The halfway-there elections

11.06.06

Tomorrow’s U.S. midterm election is garnering way more attention than this non-event typically gets. The prospect of the Democrats taking back one or maybe even both houses has got a lot of people talking, but it’s really the same old nonsense, rehashed.

If the Democrats take control of the House (somewhat likely) and/or the Senate (highly unlikely) tomorrow, will that mean Bush will be relegated to lame duck status? Is tomorrow’s vote pivotal for gays/women/minorities/Iraq, or will it really not change very much? If the Democrats win some power, will they use it to legislate, or will they use it to launch a bunch of costly and pointless probes and investigations into Republican behaviour that will make voters sigh and roll their eyes at the endless scandal circus?

What will the results spell for 2008? Will it scare Republicans into a voter backlash, or will it energize the Democrats and give them momentum?

Personally, I hope that the Democrats gain control of Congress at least, not because I’m particularly disposed to favour one side or the other (I’ve already spelled out my objections to the giant either-or wedge in American politics numerous times) but because, on principle, I believe that absolute power corrupts absolutely. I’ve seen what happens too many times with the lack of a strong enough opposition. The Canadian Liberals, for instance. Even my years at Concordia were instrumental in demonstrating the pitfalls of having too much power concentrated in too few hands. The Bush administration has had a blank cheque for quite some time now, and it’s time to instill some checks and balances in the form of a more powerful opposition.

Basically, what it boils down to is my belief that the more handcuffed a government is, the less it will be able to do… and, hence, the less harm it will be able to do. Like doctors, government officials ought to be required to swear an oath of office that begins with “first, do no harm”. But, since they don’t, the next best option is to limit their power as much as possible.

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