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Absurdity

글쓴이 : 이명동 날짜 : 2012-04-06 (금) 08:01:44

The word, absurdity, is an interesting one that could be applied to many different situations in our lives. Once in our history, it was a very popular and fashionable way of looking at our lives because its meaning has great resonance with the nature of humanity. Its meaning has been discussed and described by many acknowledged thinkers and writers and I'll leave it at that. While observing current events in the U.S.A., I felt what could be described as absurdity. More specifically, they are the Presidential election and the Supreme Court.

With the sweep of the three Republican Primaries, tonight, by Romney, it is clear that the Presidential campaigning has started in earnest. This election is an important election with many major issues which will shape the future of U.S.A. Since U.S. is still the leading country in the world, the outcome of the coming election is going have a big impact around the world. There are going to be many interesting debates on economy, capitalism, social safety net, taxes, energy, education, health care, environment, infrastructure, the supply of water, transportation, the ideal shape of a city, the role of the U.S.A. in the world affairs, and a few other things.

I'm looking forward to the debates but the feeling of absurdity comes in when I'm thinking about how the outcome is going to be decided. After all the great amount of money and energy that was and will be spent on the unfolding election, the percentage of people who will decide the outcome is, most likely, less than 10 percent of the population. It is a given fact that 46 to 48 percent of people will vote either Democratic or Republican no matter who the candidate is and that leaves, actually, 4 to 8 percent of people who is going to make the difference. That is why most Presidential elections are won by barely over 50percent of the votes. Remember the election of 2000. It required the Supreme Court to decide the outcome. Either the current political climate is absurd or the numbers that will decide the election are, or maybe both.

  

www.en.wikipedia.org

The other example of the absurdity is the Supreme Court. A few of the recent decisions make you deeply wonder the sense and wisdom of the Supreme Court. I even feel the need to reexamine the sacred principle of the separation of powers when it comes to the Supreme Court. Check and balance, and the separation of powers are the bedrock concept of the modern democracy and should be maintained at any cost. The executive branch and the legislative branch are more responsive to the wishes of the people and a sense of the time we are in when compared to the judiciary branch. I understand and grant that the Supreme Court Justices have to start from an established set of rules and concepts, but I also like to point out that the world is evolving and evolving rapidly.

On 4/2/12, the Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote "that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, however minor, before admitting them to jail even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband," The quote is from the New York Times and the article is very good. It is a real wonder how these people who can make this kind of decision ever could have become Justices. On 1/21/10, there was another 5-to-4 decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which is no help for the country as a whole. This ruling is corrupting and skewing the whole election process.

The main reason, the idea of absurdity came to my mind, is the three days of hearings on health care reform from 3/26/12 to 3/28/12. I had followed the Obama Administration's health care reform policy from its inception as one of the most important part of his vision to make the country competitive, durably strong, and healthy to its passage as the law of the land.

Over the last hundred years, many administrations had tried to come up with effective health care policy without much success. Well, it is a long story, too long to cover here adequately. What I like to point out is that I have watched each difficult step taken to pass the Affordable Care Act, the energy, passion, and time. But the reality and the absurdity of all is that it can be all erased by one man, one Justice, Anthony Kennedy. Because he is the swing voter.

 

Anthony Kennedy www.en.wikipedia.org

One swing vote decides the fate of the health care reform is an interesting reality. It is the separation of powers and democracy at its best. Or is it?


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