Letters to editor logo 1-18-21

Editor, Casa Grande Dispatch:

In his letter dated June 1 concerning the filibuster, Brad Marsh attempts to define the difference between a republic and a democracy. Mr. Marsh seems to be saying that a republic protects minority rights, but a democracy does not. Most scholars would describe our form of government as a democratic republic. We the people elect someone to represent us. The protections minority voters have against the abuses of the majority party lie in our Constitution, in which the executive and legislative branches must agree on a law, subject to review by the judicial branch. There is nothing in the Constitution that speaks of the filibuster rule. With a few exceptions, the Senate and Congress are free to set their own rules, so the filibuster can be amended or eliminated.

The filibuster was first used in the late 1700s, but its use until the 1950s was exceedingly rare. It has been much more commonly used of late as the two parties have grown further apart ideologically. Mr. Marsh was correct in that Obama was roundly repudiated by the voters in 2010 when the Democrats lost both houses. The same is true of Trump when he lost both houses and the presidency. The voters spoke. In fact a clear majority of voters chose Biden, by more than 7 million votes. And as Trump was fond of saying, “elections have consequences."

We have a system of checks and balances in place that offer robust protection. And the final check against abuse is the American voter himself. The winning political party deserves a chance to govern. Under the filibuster rule, that is not possible today given the extreme polarization and demonization that exists in our body politic. That is why in my opinion the filibuster rule in the Senate needs to go away.

Roger Oleson

Casa Grande