יום שבת, נובמבר 11, 2006
The US election result
Not because Democrats are so terrific. They are not. But because this breaks the unity of control of America's first (and, please, please, last) ideological party. Oh, nothing against ideology. In fact, in the pre-Bush years I used to lament that American politics was insufficiently ideological. It is a lament I might return to.
The problem is when one ideology prevails, endorsed by not even a majority (or not even a plurality, as in the 2000 election), and the policy-making process fails to reflect the real diversity of ideologies in the country it is supposed to represent. That is what America has endured for six years.
I never thought an ideological and generally disciplined party such as we have seen for these six years could gain control over our fragmented-by-Madisonian-design political institutions. But it did.
So the thing to celebrate is that once again the Congress will be controlled by politicians--most of them not very ideological--who have an electoral incentive to make checks and balances work.
Now, back to Judaism. Well, not Judaism, per se, but Israel. As Jewshool reminds us, those of us who want our country to be a force for progressive change in the Middle East will be disappointed, of course, by the new congressional majority.
For those of us who yearn for peace in Israel and an end to the occupation, yesterday’s Democratic victory in the U.S. House of Representatives and ... Senate is a hollow one. Whether or not the Democrats can bring disparate factions together to present a true exit strategy for the failed war in Iraq, we can be entirely sure that they will be strongly united behind the failed policies of the current Israeli government - so evident by yesterday’s massacre [in Beit Hanun]. Though Republican accusations of Democrats as “anti-Israel” appear to have been entirely ineffective in swaying the Jewish vote (87% voting for Democrats), expect the Democrats to find every opportunity to prove time and again how “pro-Israel” they truly are.
Indeed, that is sure to be the case.
I close with two of my favorite quotes from Madison, which express my feelings about this election and what it is, at last, putting in check:
The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.
[On designing checks and balances:] …so contriving the interior structure of government as that its several constituent parts may, by their mutual relations, be the means of keeping each other in their proper places.