DISASSEMBLE THE HOUSE

By Ivan W. Parkins PhD.

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

Ivan  Parkins

Excerpts from:

Perspectives For American Society

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.

Access Dr. Parkins writings at:

 

American Politics

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 Perspectives For American Society  

Contact info@americanpoliticalcommentary.com

 

©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 info@americanpoliticalcommentary.com

                                               

 Book Review:

 

AMERICAN CREATION

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:

PERSPECTIVES FOR

AMERICAN SOCIETY

 

             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.

SPIT

 

    In 2008, the coming watershed election, America needs to unite around the SPIT MOVEMENT. SPIT  is an acronym for Sensitivity, Progress, Integrity, and Transparency; in other words, management objectives.  Let Congress use its characteristic skills to improve the management of the Executive, the Judiciary, the economy, and especially health care.  Our Senators and Representatives, under Democrat leadership, will assure that congressional standards prevail in all of America's great institutions.

    Oh!  You have some reservations about Democrats as the leaders of Congress?  Haven't your favorite media sources explained to you?  That has become the American standard during the past three quarters of a century.

    Since 1932 partisan majorities have been available to each of the six Democrat Presidents, majorities larger, for at least two years, than any enjoyed by the six Republican Presidents.  Actually, only two of the Republicans, "Ike" and "W," have been entrusted with any period of Republican control in both congressional houses, and theirs totaled six years.  Meanwhile, the Democrats had unity of the elected branches for thirty-two years.

    There's a new wind blowing; let's get out there and SPIT into it!

Who Is Great?

    

    I am referring to Christopher Hitchens' book, God is Not Great; I haven't read it and do not expect to. I have read the Bible, all of it plus some Apocrypha and some sacred writings from other religions.  Most of that was in the 1930's, when I was a teenager.  I have not been a religious person by the usual standards.

    During my graduate work, philosophy and political science, plus thirty-four years of teaching, I did acquire some bits of what is usually considered to be culture.  And, the Hitchens book calls to mind one interesting experience that I had on three separate occasions.

    Three colleagues with whom I had more than average personal contact (a fishing companion, a fellow-member of several committees, and a residential neighbor) all in different institutions, and states, made nearly identical remarks to me.  Each volunteered that there is one intellectual discipline that is more profound than any other; it is literary criticism.  Need I add that they all taught modern literature?

    I may have encountered more obvious and aggressive proselytizing, but I can't recall it.  And, I married into a family of Methodist ministers, in rural Georgia - where I soon felt welcome.

    It is now clear that this planet, the species that inhabit it, and the universe surrounding are far more complex than our ancestors had means to envision.  Unfortunately, too many of the special class who study and earn livings by rationalizing the varieties and interrelationships of things, living and dead, are more interested in defining their own personal and class status than in shaping more catholic and mutually satisfying visions of the whole.

THE BIG CHANGE?


For 75 years, no Republican President has had as large a majority of his own party in Congress as the least favored Democrat President  (Clinton 1993-4) did.

Is a more unified government, but for Democrats only, the big change for which we are headed?
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In the past fifty years, tax cuts on business and investment have produced remarkably stimulating and similar results, not just in the United States (on three occasions), but in Ireland and Russia as well.

Are those who oppose such cuts real world "progressives" or are they the kind of doctrinaire fundamentalists who are usually thought to be "reactionaries."?
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Would deploying a larger force earlier to Iraq have made a better outcome likely?  Among our greatest problems there were inadequate intelligence, resentment of our presence by many Iraqis, adapting to a new style of warfare, and the high cost of supplying our forces with both routine needs and new weapons and protective equipment.

A larger force would certainly have meant a higher annual cost.  It would have made rotations in and out from our limited military slower if not impossible.  But, it would have enriched the target environment or our enemies.  It might be a change if we took most such decisions away from the professionals!

 

Ivan Parkins, February, 2008

Chapter 3, excerpts from

Perspectives for American Society

 

             The exponential growth of our accumulation of knowledge has soared to such a point that the total reservoir is estimated to double every few years.  At the same time our capacity to store, recall, and transmit this exploding mass of data and ideas adds a whole new dimension to problems of comprehending what is happening in the world.  Never before have men needed to cope with a body of knowledge so huge or so lacking in common premises.  Never before have so many needed to share their views with one another. 

             Language, the ability to communicate with one another through elaborate symbol systems, is a distinguishing characteristic of man.  It is true that other animals besides Homo sapiens communicate among themselves.  But no other species has been able to invent socially and to preserve and, moreover, continuously elaborate upon its system of communication.  The extent of communication among human beings is without parallel in animal behavior.

…..The ruling class bias in written and recorded history scarcely disappeared before the twentieth century even in the highly literate nations of the world, and only now is it beginning  to be offset in less literate countries.  Nothing else illustrates quite so clearly that writing and the inscribed record that were made of men’s lives were reserved for a privileged few as a case from approximately two thousand years ago.  There came to the eastern Mediterranean a leader of men whose appeal has grown ever since.  Jesus Christ made his appeal orally and directed it primarily to the poor and illiterate of his time; hence he was virtually ignored in the recorded histories of the period.