Fuck the Filibuster

Through gerrymandering and voter suppression republicans have secured super majorities in state legislatures where the actual majority of citizens support democrats. They are using that control to further suppress votes in order to limit the popular majority’s federal control to four years. And they are using the filibuster to prevent the passing of legislation that would prevent that.

I used to be for the filibuster, because I worried that if the republicans got control of everything that would be the only way to protect the country. But that’s not primarily how the filibuster was used, and now I think that the only thing we would be protecting ourselves from is finding out how bad the republican party really is. If in fact, the majority chooses unilateral republican rule, let them fail. If I’m wrong, then great. If they really screw things up, then their supporters would find out once and for all and the backlash would set things straight. There’s risk to this, but there’s more risk to actually letting them take control without a majority. If you believe that the minority rule the republicans might actually achieve is better (and you might), then you aren’t for democracy (and you might not be).

There is nothing in the Constitution that requires or ever intended to require a 60% majority to pass laws. There are checks and balances, but the filibuster wasn’t one of them. It came about as an unintended consequences of congressional rules of order, and has historically been used by the minority to hold on to and advance anti democratic and often racist causes.

Can the majority make the wrong choices? Most definitely. If you’re worried about the potential tyranny of a majority, you should be, but we have protections against that built in to the constitution. The bill of rights and later amendments are essentially anti democratic limits on the majority. They establish that even the majority are not allowed to do certain things, among them limit free speech, and enslave a minority. These limits are enforced by the supreme court, whose justices are appointed for life so that they do not have to be beholden to the majority. Yes, this protection has been weakened by the republican’s effective obstruction of Obama’s appointment, but that is one more reason not to fear a democratic monopoly on the house and executive branch. The Supreme Court won’t be liberal for awhile.

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