Second Thought -
Filibuster as the LAWJACK
The old useful hoist idea turns to heist.
We propose the rename to Lawjack. Its roots, conjuring the old hoist turning into heist, make sense.
- Freeboot got our early vote, with its piracy and privateering roots. But that needs an upgrade. Pirates are adventuresome, autonomous, there is a side that admires the derring-do. The self-serving opportunism has been sold in costume. See it in theaters. Not good for a rename of a serious legislative issue, with a nation's progress on the merits of issues at stake, on second thought.
- Use the term lawjack instead of dull filibuster. Get at the force side, the self-serving, the opportunism side that taints the reality. Retain a form of it, but rename and contain it.
1. The jack as a noun. The common person. Fungible. Replaceable by even a jakke.
Jack as a noun comes from the late 1300's and meant a mechanical device, a "jakke". Jakke was an old spelling for Jack and that was a name for any "common fellow". A Jack was any nobody.
The jakke by 1570 was a thing, a device, any number of mechanical contraptions that could replace servants, see Online Etymology Dictionary at ://www.etymonline.com/index.php?l=j/ Think of jack-of-all-trades. Go on to find jackdaw, jackass, Union Jack, jack s___t from the 1970's (meaning "nothing at all", says the site), Jack Frost, and the Jack in the deck of cards, and that Jack was a peasant. Jack-in-the-box, jack-knife, Jack Sprat, Jack be Nimble, Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack-o-lantern, etc. Jackdaw. Jackanape. The hoist jakke would be a kind of thing that would replace laborers like Jack. A jakke.
2. To jack as a verb. Watch the evolution.
Jack moved from noun to verb. It began meaning to abandon, or give up something, then came to mean to increase or hoist, as in jack up. Think of the jack in your car trunk; then it moved on to other meanings as laid out at ://www.etymonline.com/index.php?l=j/
Meanings became violent. A wrongfulness. A taking not just up, but from.
Think modern uses of jack in nouns - the highjack, the carjack. There is fear in the concept now; someone threatens to take over from you what is rightfully yours and by force, disregarding you. It needs limits, containment. Something for nothing, and at a high cost to the targets - fear, deprivation, danger, even death so that the pirate gets his free booty. That is a danger - exciting when remote and singular, frightening when immediate and uncontrolled plural.
The helpful hoist becomes the heist.
How to determine hoist from heist. When is the motivation bona fide, for a common good; or merely power-mongering. We know that not all piracy was outlawed. The old pirates became privateers when they operated under the consent of the monarch, in boarding enemy ships during wartime. If we think of a filibuster as a form of piracy, when does a lawjack piracy stay legitimate, bona fide; and when does it become mere piracy. Motivation counts.
3. What, us worry?
Worry about the names we give things because labels count. Labels teach, shape thought, instill fear, uncertainty, doubt, hope, inspiration. Labels are powerful. Naming is powerful, in any culture. Name this child. The name "Filibuster", as Rachel Maddow points out, has become boring and off-point. No-one pays attention to its deeper meanings as our collective noses slide below the water line and we sleep. Rachel, Rachel, she's been thinking .
4. Toss the filibuster-lawjack? No.
The lawjack or filibuster is not in itself an abusive process. As a process, it has its place, as protection for a minority that bona fide a) feels it has not had an adequate airing of its proposals through no fault of its own (clean hands); and, b) believes so strongly that its view best serves the country and that disaster for the country ensues by failing to heed the minority cry, then it is a last hope. Last clear chance.
Any party can be a minority sometime.
Always difficult. But the filibuster is no longer a way merely to permit a minority more air time for its substantive proposals, the merits of a debate; or for the occasional permission for a minority to stop the presses when it feels strongly enough. It has become license to abuse. It has become a heist: full-stop blockage and a self-serving taking that endangers the entire governmental process. That old filibuster protection, that giving an extra weapon to delay, force change, even stop a process, only flies so long as people are convinced the minority is acting for the common good. What if the minority itself has made the fog around what it is proposing, if anything; and the merits of its criticism of the majority.
Let's say a party has been so disruptive and propaganda-oriented in any efforts to conduct a civil exploration of issues, that it is counterproductive for the majority to include it in discussions. What if the Supreme Court adopted such a rule? Filibuster among the Supremes? Make every decision 6 in favor 3 against? Six to stop debate?
How to discern bona fides. Discernment. How to contain the renamed lawjack so its merits as a hoist, a booster, a heavy-lifter needed under some circumstances, are preserved while its abuses as a heist, a wrongful taking, are barred. Rachel?
Continue the speeches of merit and substance to add to a debate. But there has to be a vote built in, after reasonable time.
Go to lawjacking. The lawjack.
Jack it up, for tach it up. Buddy, gonna shut you down. Look up the Beachboys and Shut Down.