Friday, February 15, 2013

Just vote

At the end of this week’s State of the Union address, President Obama included a simple three-word refrain. Gabby Giffords “deserves a vote,” the families of Newtown “deserve a vote,” the families of Aurora, Colo., “deserve a vote.”

This call was not just about regulating gun ownership. It was about our very political system.

Democracy is defined by and requires the process of voting. The majority wins,  the minority (within boundaries that protect their human rights) loses. Voters move on to the next vote. Following the State of the Union, however, Congress seems completely unwilling to trust in and exercise that democratic process.

For the first time in U.S. history, a single senator, Rand Paul, R-Ky., has totally stopped a cabinet secretary appointment process by simply refusing to vote. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., is so unsure of the will of the majority in electing President Obama that he has announced his unwillingness to let any proposal from the executive branch ever receive a vote. 

Some lawmakers admire the president and some do not. Some voted for the president and some did not. Some will follow the president and some will oppose him. That is their role and their right. But as legislators, they do not have the right to simply refuse to exercise their constitutional responsibilities. 

It’s time to insist that those whom we elect to represent us work out our differences by trusting the democratic process. President Obama’s final refrain was right on point: “The families of Oak Creek and Tucson and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence—they deserve a simple vote and so do we.”



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