Political gridlock is the phenomenon where two legislative bodies such as the House and Senate, or two branches of government such as the legislative and executive, are controlled by different political parties with different, nearly
It’s not a bad thing when the federal government is concerned. Some say that it halts progress, and this statement contains some validity with regards to economic patterns; however, political gridlock and polarization, the affinity of a person to one extreme corner of the political spectrum, are not necessarily nefarious facts of life that are the stop to any and all progress, especially
with social issues.
Many social issues have been loosely resolved—not completely resolved because there will always be competing ideas on the “correct” solution—through a gridlocked government by legislatures not doing anything, at least at first.
Segregation was a malevolent institution embraced by the backwards, ignorant and hateful fears within good people. Southern legislatures refused to progress on issues. Congress was in gridlock. The Supreme Court of the United States, however, was not. The Warren Court, arguably the most liberal of all the Courts, ruled that in public schools, a separate but equal approach was inherently unequal and unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees equal protection under the law.
While Congress was unable to progress with race-related issues, the Court was able to break the immoral institution. Eventually, Congress followed after society let new politicians into power and released old ones from power.
Another example is gay rights, which has not gained a dainty, sluggish amount of support but rather a colossally potent range of support that has increased more and more as older people, tied down by their understanding of biblical interpretations, leave the world and younger generations join it.
In 1996, the federal government enacted the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The authors of the bill said the purpose of the bill was to “reflect and honor a collective moral judgment and to express moral disapproval of homosexuality.” The government was not gridlocked when this law was put into effect. Indisputably, the White House was Democrat and Congress was Republican, but Congress had enough support to override a presidential veto.
Had there been gridlock, this discriminatory bill would not have stained law books in the United States. Recently, the Supreme Court played moral referee once again, ruling Section 3 of the law unconstitutional. Section 3 defined marriage as one man and one woman, leaving the federal government unable to give equal benefits to same-sex couples, even if they were legally married in their state.
In addition to striking down Section 3, the Supreme Court hinted that if this issue is brought before the Court again, their ruling may be to strike down bans everywhere.
However, they have refused to hear a case that had potential to do just that for their next session.
Gridlock can lead to economic regresses, the government shutdown being a key example and their increasingly common debt ceiling crises being another. On the other hand, political gridlock can be beneficial for societal progression because it stops overbearing government from trying to enact more regulation into citizens’ private lives, letting them live as humans instead of caged mice.
More importantly, it takes societal moral reform back to the place it belongs: society.