Sunday, December 27, 2009

Reforming the Congress

It seems to me that every year, in between the two-party pressure to conformity, the seniority system for committee appointments, and the growth in Federal Spending and loose construction of our favorite "living document," the US Constitution, the beliefs of common Americans and local and state governments only decline. The fact that Senators are no longer elected by State Legislatures, but instead by the hodge podge of the population of an entire state, has not helped. Nor has the fact that, despite massive improvements in communications technology that our founders would not have considered practical, we still refuse to enact a national initiative process.

To ratify our reforms to congress, we need only use state legislatures. With 3/4 (38 states) of state houses on board, we could amend the constitution without a single congressmen supporting us.

First, we need to appeal the amendment that made the people of the state elect their Senators. When state legislatures are kept out of national politics, they have no hand in the federal checks and balances, making them helpless against institutions that would earnestly deprive them of their power. With state legislatures in power, the states will once again have a voice in DC.

Second, a national initiative process. With a certain number of signatures collected in a certain amount of time, a bill written by common citizens could appear on the ballot for election by all Americans. To quicken this process, and give federal power to cities and counties, local governments could sign the petition to put an initiative on the ballot by way of their councils, thus signing up all their citizens. They could not affect how they vote on the actual ballot, but they can make them vote to put it on the ballot, making them powerful sounding boards and gaurdians of local interests.

With these two major reforms, the State, the City, and the common citizen could be once again heard in Washington, DC.

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