Are We Ungovernable?

Liberals are questioning America’s fitness to be governed. Their reasoning: Since President Obama cannot get his domestic legislative agenda through a Congress heavily weighted in his favor, the fundamentals of our governing system must be faulty.

Liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, for instance, laments that a minority of Senators can thwart the will of a majority. The Senate filibuster rule allows any 41 Senators to block the other 59. Whether the 41 dissenters are from a minority political party or the 21 least populous states in the Union, the result is the same: minority rules.

America’s founders created a representative republic, not a populist democracy, for a reason: to protect each individual’s God-given unalienable rights regardless of the whims of a misguided majority.

Within the legislative branch, a smaller, more deliberative upper house, the Senate, was designed to cool the passions of the larger but lower House of Representatives.

Yes, a Texas senator represents fifty times more people than one from Wyoming, but a check on the system exists. If I personally wanted more per capita representation in the Senate, I could rodeo to Cheyenne.

Another proof of the liberal left that we are ungovernable is the hyper-partisan atmosphere in Washington. I don’t disagree that today’s perpetual campaigning often forces Congressmen to their home districts on nights and weekends they once spent building camaraderie with lawmakers of all stripes in D.C.

But haven’t politicians always been political? Haven’t egos always resided in those who desire high office?

And gerrymandering is an eyesore, but it’s not a recent phenomenon. Political boundaries have always been drawn by, well, politicians.

Still, many a political subdivision has shifted parties not by the redrawing of boundary lines but by the persistent persuasion of proponents of preferable ideas. Massachusetts’ state lines didn’t change between Ted Kennedy and Scott Brown, mind you.

The Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer points out this week that people made the “America is ungovernable” argument during the Carter Presidency. The topic subsequently fizzled under Reagan. Why? Effective leadership.

The left made no such argument during the Clinton years, while he was effectively working together with a Republican Congress to reform welfare and cut taxes. The argument seems only to surface during dearths of gifted leadership in times of Democratic majority.

If liberals persuade us that our government structure is inherently flawed, they will then ask that we relinquish control to those who presumably know best: the central government and its bureaucrats. If we delegate decision-making to them, the story goes, they will make us safe and healthy. They will make us get along. They will make us equal.

Here’s the rub: equal people are not free and free people are not equal (as in lifelessly uniform). On the contrary, free people believe in the power of their potential. They are dreamers, pioneers and inventors. They are risk-takers, caretakers and problem-solvers. And they are, most assuredly, governable.


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