Fight abuse of legislative process

Published 5:35 pm Saturday, October 26, 2013


To the Editor:

I am an independent voter whose values tend to be fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I believe we are on the brink of a political disaster that could rival the worst social and economic disasters in America’s history. It’s time to say “enough” and make it known through our words, our actions and our votes that we insist our elected representatives fairly represent the needs and concerns of “the people” and work compromisingly, cohesively and expeditiously with their constituents for the common good of all citizens of the United States.

While I firmly believe in responsible, conservative fiscal management of our government and support achieving a zero-based budget, America must not be held hostage by self-serving politicians’ attempts to undermine well-intended legislation and strong arm responsible governance to achieve personal and/or party goals. Most reputable economists believe had the United States defaulted on its debt, the results would be far worse than the recent housing bubble and resulting recession potentially creating economic and social disaster rivaling the Great Depression. The United States could no longer function as a world leader and could eventually lose its ability to protect Americans from social and economic disasters as well as from outside threats to our freedom.

There is a fundamental principle at stake that could alter our political system and bring our democracy to its knees. If either of our political parties is allowed to achieve legislation based on its own ideology by threatening to shut down government and not allow America to pay its debts, we will no longer have a democracy. We will have a form of dictatorship where one relatively small group can dictate not only changes to our laws but changes to our fundamental rights. If this is allowed to happen, what is to stop the Democrats or liberals from threatening to shut down our government or not allow us to pay our bills if Republicans don’t agree to implement background checks for all gun sales or ban assault weapons (both of which are supported by a large majority)? What would stop them from demanding business taxes be unrealistically increased as a condition for keeping our government open and paying our bills? Or what would keep the Republicans from demanding Social Security and Medicare be eliminated in return for keeping government open and paying its bills? Granted, these are extreme examples, but I think you see where this could lead.

Recently, a small group of representatives in the House of Representatives tried to change current law to implement their ideals nationwide by influencing fellow Republicans to keep the government closed and not allow us to pay our debts until they got what they wanted. Imagine the continual chaos that would follow, the constant and unstoppable threats to our economy, if this tactic becomes standard procedure.
Perhaps if enough Americans stand up and say no to this abuse of our legislative process, we can make a difference. Contact your own representative and make your voice heard.
Trent Tetterton