Monday, September 21, 2009

How it doesn't work.....

The Founding Fathers were geniuses at creating a governmental system that could easily be tied up in knots to prevent the majority from steamrolling the minority and a bicameral legislature weighted in such a way that the votes and influence of a senator from a small state can far outweigh that of a senator from a state 20 times its size. Seems on the face of it to violate the one man one vote ideal we have come to understand in the centuries since the founding of the republic, but what can you expect---a bunch of prosperous white guys who fomented revolution and then ensured that, once they were in charge, subsequent change would be glacial and some 'residents' counted as only 0.6 of a white man in the decennial census.

In good times and bad, wartime and peacetime, the Constitution and our republican form of government have served us well. Yet, at moments when big changes are the order of the day---civil rights and voting rights during the 50s and 60s, and now health care and financial reform---we come up against a system that is not nimble enough to lead or react expeditiously. And where, in the case of health care reform, two senators from states that represent less than 1% of the total US population (Montana and Maine) are not only holding it all up but, basically, do not appear to have a clue about the needs of a population that has become multi-ethnic and increasingly urban.

If Max Baucus isn't strong enough reason to support federal term limits, then we can run through the whole gang of four (or was it six) senators who, all put together, represent something less than 2-3% of the population but spent the last 4-6 months in secret deliberation about a system that strongly impacts the other 97% of us. Ugh.

Let's keep the bathwater, but can't we please do something about some of those babies.....

Federal term limits. Change we can believe in.

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