One concern of those who drafted the Constitution of the United States was that representatives should not have such small constituencies that the office would fail to attract able candidates. Even so, Chairman of the Convention, George Washington, called for a minimum constituency of 30,000 instead of the already approved 40,000. This was his only suggestion regarding details of the Constitution and it was adopted.
THE FEDERALIST, No. 51 states that “dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government.” No. 52 adds “… it is particularly essential that ..” the representative “… have an immediate dependence on and an intimate sympathy with the people.”
Now, with the congressional districts having average populations of about 690,000, and with only 524,160 minutes in a year, we face a very different situation. All Representatives, whatever their origins, become members of the upper class by virtue of their salaries and perks alone. The long sessions and increasing details of their involvement in nearly all matters of government, keep their minds and bodies within the confines of the “Beltway” most of the time. National journalists, pollsters, lobbyists, and congressional staff members, along with legislative “earmarks,” get them reelected. Meanwhile, it is literally impossible for them to allot one minute of their time per year to each constituent.
Our representatives should be much more numerous; they should spend most of their working time in their districts; and they should have infrequent, but authoritative votes on major public issues. In order to add that to the Constitution, I suggest the following: Proposed amendment
About Ivan W. Parkins:
Dr. Parkins is a retired professor of Political Science from Central Michigan University. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago and is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy. Dr. Parkins served as a naval officer during WWII aboard the battleship Alabama. He is a recent widower with three daughters, 3 grand children and 2 great grand children. Dr. Parkins has written extensively, having authored 3 books and a newspaper opinion column for many years.
FACTS TO PONDER:
The First Amendment to our Constitution is not what the First Congress proposed for that spot.
Partisan divisions of Congress and the Presidency in the second half of the twentieth century differed extremely from those in the first half.
Since 1930, no Republican President has enjoyed a partisan congressional division as favorable as Clinton’s was in 1993-1994, but all other Democrat Presidents have fared better than Clinton.
If the average Representative were to spend 1000 hours per year meeting face-to-face with individual constituents, it would not be possible to spend 10 seconds with each constituent.
In just 5 weeks of 2006, Israel lost approximately twice (as a percentage of its population) as many soldiers in Lebanon as our military fatalities in five years of the “War on Terror”.
Just the increase of violent deaths domestically, among American youths in the 1960’s and ‘70’s, exceeded our combat fatalities in Vietnam.
According to the World Health Organization’s calculations of increased malaria deaths following the ban on DDT, that policy has already been more deadly than Hitler’s “final solution”.
The pension funds held by state and local governments, and by corporations, for their employees exceed the “National Debt”.
None of the above is a secret, but none is emphasized in the mass media.
See attached link for more information. American Politics
DISASSEMBLE THE HOUSE
By Ivan W. Parkins PhD.
The strength of democracy lies not so much in any special capacity that it may have for discovering truths or for making truths known as in its ability to detect and serve the many views and interests of its citizens.
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©Ivan W. Parkins 2008, All articles, text, web pages property of Ivan W. Parkins. Use of any material requires permission of the author and can be obtained by contacting email@example.com
A KILLER ISSUE
by Ivan Parkins
The New York Times story, January 13, 2008, (front page) “Across America, Deadly Echoes of Foreign Battles”, an account of at least 121 killings in America by veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq. As disinformation, it follows an old style. Nearly, forty years ago, I replied to a similar disinformation article that appeared in what was then one of our top literary periodicals.
“MORALS, MILITARY and the INTELLECTUAL”
Opinion column, Daily Times-News, 02/18/70, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan:
The human toll of military combat is so great that only a brute or a fool could fail to question the causes and excuses for war. It is not easy, however, to comprehend what a specific military effort, such as that in Vietnam, costs and accomplishes, apart from the combat itself.
SATURDAY REVIEW, February 14, 1970, carries an “essay review” by Father (Professor) Daniel Berrigan, S.J., who admits to having destroyed draft records and other acts of protest. The burden of the review is an emotional charge of insensitivity and brutality aimed at the military. It is illustrated with references to a particularly nasty incident of rape and murder committed by Americans in Vietnam. With monumental self-righteousness, the reviewer juxtaposes his behavior to that of the persons, “whose decisions make such crimes inevitable.”
That numerous crimes, unrelated to combat, have been committed by our troops in Vietnam is not to be doubted. But the crime rate of Americans is also regrettably high under other circumstances. If military leaders are personally responsible for crimes of our troops, what responsibility do clergymen and professors bear for the crimes of errant church members and students?
Nowhere does Father Berrigan assert, much less attempt to prove, that the crimes of our troops in Vietnam are more numerous or more brutal than the crimes which similar numbers of young Americans commit as civilians in the United States. Neither is any evidence offered that the South Vietnamese would enjoy a more secure life in the absence of our troops. In short, nothing more substantial than the tone of the review would contradict even the extreme hypothesis that our military presence in Vietnam is having a humane and salutary effect upon both our own men and the South Vietnamese.
Berrigan is unabashedly eloquent in both his charges against those who support the Vietnam War and the sanctimony of his claims for the protesters. But his eloquence is an affectation of diction and style, utterly lacking in logic and substance. Such a polemic discloses much more about the character of the persons who write, publish, and accept it than it does about the character of those it maligns. Logically, it is an expression of crude prejudice against a superficially defined group of “others,” and does not deserve to be treated with greater dignity than any other outburst of bigotry.
That a work so lacking in the elements of logic and reason should be chosen for publication in a magazine as prominent as SATURDAY REVIEW can only raise doubts about the probity and integrity of the magazine’s editors.
How much of the intellectual establishment has committed itself so self-righteously against the war in Vietnam that it feels no need to examine its own position and arguments? And, since intellectuals claim exemption from conventional demands of patriotism based on their special role as thinkers, is not gross neglect of that endeavor evidence of moral turpitude?
And it continues today, disinformation or the manipulation of information to support a point of view may be accurate; it is simply not the most significant true information on that subject. With the wide availability of sources of information, it becomes more incumbent upon the reader to validate the information. Fortunately, others with more details than I, have already replied to the TIMES article. Please note that my “Facts to Ponder” suggest some other areas of disinformation now prevalent.
I. W. Parkins 1/20/2008
AMERICA’S CRISIS, 2008
By Ivan Parkins
During the Franklin Roosevelt Administration, and for about a decade after, “liberal” academics contended that strong executive leadership had rescued our divided political system. The weakness from which the two Roosevelt’s (plus Lincoln and Jackson) had rescued the nation, was an inability to control powerful minority interests. I did, and I do, subscribe to that broad thesis.
What materialized during the Vietnam War, and especially in the 1968 elections, was the rise of a new special interest. Burgeoning college enrollments, new and more pervasive communication media , private foundations, etc. created a rapidly growing mass of extensively schooled and nationally organized persons. Dominating, as they did and still do, the main channels of communication, they maligned old institutions and elites. Meanwhile, they made themselves the most politically potent and legally protected elite- and ultimately the enemies of strong Presidents.
In this nation, a clear majority of the public can do almost anything that can be accomplished politically. But only a talented and vigorous President is able to assemble and maintain majority support. In the late twentieth century, with the outlets for political information more centralized and united than ever before, we had conflicts on an unprecedented scale between professional communicators and those Presidents who won the largest popular majorities at the polls.
Americans are now understandably confused and depressed. The solution, I’m convinced, is more diverse information and accountability from professional communicators regarding the information that they disseminate.
The First Amendment should not canonize professors, journalists, artists, or protesters.
I.W. Parkins, January 25, 2008
by Joseph Ellis
Joseph Ellis’ book, AMERICAN CREATION, is a fitting sequel to his Pulitzer Prize winners, FOUNDING BROTHERS and HIS EXCELLENCY.
It sets forth more clearly, than I have ever before seen, just what our nation’s founders did achieve in the face of specific difficulties, and what the difficulties were that they failed to overcome. Essentially, they exceeded amazingly well at turning colonies into an independent, large, and free republic that proved to be both durable and expandable. They failed to resolve two huge problems, native rights and racial freedoms.
Ellis is easy to read and especially reasonable. He is specific about assigning both credits and failures to individuals, most of whom he obviously admires. He attributes much of their greatness to their pursuit of lasting fame rather than immediate popularity. They were, along with some fortunate circumstances and coincidences, creators of the United States
More Excerpts from:
The dominion of Europe spread to the ends of the earth. The West had risen to a point that, in terms of geopolitics, could not help but be the zenith of its power. But how significant are the views that attempt to measure the rise of the West in such materialistic terms?
It has become intellectually fashionable to follow every acknowledgment of Western superiority in material things with condemnation of materialism and the West. But the shallowness of mind and spirit exposed in such evaluations may be more characteristic of those intellectuals who do the condemning than of the Western civilization that they pretend to evaluate.