Letters to the Editor -- January 29, 2010
Reader wants Senate structure examined
Recently, Richard Spencer of Frankford wrote another letter to this publication opposing the healthcare improvements passed in two separate bills in the House and the Senate. These are not the bills I would have advocated, but the rules of the Senate give power to each senator, and when it takes 60 votes to advance a bill, then each senator has enormous power. These are Senate rules, not Constitutional powers.
The great compromises that lead to the creation of the Senate in 1787 have been spoken of as the saucer that will cool the passions of the House of Representatives. In reality, the Senate was put in place to preserve slavery, and so for the first 70 years, the Senate protected slave owners and industries that benefited from slavery. It took a civil war to end our Constitutional disgrace. It took almost another 100 years for the civil rights legislation of the 1960s to be enacted. It was Democrats from the former Confederacy that obstructed progress.
Anyone who was witness to those struggles, and also spent time following the debate on healthcare will come to the conclusion that the United States Senate is dysfunctional and needs to be constitutionally changed.
Throughout the spring and summer, six senators met to work on a healthcare bill. They were from Montana, North Dakota, Iowa, Maine, New Mexico and Wyoming. Collectively these states have less then 2 percent of the population of the entire nation.
In effect, the most important legislation of our generation was drafted by senators who are well versed in corn, cattle and lobsters. States with large population centers, manufacturing industries and leading-edge technology had no role at the table because Senate rules and seniority ceded power to these five men and one woman (Baucus, Conrad, Grassley, Snowe, Binghman and Enzi). This is not representative democracy.
I propose that the Senate be expanded by 10 members, one from each of the 10 largest states. These 10 states currently have more then 53 percent of the U.S. population (California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia and North Carolina). Under our current system, the voters in Wyoming have 65 times the power of those from California.
Perhaps our nation will then begin to deal with taxation, energy, transit and wars.
Our form of government cannot survive without constitutionally reforming the United States Senate.
Dennis P. Cleary
Nation is speaking through vote
The Declaration of Independence had it covered. Massachusetts got it right.
“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
In this country, we can alter and abolish a government that no longer speaks for “We the People” by changing those in office. Massachusetts understood this. Now the rest of the country needs to follow that example.
The 2010 elections should be an opportunity to send a message to all politicians, in all states, “We the People” have had enough. Enough taxes, enough spending, enough of placing huge financial burdens on our children and grandchildren, enough of the lies, enough of the arrogance, and enough of the bickering between parties.
If the current set of politicians can’t handle that, then we need to replace them until we find some who can do the job of representing “We the People.”
This is not a Democratic or Republican issue. Neither party has represented the people well in the past years. Clearly, it has been the party first, America second, in their thoughts and actions. That needs to change, and this year is a good time to start.
As with the Revolution, the first shot has been fired in Massachusetts. Let the battles begin around the country to regain America for “We the People.”