Let’s talk about America and our congressional gridlock. Margret Thatcher said that most countries were formed by history, but America was formed by philosophy. I guess we started with a clean slate.
Our founding didn’t start smoothly. Some colonists wanted to stay with England; some wanted to side with France; some wanted total independence. Those that wanted to break away had many different opinions about slavery, state’s rights versus Federal power, size and power of the federal government, what powers each branch of government would have, how would each state be represented, who should have the vote, and on and on.
America operated on the Articles of Confederation until the Constitutional Convention. Some of our founders knew that building a nation would be difficult without the central government. Each state had its own laws; they balked at paying their share of the debt that America had accumulated to fight the war with Britain; they wouldn’t pay the soldiers that had been promised benefits. They put tariffs on each other’s products, and each state had its own militia who took direction from the state and not the central government. There was no central authority for foreign affairs.
But somehow, the Founding Fathers got together and negotiated our Constitution. Nobody got everything they wanted; most had to give up critical points on issues they cared about.
So what happened between then and now? Each side is so damn sure that their side is right that there is no compromise, no negotiating, just gridlock. Can America survive this attitude?