So, which of you good readers know, without looking it up, the 17th amendment? No, don’t worry, I won’t expect everyone to know every amendment, I was just wondering. And so you won’t have to look it up, here it is:
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.
Yes, that’s the first part of it, but it’s the part I’d like to comment on today. And my comment?
I’m sure most people today don’t understand the process that made the election of Senators direct — but look at how it effects government today. The US Senate, primarily, passes laws that spend money (other people’s money). And in a large number of those cases, they direct states to spend money — not caring if the states actually have any money. And this gives the governments in the states the ability to say, “Gee, sorry working people, we HAVE to raise taxes to pay for this program we’re required to have.”
That could change if the Senators then had to head home and answer to the legislators who elected them. No, it wouldn’t be a perfect system, but it would be better than what we have now. Currently, US Senators are rich bodies who fill seats for the national parties and large special interest groups (businesses, unions, etc.). No Senator really gives a damn about anything that happens to people in their own state. This can be seen, obviously, if one cares to look. Take a look at Alaska, where everyone assumed that the political royalty would just stay elected (Murkowski). Then, when something happened and she didn’t win, suddenly the National Democrat Party was interested in the Senate election in Alaska. Not one person in the National Democrat Party cares about a thing in Alaska — but now that they perceive that they have a chance to get a seat from Alaska, they’re interested. And the Republican Party, after seeing their anointed lose, refuse to do anything about it (see: Republican Party doesn’t remove now ex-Republican Murkowski from any leadership positions). Again, they’re more interested in the warm body that they can claim as their own.
I wonder if enough Tea Party candidates win, if this amendment would have a chance of being removed.
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