VanSant pulled a pipe from his inside pocket, opened a pouch of tobacco, pinched a bit between his fingers and began tapping it into the bowl. “You don’t mind if I have a smoke, do you Mae?”
“Of course not, my father smokes a pipe every evening and I’ve grown accustomed to the aroma of a fine tobacco.” This man doesn’t need to know I lived above a tailor’s shop in a tiny apartment with four other people. I can tell him whatever story I want, and he has no way of knowing if I’m telling the truth or not! This encouraged Mae to expand on her tale. “Why, when my family received the ambassador from Cuba, he presented my father with a sterling silver tin filled with the very finest tobacco the island had to offer.”
“My, my! That is impressive, Mae,” VanSant said and lit his pipe.
The United States used to have a House of Representatives and a Senate.
They operated under different rules.
The House requires a simple majority vote to do anything.
The Senate requires at least 60 votes to pass much of what comes before the 100 members.
(In ‘the ol’ days’ there used to be something called a filibuster, where a Senator would actually speak on the floor of the Senate forever in order to block a vote on a piece of legislation — unless there were 60 votes to shut down the filibuster.)
Today . . . all of that changed.
The Senate changed its long-standing rule —and eliminated the need for a super-majority (60 votes) to consent to a nomination for a member of the Supreme Court.
Since 1954, only two Supreme Court nominees (out of twenty-six) have been approved with less than 60 votes.
Now, we have two houses of Congress where only a simple majority is required to pass major legislation; and in the case of the Senate – lifetime appointments.
What was once known as the greatest deliberative body in the world (The United States Senate) faded into the unremarkable today.
Can you hear the hammer striking the chisel as it chips away at our democratic republic?