Former US Senator Says The Founding Fathers Designed Our Government To Be Frustrating On Purpose

Balance of power is what Democracy is all about.

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In a political landscape often marred by gridlock and partisan bickering, former US Senator Martha McSally offers a unique perspective on the contentious nature of American politics.

With a career that has seen her navigate the intricacies of Capitol Hill, McSally sheds light on why politics and in-fighting may not be as far removed from the intentions of the Founding Fathers as one might think — or even at all.


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Former US Senator Martha McSally says the Founding Fathers set democracy up to be frustrating by design.

"The Founding Fathers set it up to be frustrating by nature, that you can do massive big change with only one small percentage of Americans behind it when you’re going to impact all of Americans. That balance of power is intended to be frustrating," McSally explained on the YourTango podcast "Open Relationships: Transforming Together."


Their vision wasn't about everyone agreeing, but rather about diverse ideas clashing in the pursuit of the common good.

Indeed, the Constitution itself reflects this ethos of contention, designed with a system of checks and balances to prevent the concentration of power in any one branch of government. The framers deliberately crafted a system where disagreement and debate are not only permissible but essential for the functioning of democracy.

The framers of the Constitution understood the dangers of tyranny and sought to create a system that would require compromise and negotiation to achieve significant policy changes. In this light, the inherent frustration of the political process serves as a safeguard against authoritarian tendencies.

Political in-fighting is therefore not inherently detrimental, but can serve as a mechanism for accountability and progress.




When different factions within the government challenge each other's proposals and policies, it forces careful consideration and refinement. Through this process, the best ideas emerge, and flawed ones are discarded.

There's a role political opposition plays in safeguarding individual liberties and preventing the encroachment of authoritarian tendencies. A robust opposition ensures that no single group or individual can impose their will unchecked but the clash of competing interests is how the rights of all citizens are protected.

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Not all dysfunction in today's government is the Founding Fathers' fault.

McSally acknowledged the existence of dysfunction within the current political landscape but emphasized that it is not solely a product of Capitol Hill dynamics.

"There’s a whole other level of dysfunction now, but it’s also a symptom of what’s also happening in the country not necessarily only the cause like it’s reflecting what’s happening in communities," she stated.

This recognition underscores the interconnectedness between politics and society at large, with societal divisions and challenges often manifesting within the corridors of power.

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Despite the frustrations and challenges, McSally remains steadfast in her belief in the democratic process.

"I get to be in the people’s house. I get to have a voice. I get to have a vote," she declares.

Look, political in-fighting is frustrating, but it's why we have democracy. We have it so we can argue for the best way to meet the needs and interests of as many people as possible and not let any one particular group lead us all.


As the nation grapples with its political divisions, McSally's insights serve as a reminder of the enduring relevance of the Founding Fathers' vision and the ongoing imperative to strive for a more perfect union.

As citizens, it is incumbent upon us to engage with the political process and uphold the principles upon which our nation was founded, even in the face of adversity.

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Deauna Roane is a writer and the Editorial Project Manager for YourTango. She's had bylines in Emerson College's literary magazine, Generic, and MSN.