Vote or Die

March 24, 2009

The Constitution of the United States of America currently allows for the popular election of its legislative branch alone.  The President, uncontestedly after the 2000 elections,  is voted for by the Electoral College.  Furthermore, the most powerful branch of government and the most powerful office in all the land is an appointed position.  The Justices of the Supreme Court, who receive their appointments by the President once confirmed by the Senate, have the ability to rule laws or actions unconstitutional.  As such, the Judicial branch represents the most powerful apparatus in the Federal government structure.  What exactly is the purpose of having a popular legislature with an insulated executive and an even further insulated court system? 

Well, it was not always that way.  The issue is that we have lost touch with how our government works.  In former times, a citizen with a concern would take his or her grievance (issue of concern) to the local authorities.  A State Representative or a town/city hall official was and is the first step in our government.  Since action a century or more ago took a long time due to slow lines of communication, it was acceptable to navigate our concerns this way.  As communication lines became increasingly accessible, the Federal government became an outlet for citizen concern.  The problem was, only the House of Representatives was elected by the people.  The Senate, as originally set forth in the Constitution, was elected by members of the several State’s legislatures.  Under that system of representation the States had a voice, independently, in the Federal government.  An added benefit was that voting for local/State representatives was given the proper gravitas – since these individuals then voted for Senators.  With these conditions taken in consideration, the Supreme Court was then isolated even further!  The Senate, voted in by the State legislators, and the President, voted in by the electoral college, appointed Justices to determine the constitutionality of laws.  The major factor to ponder is the loss of State influence and voice in our Federal government.  If the Stimulus Package has shown us anything, it is how intregal State concerns are to the functioning of our government. 

It is understandable to be upset when it feels like your vote does not matter.  It is even more understandable to be discontent when you are denied the right to vote for a very influential position in your own government.  However, before we citizens complain about who we can not vote for, we should think of who we are not voting for – our local representatives.  Town/City officials, State Senators and State Representatives are positions that are nearly overlooked in our fast paced society and, ironically, are best able to respond to our needs and demands.  Making real change in our system, effectuating significant and lasting differences in our political structure starts now where it did in 1787 – with local representatives.


2 Responses to “Vote or Die”

  1. Notelrac said

    You wrote, “If the Stimulus Package has shown us anything, it is how intregal (sic) State concerns are to the functioning of our government. ”

    Perhaps I haven’t been paying that much attention because of my workload, but I haven’t been shown any such thing. What is the basis for your claim?

  2. modernpiracy said

    What I was referring to was the pet-projects that were added to the package driving up the cost and drawing the bill’s effectiveness into question. These projects were State and local based, such as $1.8 billion for pig odor research in Iowa, which had been on the local agenda for a long time. The inference I was trying to make was that since State interests are not directly represented in our Federal Legislature, the popular elected Senators and Representatives have to sneak their State’s agendas into other bills. The stimulus package was the most recent bill passed, but such spending is present on the bulk of modern legislation. The high volume of examples in the stimulus package, I thought, represented the degree to which that process is prevalent. I thank you for your comment, since it allowed me to elaborate. I felt that adding too much background on the Stimulus might detract from the main focus of my argument.

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