Harry Reid – what have you done for me lately?

A friend of mine has written the letter to Senator Harry Reid. It is about the filibuster. I must admit that I’m sitting on the fence about the filibuster. On one hand, I can see how it is a tool to give power to minority and I know that Democrats won’t always be in the majority. On the other hand, qualified applicants to many positions are being blocked by the GOP simply because they can. Here are my friend’s thoughts:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
522 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Reid,
Last January many senators from your own party urged you to establish new rules for the Senate that would prohibit a single senator or a minority of senators from filibustering the nominees of the administration. Despite two full years of inability to overcome the Republicans’ egregious abuse of the filibuster when you had a majority of 60 senators, you agreed instead to allow the filibuster and senatorial holds to continue after your majority fell to 53-47.

I hate to say I told you so, sir, but “I told you so.” I wrote and emailed you then that it was foolish and dangerous to trust the Republicans when they promised not to abuse the continued use of the filibuster. Yet you insisted publicly (and I’m sure in private) that you had the word of Minority Leader McConnell that nominees would get an up-or-down vote in this session of Congress.

Now the entire nation is choking on the fruits of your naiveté, sir. We have no judges, no department heads, no cabinet officers, no financial reform commission leader who will be confirmed by America’s enemies on the other side of the aisle.

Yes, I say “enemies,” because these Republican men (and a few women) are enemies of the United States: they do not want government of the people to be able to function; they will not allow the fulfillment of its laws overseeing private industry and Wall Street speculation, and they are doing their best to destroy the effectiveness of our courts. I remember Mr. McConnell stating that his only priority during this Congress was to ensure that Mr. Obama would be a one-term president; he has decided instead to end Mr. Obama’s presidency in 2011, despite the Constitutional guarantee of a four-year term. And as much as they hate Mr. Obama, they hate our democracy that allowed him to be elected. You, sir, should be ashamed of having trusted them.

I ask you to revisit, immediately, the Senate rules on filibusters and to declare an emergency in the appointment process to the courts and the administration’s unfilled positions. Your unexpected reelection to lead a Senate with a diminished majority was not a license to hand power over to Senator McConnell. It’s time to take power back and USE IT!


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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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