Unfortunately, George Carlin was correct when, years ago, he gave up on our species and was just watching as we circled the drain. Our country is now circling the drain as a failed state without a viable future. Not due to the white supremacists, the Christian nationalists, the misogynists. Not even the disingenuous Supreme Court justices or the lying, hateful former guy.
Although all of these do terrible damage to our country, it is our revered “Founding Fathers” who created a flawed democracy doomed to failure.
Majority rule was never the law of the land. Perhaps it shouldn’t have been, considering the likelihood that the majority could be unjust, unfair or just plain wrong. But the safeguards built into the Constitution to temper possible tyranny were poorly conceived and ultimately impractical.
Our grand experiment in democracy has survived for over 250 years, a remarkable achievement among the world’s nations, but now faces senescence that was inadvertently locked into the “rule of law” that defines it by major design flaws.
Flaw Number 1: The Electoral College
The people in our country do not elect the president, the states do. We got George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump, though neither won the popular vote.
Flaw Number 2: The U.S. Senate.
The Senate represents the states, not the people. The 577,000 people in Wyoming are represented by two senators, as are the 39,000,000 in California. Yet, rather than functioning in an oversight capacity like the House of Lords in the UK, it yields the most political power in the legislative branch of our government.
Flaw Number 3: States’ Rights
As if these issues aren’t dangerous enough, the Constitution grants political powers to the states unless they are specifically enumerated as belonging to the federal government. Expensive duplication of services and a lack of national standards are only two of the many problems.
Flaw Number 4: The Supreme Court
As others have pointed out, there is a problem when you can predict how a justice will vote based on the president who appointed them. Vetting by Congress? Right! Lifetime appointments? Ridiculous!
Flaw Number 5: The filibuster
It is not enough that the Senate doesn’t represent the people; it can’t even pass a law based on the majority of the states. While this isn’t “enshrined” in the Constitution, the chance that it will be eliminated is essentially nil, and, especially in our hyper-polarized political climate, it has completed our descent into a parody of an actual government.
So, here we are. We get leaders who don’t represent the majority of our citizens, making a mockery of the administrative branch. Congress, our legislative branch, is unable to function. The Supreme Court, the ultimate judicial branch authority, has stepped in to try to make up for the deficiencies of the other two branches but has become a group of political hacks. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, difficult to achieve under any circumstances, now seem like an impossible dream.