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, i.e. more than the 524,160 minutes in a year, we face a very different situation.  All Representatives, of whatever origins, become members of the upper class by virtue of their salaries and perks alone.  The long sessions, and the increasing detail 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 “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.

Ivan  Parkins

DISASSEMBLE THE HOUSE

By Ivan W. Parkins PhD.

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.

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American Politics

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 Perspectives For American Society  

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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 info@americanpoliticalcommentary.com