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The Expansionist
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Message to Bernie. I felt compelled to write (via feedback form at his website) to a U.S. Senator I saw on television, to comment not just on universal healthcare but also on part of what is keeping us from enacting it, the insane Senate rule that permits filibusters.
[Subject:] End the Filibuster as an Institution

I saw you speak on MSNBC's Countdown Monday about getting healthcare reform thru the Senate. You matter-of-factly mentioned trying to defeat any attempted Republican filibuster, as tho the filibuster is a legitimate tactic in a democracy that in itself does not warrant criticism. Why don't we admit what has been plain for generations: the filibuster is an evil, antidemocratic institution that has prevented the people from passing legislation that the majority wants enacted? Why must ordinary legislation require 60 votes in a chamber of 100 — a 60% supermajority — when 52% of California's electorate were allowed to take away a fundamental human right, the right to marry? Why is it that the final legislation need pass by only a simple majority, but ANY step along the way might require a 60% supermajority? That's INSANE.

The filibuster must GO. Democrats must abolish the filibuster, just chop it out of the Senate rulebook FOREVER. If Democrats do this when Democrats are in power, they will understand that the filibuster will not be available to them when Democrats are in the minority, so show their bona fides, for being perfectly willing to let the chips fall where they may, according to the will of the people, in any and every future election.

Republicans and the Nation will know that the Bad Old Days of Congressional gridlock, when a tiny minority of supermilitants can defeat any legislation any time they want, are OVER, and Congress will do the people's work according to lowercase-D democratic rules, whether Democrats be in the majority or in the minority, because democracy means nothing if tiny minorities can thwart the great majority. The people DESPISE Congressional inaction, and have an extremely low opinion of Congress BECAUSE of things like the filibuster, which show Members of Congress to be more concerned about each other's perquisites than the people's needs. Don't work around filibusters or threats of a filibuster. Don't accept the nonexistent legitimacy of an antidemocratic rule that regards the 100 members of the Senate as more important than the 300 million people of the Nation. ABOLISH THE FILIBUSTER FOREVER!

If to do so would itself require breaking a filibuster, then BREAK IT. Run the Senate 24 hours a day, for as many days as it takes. CRUSH Republican obstructionists. Send them all to the hospital for extreme exhaustion, and when they're away from the floor, move the question and abolish the filibuster. The Nation has grave challenges and cannot afford to have antidemocratic saboteurs veto the will of the people.

By the way, Senator, I am ASHAMED of the United States' not having nor even seriously considering single-payer. The Liberal-Left needs to say that the healthcare system CANNOT work and costs CANNOT be brought down to any significant extent without single-payer; all the rest of the industrialized world has single-payer; and we should be ASHAMED OF OURSELVES for letting people die because they don't have health insurance. Health insurance company executives whose denial of services causes people to DIE should be charged with MURDER, put on trial, and EXECUTED upon conviction. Maybe THEN we'll get single-payer.

One more point: single-payer would pretty much END preposterous awards in malpractice actions, because there would be no expensive medical care to pay for. So fields that have seen many practictioners flee because of the cost of malpractice insurance would once again fill to natural levels, instead of the artificially depleted levels produced by our present healthcare and malpractice conditions.
(The current U.S. military death toll in Iraq, according to the website "Iraq Coalition Casualties", is 4,331 — for Israel.)

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