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The Speaker of the House (And the Problem With Him)

Mike Johnson’s official Speaker Of the House portrait (U.S. House Office of Photography/House Creative Services)

It’s 2024, and you know what that means: Voting season! But disregarding the presidential election, what else really matters regarding politics? The one we can’t vote for, Speaker of the House, that’s who. Cue Mike Johnson, our current Speaker of the House.

First off, what does the Speaker of the House even do? That’s the question I asked myself as I made the choice to take on this topic. The Speaker of the House acts almost like a peacemaker or communicator between presidents and congress. Our current Speaker of the House is named Mike Johnson, and was elected October 25th, 2023. Mike Johnson is from Louisiana and was a Republican congressman for seven years before being elected to the position of Speaker of the House. 

I think it’s important to first address that the whole selection of Speaker of the House is just flawed altogether. For starters, it’s Congress who does the voting, not the US citizens. In a way, this still remains fair and fine, because we vote for our Congress members, but we can’t always count on them to make the voting choices we want. There is also an imbalance between the Republicans and Democrats in the house. There are 213 seats occupied by Democrats, and 221 occupied by Republicans. This in itself shouldn’t be a problem, because when it comes to voting situations, a Republican could simply vote for a Democrat and vice versa. Except they really can’t. Most political parties have a very strong preference toward one side, and even if one decided to vote for someone belonging to the opposing party, they are shunned out and lose all respect and any ounce of a reputation they had. For Republicans, this is called a RINO, or “Republican in Name Only”, a phrase used by Republicans to describe people who don’t fully align with the entire Republican values, which really shows the strictness and brutality of being in political office, and also proves that elections for Speaker of the House are primarily based upon which party has more people in office, instead of genuine qualifications. 

Qualifications are just generally important to take into account in regards to positions of high power. With that, Johnson really hasn’t been in the political game that long. He’s been in a government position for only 7 years, which sounds like a lot, but compared to many other politicians, he’s really no professional. We should bring into consideration that he also hasn’t had any other real experience outside of being a congressman. Having been a member of congress for 7 years, Johnson has been able to help pass bills and laws. Johnson has already voted to try and approve more laws and bills than both previous Speakers of House, Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy, combined. What this proves is that Mike Johnson is easy to convince. He has much less governmental experience than a lot of other politicians, and yet he has passed, or at least attempted to pass, way more bills than others who have had his position. There is a clear line between trying to make change happen for the sake of community needs, and simply rushing your decisions because you’re passionate about something.  This is EXTREMELY important when it comes to abortion laws, gun violence, and various laws that could potentially affect those who are living in the United States or taking refuge in our country; those bills and laws need and deserve more time and attention, with them being some of the biggest topics in the country at the moment. These laws affect nearly every American citizen in one way or another, and especially with things involving abortion and LGBTQ+ rights, have been fought about for years and years. 

But why is all of this important? Why is Mike Johnson even relevant to our political climate? The Speaker of the House is second in line to be president. If something were to happen to our president, the only person that comes before the Speaker of the House is the Vice President. Someone with as much power as the Speaker of the House should be attentive and patient, and willing to hear all of the citizens for whom they are working for, something Mike Johnson has proven that he is incapable of doing. We have had a very uncertain and very unstable past few elections. With Donald Trump being removed from ballots along with being on the verge of criminal conviction, it wouldn’t be entirely out of the question for us to have to see our Speaker of the House in the presidential position. But having Mike Johnson in that position of power, with very little experience and a reckless approach to passing bills, is something that could lead to very dangerous things and our country becoming an even more dangerous place to be. 

It’s important for us as people to feel certain what is happening in our political environments and who and what is taking place in our government offices. But when we are placed in many uncertain positions, it makes it hard to feel as though our government is truly listening to us, our needs, or even caring for us at all. Right now, it feels imbalanced and like it’s a race to the top. We need more balance within our government in order for there to be balance in our country. It really won’t happen any other way than that.

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About the Contributor
Lucy Gray, Journalist
Hi! I'm Lucy, an avid record collector, nervous dancer, and theater reenactor! You can probably find me excitedly inviting people to musicals I'm in or talking about Gilmore Girls. Thanks for reading!

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