The House Speaker Vote 2023

Where do I even begin? Laying some ground work for people that are somehow unaware I guess. So, brass tacks: When a new House of Representatives is voted into office those delegates vote amongst themselves on who should run proceedings. Ordinarily this is pretty straightforward in the American 2 party system. The party with the majority picks who should lead them and they get the position, simple. But this year, for the first time in 100 years, it wasn’t simple.

The vote requires a majority of all present, not just a “simple majority”. What’s the difference? A simple majority is just “who got the most votes?” whereas what is needed in this vote is more than 50% of the possible votes. And no one has gotten that… for going on 12 votes at time of writing. With the current system these votes will continue until someone gets the required number of votes. And nothing else can be done until that is accomplished.

So why are we here? What happened that brought the Republican Party to grid lock? Two things. First, their majority is slim, only a handful of people. Second, the most extreme Right Wing members have realized that this gives them power. They refuse to allow anything to happen until they get “what they want”. So what is it they want?

If I had to sum it up I would say they want two things. First, unearned power. They, some of the most junior members of the House, want power handed to them on a silver platter. Power over the speaker, power over comities, power over their party. If it is a type of power they think they can get, they are demanding it like spoiled children screaming on the floor. Second, they want immunity from consequences. They want to be as vile as they want and for no one to be able to hold them accountable. So they demand the neutering of the agencies that would hold them accountable.

And the crazy part? The truly bat shit insane bit? The Republicans are giving in to these demands, slowly but surely. AND IT STILL ISN’T APPEASING THEIR TASTE FOR BLOOD! They still want more. And they are willing to hold the House of Representatives hostage until they get it. So, what should be done?

Well… in a rational society, with rational politicians, the Republicans would see if they could get the few votes they need from somewhere else. Say, the Democrats? Show an ability to reach across the aisle. Show some actual leadership ability. And probably not give up as much as the extremists are demanding. Or perhaps the Democrats try and break a few Republicans off to get a candidate enough votes themselves. Completely undercutting the Republican “leadership”.

But we do not live in a rational society, with rational politicians. And the Republicans have proven they are completely willing to damage the republic for a political stunt. So I expect this to go on for weeks… when do we start playing the Benny Hills theme and sending professional clowns to the House? As opposed to the unprofessional ones that were voted into office.

Thoughts on Debt Forgivness

Seeing enough about this online that I feel I need to get my thoughts out somewhere. So please forgive me for dipping into politics for a hot second. I unfortunately cannot promise this wont happen again, but I will try to stay out of these fraught waters. So where to begin?

The start is usually a good place to start. Without diving into the minutia of the situation, Biden is authorizing debt forgiveness for a moderate portion of college debt. He is also implementing a few other relief elements for those struggling under the debts they incurred going to college. There are some limitations, such as income limitations meant to ensure those most in need of relief are those getting it. But with that base line established, why am I writing this?

Because so many people have so many stupid ideas about the situation. Plenty of people are/can have reasoned discourse on both sides of the issue. But so many loud, obnoxious, uninformed people are drowning out the reasoned discussion… and worst of all is that some of those people are in government. So second base line: where do I stand? I never had to go into debt for college, I was fortunate enough that my parents paid for my education, and I am unbelievably grateful to them for that. Even still I support debt relief for those suffering under the predatory loans so many got swindled into. Even with no direct benefit for me. I don’t think that one mistake, made between 18-20 years of age, should define the rest of a person’s life.

Now that we are all on the same page, for the reason I am writing this. I see two arguments against forgiving student debt touted around a lot. And both are just such vile garbage. The first is the idea of “I don’t want to pay for people to get ‘worthless’ degrees”. First off this is a straw man argument, because of these nebulous people we shouldn’t help anyone. Secondly, please tell me what a “worthless degree” is. I never see this phrase defined in the argument. Is it a degree that doesn’t pull in a lot of money? A degree that you think doesn’t add value? A degree that isn’t being used? To all of those I say: there is no such thing as a worthless degree, just as there is no such thing as worthless knowledge.

On to the second “argument” I see. “It would be unfair to those that already paid off their student debt.” What utter garbage. You might as well say you don’t want diseases cured because it would be “unfair” to all those who already suffered from them. Or that no one should ever get a raise above minimum wage because that would be “unfair” to those that only make minimum wage. Or even that we shouldn’t have cell phones because it is unfair to people like me that didn’t grow up with them. Utterly ridiculous right? Well, some people are so afraid of progress and change I am surprised they are even able to use computers.

Things change, and it isn’t always fair. I missed out on several things before my time and wish I was still a child for several things that came latter. On the other hand, because of when I was born I got several advantages that those born even 5 years latter might not have gotten. Life isn’t fair. But we can, and should, try to make it better for everyone. Even if that means we don’t see any direct benefit ourselves.