Sent: Friday, March 07, 2014 1:48 PM
Subject: Don't kid yourself, we permanently lost control of Congress a long time ago.
How much influence does the average citizen have on government?
· Does the average citizen even understand the system and the issues? Or, is the average citizen so confused as to have to either rely on trusting others to interpret—or, simply tune out?
· During any past election—were the candidates you voted for people you had confidence actually represented your interests? Did you even know (for sure) what those people believed or where they stood regarding issues that were important to you?
· When was the last time Congress considered a bill that you wanted made law versus congress considering legislation that you opposed?
· Of the hundreds of bills being considered, what bills are going through the legislature that you support and want to become law?
· How much influence does the average citizen have in the selection process of candidates for public office?
· How much influence does the average citizen have on pending legislation?
· How much of our government is controlled by a fourth branch of government, the administrative branch, which is not even addressed in the Constitution?
The original concept of a self-governed people did not require the average citizen to be intensively involved in an ongoing basis in order to promote the general welfare, as certain principles were commonly understood—principles which have been discarded over the past century or so. As a consequence, what was started as “The Great Experiment in Self-Government” to promote the general welfare has been transformed into a system of crony politics and special interests—almost all to the detriment of the nation.
Status of the Congress of the United States of America:
Population size is critical to the election process. The current apportionment and selection process assures partisan cronyism, special interests and money—not the public interests—control the U.S. Congress. I doubt one person in ten-thousand understands the seemingly innocuous changes that brought this about.
Congress should be the most powerful branch of the federal government. Among other things, the U.S. Congress has the power to make all federal law, rescind or modify existing federal law, approve and submit Constitutional Amendments to the states for ratification, approve all cabinet and federal judicial appointments, determine the federal budget, borrow money, regulate the value of money, approve or deny military action, impeach and remove from office Judicial, Executive and other federal officials at will.
To a large extent, Congress has abdicated its responsibilities (read for example the article https://imprimisarchives.hillsdale.edu/file/archives/pdf/2013_10_Imprimis.pdf).
The Senate was designed to protect the interests of the various states. The House of Representatives was designed to protect the interests of the general public. Working as designed, the two houses of Congress were designed to promote the interests of the nation as a whole.
The role of the Senate, to safeguard the interests of the State (and general public) from un-Constitutional infringement upon their rights by the federal government was effectively demolished by the 17th Amendment (ratified in 1913), which transferred the selection of Senators from the state legislatures to that of a statewide election process—one which superficially appeared to promote a “democratic process” but effectively did the opposite.
Our founders knew the importance of having a reasonable size for a congressional district if one were to maintain adequate representation. At the time of the ratification of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the existing 13 States already had a functioning system of representative government in place. Article 1 of the Constitution states “The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand…” Of the original 12 Amendments (11 of which have been officially ratified), Article the First (the first of the proposed 12 amendments) was to further solidify the population for a congressional district to be a maximum of 50,000 population. Possibly, simply due to a clerical error, the amendment was never officially ratified (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_the_First and http://www.thirty-thousand.org/).
Initially, failure to ratify Article the First did not seem a problem as congressional districts were kept fairly small, and as the population and number of states increased, so did the number of members of the House of Representatives. In 1911, Congress passed an apportionment act which froze the House membership to the 435 that it remains today. Now, instead of the 30,000 to 50,000 range for a congressional district as envisioned by the nation’s founders, we have congressional districts averaging over 700,000, and growing.
What is not generally understood is that as the population included in congressional district grows in size—the environment necessary for the electorate to select a person who truly represents the common interests—diminishes rapidly.
Consider the situation like two polar opposites on a scale:
At one end of the scale (say a very small population comprised of people who know one another) the odds favor the public selecting a person sufficiently well known, as to be confident of their integrity and values—such the public not be fooled—so as to select a person that truly represents the common interests. The founders considered 50,000 a workable population upper limit for such purposes.
At the other end of the scale (say a large population, approaching or exceeding half million people [California exceeds 38 million]), it is unlikely the average voter will know the candidate, or know someone who does know the candidate sufficiently well, as to knowingly be able to vouch for the person. Under this scenario, various factors such as partisanship, special interests, and money dominate. Much of what people are going to hear about a candidate is what is pushed on them via the various media or choreographed public gatherings. Who in the general public really knows the true allegiance or intent of these candidates—or what they will do once elected? True representation is functionally thrown out of the equation. Often the candidate has no real qualifications or skills other than to be a shameless actor capable of exhibiting charisma before the public. For this same reason, electing Senators by statewide election does not yield Senators who represent the people, but instead Senators who serve themselves or the special interests that fund them.
Just as town hall meetings and other small group gatherings provided a vehicle for the local population to learn the values and integrity of the people they chose to represent them, political party conventions provided a method to select candidates that represented the interests of the particular political party. The state primary election process has largely destroyed this, as potential candidates are predominately selected via the primary elections—rather than conventions. And, under such conditions, those candidates are seldom selected by the public or even the active party membership—but again by partisanship, special interests, and money. As an example, if candidates were selected by the party rather than the primary process—would the Republicans have chosen Meg Whitman in 2010 to run as their candidate for California governor?
Thanks to the failure to properly ratify Article the First, the Apportionment Act of 1911, ratification of the 17th Amendment, and the evolved state primary process, the States and the people have effectively lost control of Congress—and control has passed over to partisan cronyism, special interests and money. The American public and the general welfare is the loser. Instead of a Congress populated by statesmen, we have a congress of political hacks.
Under this current scenario, do you really think that winning a few battles over issues such as Agenda 21 or gun control is going to turn the tide? If we fail to rectify the changes that have robbed the States and the people of power to control Congress—we will continue to lose our freedom, as we wear ourselves out fighting to win a few skirmishes.
The power of Congress is essential. We must restore the Senate and House of Representatives to the concept of our founders if we are to win this war.