I caught Colin Jones’ Zeit Gist piece in the Japan Times.
Academics and lawyers like to study our governing systems as though they actually did what they said they were set out to do. More and more, though, the people holding these government roles seem like the functionaries or butlers to those who hold the real power. Jones talks a bit about the Japanese Upper House, which is a bit of a fifth wheel, since Japan doesn’t really have “states”. The whole, formal “title” (lord) system was wiped away by the Allied Occupation. So why have an Upper House at all?
In the U.S., the Senate is mostly used to block any legislation, and to let a small clique of states hold tremendous power. (Maybe 11% of the country elects 50% of the Senate.) Additionally, when the Senate and President are of the same party, the 34 Senators can sustain the President on a veto.
It’s easy for the shadow billionaires to “buy” enough Senate seats–if not the Senator outright—to have a major influence over what becomes law in America. I have a feeling that the headless wonder that the Japanese government has become have the same men behind the curtain, calling the shots.