Our political-party way of legislating what’s good for the general populace is outdated.
If and when you accept that premise, it logically follows that the way Congress does business these days also is outdated. The “Democrat” and “Republican” labels are given much higher stature than the label of “federal lawmaker.”
The Democrat-Republican divide appears to be growing wider and more acrimonious in both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate, where gridlock rules. That divide constitutes a large crack in the foundation of congressional cooperation and statesmanship. And it apparently has put a roadblock in front of all incentive for individual, prudent and independent critical thinking.
Admittedly, the two major political parties will never “come together” – a tired phrase we hear from so many empty barrels these days. But progress might not be so daunting if we just stop seeing everything in blue and red.
What’s the solution?
The first step would be to do away with the party-affiliated caucuses on Capitol Hill. Create an environment so that each U.S. senator and each U.S. representative knows and understands the content in each and every bill that comes out of the hopper on its way to its first subcommittee hearing. That’s why members of Congress have staffs – to research the proposed legislation and present pros and cons to help each respective senator and representative decide which way to vote in committee and on the full floor.
Without the caucus to use as a crutch, perhaps the “party-line vote” language might melt away none too soon in the reporting of congressional action.
“Majority leader” and “minority leader” roles would go the way of the buffalo. Members of Congress might even feel less inclined to allow themselves to be brainwashed by oppressive party leadership.
Of course, there is one drawback to this strategy. If it’s carried out, intriguing TV melodramas such as “House of Cards” and “Game of Thrones” would lose their footing.