and one microphone. Only one person can speak at a time, and the others, if in the chamber, must listen. I can’t imagine the pain that must inflict on the listener. To listen to Nancy Pelosi, in my view a total partisan hack, give her views on any subject whatever would be my idea of hell. Debate is intended to persuade but is generally only political posturing.
The British have worked out a better system in their Commons. They have an exciting format in which their speeches are limited and are to the point. Members bounce up and down, make short comments, are booed or cheered, and then another guy takes the floor.
With that form of debate, and a shorter time spent on debating any bill, Congress could be far more efficient.
The House and Senate should be able to work with much less debate. Each legislator has a staff who can read the bills for the member, do research and help him or her reach a decision. Also, the Congress should be engineered to improve multi-tasking. The real work is done in committees anyway. Reducing debate would allow them to get more work done.
In the House, they can’t get to tax reform and the budget until they finish with repealing and replacing Obamacare. That’s ridiculous in my view.
We desperately need term limits to eliminate dinosaurs like John McCain, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, Elijah Cummings and Chuck Schumer. None of those professional politicians have had a fresh idea in any of their last three or four terms.