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?
On September 27th, 1958, a vote was held, with an overwhelming outcome, to keep the schools of Little Rock, Arkansas closed rather than integrate them. In September 1957, nine Black students known as the Little Rock Nine entered Central High School and were met by angry Protesters. Known as The Lost Year, high schools in the city remained closed for the entire 1958-59 academic term.
It is hard for me to comprehend that this happened less than sixty years ago.
There is an election coming up where one of the candidates wants to “Make America Great Again.”
The, “Again” part is what upsets me. Is this what he means? I remember the fire hoses and the dogs, and the people dragged beaten and bloody through the streets. Those images flashed across our TV screens almost every night when I was young.
It’s disturbing to see and hear white supremacist groups brazenly supporting a presidential candidate “again” in this country. Many of us thought their time had passed—and we were all the better for it.
Bosses and Blackjacksis currently with the editor and I hope to make it available to readers before the end of the year. In the meantime, I thought I would whet your appetite by giving you a small bite to chew on…slowly, very slowly:
Politics in Philadelphia is a rough game…has been since the time of Ben Franklin. But, when murder takes place in the Fifth Ward on primary election day in 1917, it sparks outrage – not just in Philadelphia, but throughout the nation.
WWI now shares headlines with the conspiracy trial in the “City of Brotherly Love.” Police Lieutenant David Bennett, in charge of the “Bloody Fifth,” is arrested along with the Mayor and other members of the political machine run by the powerful Vare brothers. Interfering with a free and fair election, it would seem, is as contemptible as actually pulling the trigger.