Posted by Brutus | Posted in Conservative Corner | Posted on 24-08-2009
Our forefathers understood despotism and warned us that the despotic government usually doesn’t change everything in one fell swoop, but rather issues gradual changes so the people can become acclimated to their servitude to that body. As much as President Obama has strayed from the Constitution, we cannot truthfully say our departure from our charters began with him.
The first major shift came in 1803 with Justice Marshall granting the Supreme Court powers that did not exist. I bring that up merely as a reference, but want to take a minute to discuss rolling back the clock on another departure–which also took place long before Obama or Bush were conceived.
Prior to 1913, our senators were elected by the state legislatures. There were several reasons our Framers set it up this way. The House was meant to represent the People, while the Senate was there to represent the State. That is, the House guaranteed the Federal government did not encroach upon the rights of the sovereign citizens while the Senate safeguarded states’ rights from federal usurpation. When the question came up during the Constitutional debates, our founding fathers decided a popular election of the senate would render that body almost exactly like the House and the notion was defeated.
When state governments elected senators, the people had a greater voice. Back then, if a senator failed to ensure the state’s rights, the state legislature could recall him. This gave greater power to local government. It also kept the populace more engaged in state politics because the average citizen could more easily reach a state representative than a senator. In so reaching, the citizen could express contempt. The state legislator would then apply pressure to the senator, knowing his job was in the balance, tethered to the job of the senator. If the senator failed, the state legislator might fail as well.
Today, we have high and mighty senators that believe they are above all reproach. They do not give a wit for what the People say–and they certainly do not worry about defending the State. The War between the States was the beginning of the end of Amendments IX and X. Amendment XVII was the coup de grace.
In 1912, progressives (leftists, liberals, neosocialists call them what you want) were in both the republican and democrat parties. Several states had multiple senators’ names on state election ballots. Whoever won would get the legislature’s appointment. Roughly one-third of the Senate in 1913 were freshman–a good number of those coming from states where they were popularly elected. So, when the question about altering the Constitution came to them, they loved the idea. A popular election meant they could stay there forever if they stopped serving the State and started following popular opinion.
With no one there to defend States’ Rights and no persuasion over national politics, the state legislatures grew old and relatively impotent. Is it any wonder most Americans do not follow state politics and races as closely as federal elections?
Here’s some change we can believe in. Let us repeal the Seventeenth Amendment and put power back where it belongs, in the hands of We the People and the States. Doing so would mean senators would no longer cater to the largest voting block. For example, there are about 13 million people in Illinois. 9.6 million of those people live in the Chicagoland area. The people of Cairo, Illinois and Urbana have virtually no say in the matter of their senators, not when men like Barack Obama are out hammering the Chicagoland area for votes.
Repealing the Seventeenth Amendment and rolling back the clock would also help keep senators honest. Taking bribes from the highest paying lobbyists and PACs would not guarantee them a lifetime appointment as so many currently enjoy. It would also keep the Senate focused on their task of defending the States. As it stands, senators on both sides of the aisle pass unconstitutional laws and acts that usurp the rights of the people and the states because they know by the time the people can do something about it (the next election) they will have forgotten. This is part of the reason our neosocialist Congress tried so hard to ram their leftist agendas through during their first session of 2009. The mainstream media does all they can to downplay patriotic Americans defending their rights and come 2010, the left wing media will fail to mention the unconstitutional measures our senators voted for.
Our government is not broken beyond repair, but it is in serious need of a tune up. It’s high time we change the oil, replace the spark plugs, and reset the timing. Rebuilding our engine to factory specs means we need to start rolling back some of the outrageous power grabs by the federal government and Amendment XVII seems like a good place to start.