Viking Call

Upper Merion High's Student Newspaper


Filibuster: Critical Tradition or Burdensome Relic

    5% (“Out of 5,000”).

     5% is the percentage of bills created in Congress that actually become law! Why so low? 

    The answer is the Filibuster! The Filibuster is a senate rule that allows for members of the minority party to delay or prevent bills from ever becoming law-with ⅔ of the senate needing to vote against the Filibuster for it to be vacated! Should be great, right? Allowing the minority party to have a voice in Congress is great, right? Allowing the minority party to ensure that the tyranny of the majority does not exist is great right? 

Yes, it is great, but the filibuster replaces one evil with another, as the tyranny of the minority replaces the tyranny of the majority! 

    It has ensured that progress is hard to come by and it makes it immensely more difficult for Congress to fulfil their duty to the people, with this being evident when “In the 1950’s and 1960s, in particular, Thurmond and a group of senators used the filibuster frequently to block civil rights. It was the southern Democrats who were filibustering against their own party, and it was the Democrats and liberal Republicans who were trying to stop these filibusters,” Don Ritchie, the Historian Emeritus of the Senate, told CBS News Glor (“The History”).

    Do we really want to continue using this tool that ensured the United State’s disgrace in blatantly mistreating blacks in both society and in the law? Do we really want to continue this tool that ensured the blatant display of the United State’s hypocrisy of denying the most basic of rights to black citizens? Do we really want to continue this tool tool that ensured that the United States had to have thousands of deaths and cases of discrimination, to finally be able to overrule the minority and actually fulfill the desires of the majority, to actually conduct progress in the most basic of areas:civil rights? 

    It’s not only in the past! It is also in the present, for our very nation’s financial existence and prosperity and survival were threatened by the filibuster! The filibuster ensured that the prospect of the first US default was a real threat to actually occur! Luckily, the US was able to avoid that default, but how many disasters must we barely avoid before we eliminate this horrible tool? 

I understand that this is a big step and must be debated and considered thoroughly, but how much time must pass before humanity understands that the past is meant to be changed? How much time must pass before we understand that the filibuster does not promote bipartisanship but actually limits it-by empowering the minority to be intransigent, and by forcing the majority to have to expand and utilize other tools like reconciliation-just to get bills passed? How much time must pass before we understand that mistakes are necessary, and that fear of reform destroys the United States by relegating it to stagnation? 

    This is not about party and politics, but rather about policies and for Congress to better fulfill their duty of debating, creating and passing laws that benefit our nation and ensure its progress and stability and ability to avoid stagnation! The only way to accomplish this empowerment of Congress is to eliminate the Filibuster! Down should go the Filibuster! 


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