Our Dysfunctional Congress

congress capitol building darkI usually try to steer clear of politics and focus on the civil and religious rights of the LGBT community in this blog. But the cultural divide in this nation was dramatically displayed in public in the recent Senate hearings. The appointment of a controversial nominee for the Supreme Court dominated the news cycle for weeks. A proposed appointment two years ago was blocked from even having a hearing because “it was an election year.”

The partisan divide in the Senate merely demonstrated the chasm in the dysfunctional Congress that can’t agree on anything. Essential legislation on the basic functions of government is frequently delayed or weakened. Our infrastructure, economy, and social fabric have suffered. Sure, the stock market is booming, but that represents only a portion of the economy. Many other areas are suffering.

The LGBT community is concerned that this new partisanship on the Supreme Court may reverse prior decisions that struck down laws regarding sodomy and same-sex marriage. The media seems to focus on the abortion issue, but many other issues such as judicial reform and privatization of prisons and public schools also may be up for review.

The Senate hearings were dramatic and riveting to watch, but they showed the petty personalities of some of the Senators who revealed their primary concerns were seeking re-election rather than seeking justice. The result was a draw of “he said she said,” with the aborted FBI investigation revealing nothing. We can only assume that because it was never made public and many of the corroborating witnesses were not heard.

November may bring about a shift in which political party controls the Congress next year, but it will not heal the divide. The Congress may not reflect the will of the people, but it reflects the cultural chaos of our times. I cannot recall a more explosive period in our history since the 1960’s. Then we were convulsed in a debate over the Vietnam War and the civil rights of African-Americans. Unfortunately, racism is still a major issue in this nation. Even though we are a nation of immigrants, immigration has boiled over into policies and practices that have horrified the entire world.

We may not yet be in a literal shooting war, such as what occurred in the 19th Century over the issue of slavery, but we are reaching the boiling point that may yet explode. We already have huge public demonstrations across the country, and local outburst of violence. The hope for calm and cooperation seem far off. We look into the future with trepidation. Both sides claim that God is on their side, and we saw that also in the two World Wars. Let’s hope that our failing foreign policies may not again result in another war.

So get out and vote!