Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Shoot the Lame Duck!

When a horse goes lame, we shoot it and put it out of its misery.  Why?  Because it is understood that a lame horse cannot be fixed and is no longer good for any practical purpose. 

Here in the U.S.A. we treat fowl better than we do the much loved horse.  Why?  There is no logical reason or good answer to explain why we would ever put up with a lame duck.  What good is a lame duck, or for that matter, what good is a duck that still waddles?

For a country full of citizens who have a great deal of pride in being Americans, we have somehow accepted something that is completely stupid!  Who ever came up with the idea of having the U.S. Legislature hold sessions during the lame duck period?

"Lame Duck" defined:  "an elected official or group continuing to hold political office during the period between the election and the inauguration of a successor" -

Our current situation could not be a better example as to why these sessions should never be allowed.  Our system of government has three branches with the design being that each has checks and balances on each other but none holding power above the other.  In other words, none of the three branches of government are responsible to either of the other two.  When we elect Senators and Representatives, they are supposed to be accountable to us - we the people back home.  How do we hold them accountable?  Elections.  When they stray from the positions and standards that we expect them to hold, our main recourse is to replace them in the next election.  Remember, they work for us and are elected to serve us (at least, that is the way it is supposed to function).

What is wrong with these fine men and women holding session during a lame duck period?  Once the election is over, there are those who have been holding office who have now been replaced by the voters exercising their right to hold them accountable.  But, they do not lose their position until January 3rd.  They have two months during which they are back at work, voting and passing legislation for which they have no accountability.  The citizens have lost their right to leverage any influence over a lame duck politician.  These men and women have already lost their re-election bid and are on their way out of office.  There is nothing anyone can do to stop them from passing bills which the people back home do not want.

This process needs to be abandoned!  Our Legislature needs to learn to do all of it's business before the election, in the light of day, when they can still be held accountable.  If it does not get done by the first Tuesday in November, then it should have to wait until January when the newly elected men and women will be starting work.  We cannot afford unaccountable politicians.  The accountable ones are bad enough!

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