Can you name the eminently qualified jurist who was nominated for high federal service, but was blocked from consideration by a US Senator for transparently partisan political gain? If you said Justice David Stras, you are correct. If you said Merrick Garland, you are also correct.
David Stras was nominated by Pres Trump to fill a seat on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, and has wide bi-partisan support, including that of Democrat Gov Mark Dayton. Despite this, the nomination has now been derailed by Sen Al Franken, not because Franken thinks he is bad at being a judge, but because he deems Stras to be too conservative.
Justice Merrick Garland was nominated by Pres Obama as associate justice of the US Supreme Court to replace Justice Scalia. He was widely recognized as a moderate centrist, and had the immediate support of Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, among others. His nomination was derailed before it began by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, who declared unequivocally that no nomination by Pres Obama would be considered by the GOP Senate. Sen McConnell offered no legal, ethical or moral justification of his decision.
Sadly, this kind of partisan political wrangling has not only become common in America, it has become so common that the average American hardly takes note anymore. Each party protests when their opponents break the rules, but justify it when their own side goes on to do the same thing. Democrats bemoan the filibuster as an instrument of tyranny by the minority when they are in power, but heavily rely on it when they are out of power. Republicans call raising the debt ceiling irresponsible and dangerous when they are out of power, but when in control of Congress change their tune and say they have to raise the debt ceiling just one more time.
This two-party system worked fairly well in America for a long time, but that time is long past. The tea party movement on the right and the progressive revolution on the left have both failed to gain traction in either party. At the national level, the Republican and Democrat parties have stopped representing their voters and are instead representing themselves, with the single goal of hanging on to political power, because with power comes influence, and with influence comes the money that fuels the parties.
Worst of all, both parties now offer more government as the cure to all of our problems. Don’t like the curriculum your kids are being taught in school? Give this party a donation and they will get a law passed by Congress to ban it. Don’t like the size of your paycheck? Give this party a donation and they will get a law passed by Congress to force your employer to pay you more.
The time has come for America to replace the two parties. Not only is it not unprecedented- the US has had five major political party periods in our history- but statistically speaking it is overdue. The average political era in America lasts about 34 years; the current political era of Republicans and Democrats has lasted 53. The more you give of your time and money to a political system that has failed, the longer the system will continue to fail us.
Take a step back and look at the forest instead of the trees, and I think you will agree.
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JD Rucker – EIC