parker's stuff

Freshman Senator To His Colleagues: 'The People Despise Us All' →

A well-crafted speech asking for better argumentation on the Senate floor, as it is most uniquely capable of debating long-term prioritization due to its relative insulation from the two-year terms of the House members.

Would anything really be lost if the Senate didn’t exist? … What, precisely, would be lost if we only had a House of Representatives, a simple majoritarian body, instead of both bodies? … What was the Senate built for? … Probably the best shorthand is this: to shield lawmakers from obsession with short-term popularity so that we can focus on the biggest long-term challenges we face. Why does the Senate’s character matter? Precisely because the Senate is built to insulate us from “short-term-ism”. That’s the point of the Senate. This is a place built to insulate us from opinion fads and from the bickering of twenty-four-hour news cycles. That is the point of the Senate.

A bit later…

“…Isn’t the disfunction in here, merely an echo of the broader political polarization out there?” It’s an important question. “Isn’t the Senate broken because of the larger shattered consensus of shared belief across 320 million people on this land?” Surely, that is part of the story, but there is much more to say. First, the political polarization beyond Washington is so often overstated. … Second, civic disengagement is arguably a much larger problem than political polarization. It isn’t so much that most “regular folks” we run into back home are really locked into predictably Republican and predictably Democratic positions on every issue, it’s that they have tuned us out altogether. … Third, one of our jobs here is to flesh out competing views with such seriousness and respect that we, the hundred of us, should be mitigating, not exacerbating polarization that does exist. This is one of the reasons we have a representative, rather than direct, democracy. …

Full remarks are available on Senator Sasse’s official website.

Great stuff! Listen to the whole speech to get the whole picture.