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There are many places and times in life when the ability to avoid answering a question or providing information makes sense.

Defendants can "take the Fifth" to avoid answering questions by which they may incriminate themselves.

Tax filers can choose not to answer questions about their racial classification.

Public figures can refuse to answer embarrassing questions asked by reporters.

But, there's at least one place where it makes no sense to provide the mechanism by which someone can shirk the responsibility of a direct answer to a direct question.

We elect our representatives--Senators, Congressmen/Congresswomen and the President/Vice president--to do the work of our government, to debate the laws which we ask them to consider enacting, and to take principled stands on the issues of the day.

However, a tool used--rarely and in a considered manner--in the past for avoiding the "tyranny of the majority", the filibuster, has now been twisted into a mechanism to avoid "going on the record" for all but the most benign legislative business.

In the most recent case, 31 Senators--including, it's sad to say, two Democrats--voted to prevent moving forward to public debate on new gun control regulation.  Apparently, for no other reason than the fear that being forced to take a public stand on this issue would be used against them in a future re-election bid.

This is not what we elect our representatives to do.

Senator Reid, it's time to drop the game-playing and return the filibuster to its original purpose:  that of a rarely used mechanism for slowing the deliberation of the Senate on grave matters, not as a means for escaping the responsibilities that accompany the honor of being elected to lead.

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