Sunday, December 04, 2016

The Bloody Road to Laws

How did we first establish Laws in the USA?


How do our policital parties influence our laws?

There are basically two dominant parties in the two biggest democracies in the world. In Britain, the battle for supremacy wrests on the Conservative and Labour parties. In the United States, the grand battle is between the Democrats and the Republicans.

Unlike the British model, the US’ form of government allows for party influence and affiliation to affect every nook of government. For many it is an unnecessary distraction. A waste of precious time otherwise would have been dedicated to public service and serving the people. For many, it is an exercise that ensures the people that democracy is at work – which the system of equal opportunities for everyone is in place.

Historically, it has been a see-saw battle for the executive branch (the presidency and the White House) and Congress. A Republican president is usually balanced by a Democratic Congress, and the other way around. Perhaps this is a way for American people to ensure that everybody’s interests are protected. And the debates are always fruitful and colorful. The President submits his legislative agenda or the annual budget, is scrutinized and even amended by a Congress ruled by the opposing party, and then the final product comes out.

Political pundits say there are two things in the world you do not want people see how they are made – laws and sausages. In crafting laws, in Congress, there are so much wrangling, positioning, compromises and sacrifices in order to accommodate everyone. There is one battle at the House of Representatives – who represent as varying interests on issues as the number of congressional districts in the country – more than 400 of them. Then the next step is the senate, a little less in a number, two senators per state no matter each size, but as bloody a battleground for laws.

Laws come from two sources, the President and the Congressmen themselves. They go to Congress for debates, changes and approval. Some Congressmen would support or nor support a bill based on its merits, some would even propose amendments to make the law better. Many also, ask for compromises and rewards in exchange for votes.

The most common currency in Congress is Federal funding for projects. In exchange for their votes, Congressmen get funding for their pet projects in their districts. Some require equal support for their own bills that they will later file. Some needed to be wooed by party leaders and by the President himself. All these happen behind the scenes to get the Americans the best laws they deserve, or could get at that moment.

People say democracy is a mess. However, that is, in fact, the essence of it all. That everyone has a right to speak out and elect his representative to Congress, who in turn is expected to fight for his constituents. Debates and political wrangling are too small a price to pay for that freedom.