Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Most Needed Change

At the time our country was founded, seven of the 13 states represented 27 percent of the population and could muster a majority in the Senate to demand action.

In the early years of our Republic, the population ratio between the most populated state, Virginia and the least populated state, Delaware was 12 to 1.  By 2004, that ratio was 70 to 1 between California and Wyoming.  Currently, the Senate is skewed in favor of sparsely populated states.  Theoretically, if the 26 smallest states held together on all votes, they would control the Senate, with a total of less than 17 percent of our population.

By using the filibuster, 21 of the 50 states representing a mere 11 percent of the population could muster the 41 votes necessary to stop a majority in the Senate.  Obviously, we’ve gone too far toward disadvantaging the larger states.

The minority has an unfair advantage, since each state presently has two senators no matter what their population.  Furthermore, unfair filibuster rules have served to compound the advantage of the minority in a way that the founders never imagined, and runs contrary to the concept of a representative democracy.

Dr. Larry Sabato is an expert in the field of Constitutional law.  He has pointed out that Jefferson, Madison, and Washington expected the Constitution would be regularly revised each generation to reflect the country’s changing needs.

In “A More Perfect Constitution,” Dr. Sabato recommended that we expand the Senate to 136 members in order for it to become more representative.  He proposed, that the 10 most populous states; California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia and North Carolina gain two additional senators.  The fifteen next most populous states would gain one additional senator each, with the District of Columbia represented by one senator.


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