The party line


Why did Mr. Smith go to Washington?

The film is about a newly appointed United States Senator who fights against a corrupt political system, and was written by Sidney Buchman, based on Lewis R. Foster's unpublished story "The Gentleman from Montana". The film was controversial when it was first released, but successful at the box office, and it made Stewart a major star. It was also loosely based on the life of Montana U.S. Senator Burton Wheeler, who underwent a similar experience when he was investigating the Warren Harding administration.


Those were different times.


Today it seems that the people that the voters send to Washington go there to do their own bidding rather than ours. And that bidding is completely predictable. Republicans vote with Republicans and Democrats vote with Democrats. Once considered the world’s greatest deliberative body, the U.S. Senate is now merely a sport venue with the players competing for power rather than considering potential benefits for the country.


As the second impeachment of Donald Trump moves to a trial, the reporting universally suggests that 17 Republican seniors are needed for a conviction, with no apparent embarrassment at the presumption that all 50 Democrats will declare him guilty.


This is where we are now. The people in the seats of power are irrelevant. It is only their vote that matters. We don’t actually seem to care what they think, as they don’t actually seem to care what we think.


Just add up the votes! And woe betide the “defectors”. Any senator or member of Congress who votes in opposition to the party line will likely be chastised, called out, and censured.


There is no moral compass, only a scoreboard. And like any game that is rigged, the outcome is never in doubt. We don’t really need to send anyone to Washington anymore. Just record the results of elections as votes in favor of the party position. For or against. For “us”, against “them”.


We can see from here that Scott Franklin’s voting record will perfectly match the Republican minority in Congress. He will march to their tune, and tune us out. As will they all. Which also means that the tally will include the party line votes of the lunatic from Georgia who believes California forest fires were caused by Jewish space lasers.


This is not representation. This is reprehensible.


Do not look away. Voting was only the starting line. Watch. Listen. Learn. Respond. Insist on thoughtful reactions to the voice of citizenship. To your voice. And mine.