Breaking Through the Standstill

The house voted on March 24th with an extremely slim margin, 218 against 212, to set a timetable for an Iraq pull-out, among other things (for the NY Times article, go here.) It’s both exciting and frustrating: these are extremely polarized times, and although I see a lot of good progress and change in congress, there is also equal force in the opposition. It feels like we keep reaching standstills. An interesting aspect in all of this is President Bush’s role. I saw an interview with ambassador John Bolton, a conservative politician, on The Daily Show–a refreshingly tough yet respectful and intelligent debate between Jon and a conservative, which I haven’t seen him do well in a while–in which Mr. Bolton was claiming that it is undemocratic for congress to be blocking all of Bush’s moves. His argument is that in a decomcractic state, where the people have chosen a leader from among themselves with a fair election, to block this leader is to defeat the purpose of picking him in the first place. My (and Jon’s) response to this, of course, is checks and balances: the people elected their new congress out of frustration with what their elected leader was doing. The new congress is a way for their voices to be heard. But the static situation in our government does make me question this, and to see a little of this man’s point. A leader is picked to lead, and so when he is stopped from doing so, what should the next step be? How should the government proceed in the next year before the election so as to actually get things done in Iraq? Iraq should not be suffering the consequences of a divided country across the ocean. Should Congress compromise, as it seems they did, in order to get things done? Or should they stick to what they believe through-and-through, even if it means that very little is accomplished?

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