October 9, 2013

Modest Political Proposals

I don't often wander into politics, but the current state of affairs in Washington has me thinking. However, I have to admit, after watching any number of talking heads for the last week, that instead of a shutdown I'd welcome a shut-up for a spell. That being said, I want to offer an observation not entirely unrelated to the present situation.

The buzzword of "compromise" is in the air, and it led me to think back to the original compromises that gave us our present system: the "Great Compromise" that gave us two houses with proportional and fixed representation respectively; and the "3/5 Compromise" that counted slaves as partial people in terms of fixing the former.

The latter got me thinking: representation in the House is based on population -- but given the finagling with voting rights and the shapes of districts, the possible disenfranchisement of a number of citizens and the over-enfranchisement of select populations, I wondered if a constitutional amendment to fix representation based on the electoral roll rather than the population might not be a good idea: that is, that the representatives would represent those who actually voted for them. Maybe, mirroring the compromise of the past, the non-voters could be counted as three-fifths persons, just as the non-voting slaves were counted; but, say, an average of the number of voters in the previous three election cycles, possible with a proportion of the non-voters as determined by census, would determine the representation a state would have in the House. This might have the effect of discouraging discouraging people from registering to vote.

My point is that with theoretical universal suffrage but only a portion of the eligible taking part, the whole notion of representation takes on a new meaning. This seems to me to be a reasonable compromise.

Finally, a word to the Supreme Court: please recall that the notion of democracy is "government by the people" not "people buy the government."

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

1 comment:

WSJM said...

The trouble with religion meddling with politics, Tobias, is that it produces sensible, intelligent proposals for the government of the commonweal. God knows we wouldn't want that!