Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Non-Binding Resolutions

The CNN website has a link to a video report titled, "Non-binding resolutions a cop-out?" ( I haven't seen the video clip (for whatever reason, it won't play on my PC), but I can comment just from reading the question.

Of course they're a cop-out!

A non-binding resolution gives lawmakers a no-threat opportunity to grandstand without having to record a specific vote on a specific issue. I accept that many lawmakers are opposed to the war in Iraq. So am I. But elected representatives are not elected to vote for safe, waffling resolutions, they're elected to take on and resolve the issues that concern their constituents. They are elected to form one-third of the system of checks and balances the Founders in their wisdom built into the Constitution, largely as a check on the power of the Executive Branch (having gotten rid of one king, the Founders didn't want to create the conditions to grow another). As far as I can see, there's been no effective check on the actions of the Bush administration, and we appear to be tottering rather than balancing. No member of Congress wants to commit political suicide by actually voting for something that will be used by their opponents to imply that they don't support our troops in combat.

Thus, the safe dodge of the non-binding resolution.

I have asked before: where are the statesmen in this government? Where are the elected officials who are willing to stand up for what they believe in, to point out that the emperor has no clothes?

If you are an elected representative of the people, you are responsible for taking on and attempting to solve the problems and issues that concern your constituents. The constant Republican drumbeat of outrage about judges who "legislate from the bench" fails to note that judges "legislate from the bench" because Congress frequently fails to legislate from the legislature. It's safer to vote for a sancimonious non-binding resolution than to take a principled stand on a difficult issue and defend that position clearly to the American people.

That's why we have politicians in this country, rather than statesmen.

Have a good day. Demand more of your elected officials. You are, after all, paying their salaries.


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