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A veto’s futility

Submitted by Sarah DeClerk on March 14, 2013 – 5:29 pmNo Comment

Despite Gov. Beebe’s best efforts, Arkansas now has the strictest abortion ban in the United States. Beebe vetoed both the 20-week and 12-week abortion bans, and both times he was overruled. The democratic governor seems powerless to stop any decisions made by the republican-controlled Senate and House of Representatives.

I would like to state that I do not have a proverbial case of “sour grapes.” Although I doubt the constitutionality of the bills, I am conflicted over the ethical implications of abortion. This is not a matter of morality, but of political process.

Is the governor’s veto an affective check on the power of the general assembly?

Legislators turned a deaf ear to Beebe’s concerns about constitutionality and possible legal fallout from the bill. The same majority that voted in the bill also voted to override the veto. In fact, the Senate overruled the veto on the 12-week ban without discussion.

Only a simple majority is needed to override the governor’s veto. A two-thirds majority is needed to override a presidential veto.

It occurs to me that stating my opinion about the checks and balances system is like yelling at a wall; scream all you want, but it will not change. The impotence of Beebe’s veto, however, raises further questions about the implications of a two-party system.

Because the general assembly is controlled by Republicans, who tend to be political conservatives, the Beebe’s veto is predictably pointless. Republicans vote pro-life and Democrats vote pro-choice. Although there are shades of gray, people often vote along party lines with little persuasion.

The seemingly continuous stalemate between President Obama and Congress is also exemplary of the stagnation that occurs when the conflicting parties attempt to work together. It often seems that the two oppose each other on principle, leading to pointless arguments, months of waiting and wasted tax dollars.

If third parties were more relevant to the U.S. political system, I believe politics would not be as oppositional and contrary. Constituents could vote for the people that they believe could best represent them, not just those backed by their party. Legislators could vote for bills that they believe their constituents would agree with, not just those backed by their party.

I believe that this would renew people’s hope in the government. The political process seems to be breaking down. With political stalemates, powerless governors and legislators running roughshod (yes, that is a jab at Sen. Rapert) over Roe v. Wade, it seems like political alliances may take precedence over democracy.

I, however, do not believe that democracy is a pipe dream. A democracy works for the people, not politicians and bureaucrats, and it is the people who must defend it. If neither side wants to grow up and compromise, that is fine; we do not have to vote for either.

The people are not forced to vote along party lines. We do not have to fall into the political dichotomy. It may be that, in their feuding, the Democrats and Republicans will not see the third parties who are eager to take their place. With the way things are going now, I think it is quite likely that we will see more of them next election.


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