Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Partisanship Is Killing Our Country

Hello everyone-it has been some time since I have written here. I have been pre-occupied with other endeavors but a couple of newsworthy stories have prompted me to do a little venting. The issue at hand is the ever growing problem of partisanship.

As you know; the latest health care bill was passed in the House and is now heading to the Senate for debate and a vote. I confess; I am not terribly optimistic about its passage there. We can thank Sen. Joe Lieberman for that. Lieberman has trouble deciding which party to ally himself with but, in this case, he has jumped on the Republican bandwagon. Sixty votes are needed for the bill to pass and Lieberman’s decision has all but assured that the number will not be reached. Presently, the Senate is comprised of 58 Democrats, 40 Republicans, and 2 Independents. For the bill to have any chance; the two Independent votes are crucial. Lieberman is one of those Independents and has single handedly squashed the hopes of the majority of Americans who favor health care reform and the public option. My only hope is that the voters from Connecticut finally bounce his sorry ass from office in 2010.

To illustrate the omnipresent partisan voting practices in Congress; one need only look at the final tally in the House. Out of the 216 available votes from the GOP-only one voted in favor of the bill. I find it hard to believe that the other 215 voted against it based on its merits. Toeing the party line has become the norm in Congress and I see no end in sight. It’s clear that the motivating factor when voting is to simply oppose the other party. To hell with what the American people want. Anything thought to have been proposed by the Obama administration is assured of a NAY vote from the Republicans. This philosophy does little for the betterment of our nation at a time when it is sorely needed.

To further emphasize the presence of partisanship in Congress; a look at the voting results for Sen. Franken’s (D-MN) amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill will tell us more. Senator Franken’s amendment seemed like a sure bet given its content. To summarize: The amendment prohibited the government from granting contracts to companies that included, in my opinion, an unconstitutional clause in their employee contracts. The clause, neatly cloaked in fine print, prohibits employees from exercising their right to due process granted to us all in the 14th Amendment. “Essentially, due process guarantees that persons have a right to be fairly heard before they can be deprived of life, liberty, or property.” (Rush; The Dictionary of Criminal Justice 5th Edition, 2000)

What caused Sen. Franken to propose this amendment was a case involving a female employee of KBR (Haliburton) who was raped while working in Iraq. Upon returning to the U.S. after the incident; she intended to file criminal charges against the perpetrators and to sue KBR, only to find that her employee contract prohibited her from doing so. Her desire to seek justice through the criminal and civil court was declined based on the aforementioned clause. As if that isn’t repulsive enough; the vote for the amendment proved to be equally nauseating.

During the debate on the Senate floor, Sen. Jeff Sessions claimed it was not the purview of the government to decide what can and can’t be included in a private company’s employee contracts. He went on to say that it was not up to the Senate to decide who should benefit from taxpayers dollars. It’s important to note that, only weeks earlier, this moron was calling for the immediate freeze of government aid to ACORN. I can only assume that he forgot about that little diatribe. While ACORN receives, on average, $1.5 million per year from the government; KBR/Haliburton and Blackwater have received over $25 billion in contracts since 2001!!

After the debate and Session’s blustering; the amendment came to a vote. The results: 30 of the 40 GOP senators (75%) voted AGAINST the amendment!! The amendment passed thanks to the 10 Republican senators who voted with their conscience as opposed to their allegiance to the GOP. I found this story to be one of the most disgusting examples of how partisanship is tearing this country apart. I urge everyone who lives in a state where their senator voted against this to cast a vote for ANYONE who opposes them in the next election. If you don’t; consider yourself complicit in denying that poor woman her right to due process and remember-the next time, it may be you!