Thursday, February 14, 2013

Good old Filibuster and American corruption

Ever wonder why, in a representative democracy like the U.S., a representative can stop a bill from coming to a vote by endlessly reading from a phone book? Nowadays, folks don't have to go to those lengths for a filibuster, but that's where it came from. I think the use of the filibuster really came into its own in the general corruption in the U.S. government that followed the Civil War. For reasons that aren't entirely clear to me, that may have to do with the venality of the successors to Lincoln, from the Grant administration on the sort of nightmare that the founders dreaded of money and power transparently dominating government became a reality. During the robber baron period sub literate nouveau riche coal, iron, and railroad men took over and the idea of good parliamentary procedure itself was forgotten, replaced by a caricature dominated by machine politics.

*on edit: whatever happened started fast. Andrew Johnson, Lincoln's successor, spared no time in dismantling the more radical promise of Reconstruction and welcoming the Confederacy back into the Union.

1 comment:

jacqui low said...

America is the most corrupt country in the world - what's new?