“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The Declaration of Independence – Chief author – Thomas Jefferson
It is time once again to exercise some of the rights that have been bequeathed by whatever God, deity, or otherwise identified form of idolatry that can be practiced. In the next several months we will be inundated with commercial advertisement, interruptions of Prime Time television shows, and a proliferation of guest appearances on Late Night talk shows. The culmination of these activities will become apparent in the early part of the eleventh month of the Year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Twelve. We “fellow Americans” shall attempt to choose another president.
By attempt this means that some of the “All Men Are Created Equal” crowd will engage in the necessary functions in this miasmatic practice in futility. They will register to vote, if not already registered, listen to the banality that is political rhetoric, locate the polling place, and, on the appointed day go to that balloting location to cast their vote for the next “Leader of the Free World.” Some may have the extra opportunity to express themselves in such things as Primaries, which are nothing more than an open admission by the political party that they have no idea who is their collective leader.
Along with the struggling masses who engage in this “election activity,” there is the Electoral College. This is a body who ultimately decides who will be the next president. Members of this “college” are chosen from each state and their number is directly related to how many congressman in that state plus one for each senator. Mostly nominated by political parties, it is easy to see that whatever party is in control of that state legislator would choose like-minded members to this body, thereby skewing the results. Has this ever been exploited? Four times in history has the popular vote gone to a candidate and the Electoral College elected someone else:
• Andrew Jackson lost to John Quincy Adams for lack of enough Electoral votes.
• Samuel Tilden (1876) lost to Rutherford B. Hayes by one electoral vote
• Grove Cleveland lost to Benjamin Harrison in 1888
• In 2000 Al Gore lost to George Bush after a protracted fight going up to the Supreme Court who stopped a Florida recount and thereby awarding the state’s electoral votes giving Bush the needed votes to defeat Gore.
If there is any validity to the words in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence then the practice of the Electoral College is most assuredly flawed and should be dissolved. There is an initiative in the public domain with petitions and assorted other activities to dissolve the Electoral and select president by a majority of the public vote. According to polls, 72% on Americans are in favor of this idea. Thirty one states have passed legislation in favor of this initiative. It has been endorsed by 2110 state legislators. Nine states have passed it into law, and 22 more states have either had legislation introduced or have held hearings on the matter. Popular Vote laws have been ratified by states possessing 132 electoral votes, which equals to 49% of the 270 electoral votes needed to activate it.
There is a groundswell of support for this idea and those who oppose it desperately rage against what could be their good night. The Republican National Committee ratified a declaration to oppose the National Popular Vote. The Democratic National Party has been quiet on the topic with endorsements coming from individual elected members, but no general statement on either endorsement or rejection. At least, that is, no definitive endorsement/rejection that can be found in an online search engine.
Removing from the need for validation that statistics attempt to offer, it comes down to the crux of the situation. Are we really a democracy? The sad answer is that while it would be nice if government adheres to the principles of the founding fathers, we are not a democracy. We are either a constitutional or representative republic.
The saddest part of this realization is while that the politicians have pounded at us about the democratic way of life being the best, their rhetoric is decidedly weak. In the face of truth we have constructed a fantasy world where those noble principles are being observed while they were not even practiced when delineated in the Declaration of independence.
“All men are created equal.” The man who wrote these noble words, Thomas Jefferson owned 147 slaves. George Washington owned 216 slaves. Twelve of our presidents owned slaves with eight of them owning slaves while serving as president. A true showing of the principle of equality the “Founding Fathers” spoke of, is it?
However, in truth, the great gentlemen were in fact trying to assure that all men were treated equal. This is hard to understand in the face of the owning of slaves. It is a delicate balance sitting on a pendulum that allowed for a re-definition “men.” In colonial times the term “Men” signified property owners of Caucasian heritage. Anyone of color was considered to be 3/5 of a man and thereby not entitled to full consideration as a citizen, or a man. Women were not included in the mix and would remain that way until the 1920’s.
How is this possible? Simple, they lived under a constitutional republic that enabled laws to be enacted re-defining the broader definition of what a man is to exclude people of color and those of mixed race lineage. No problem with the women, they were there to shut their mouths and produce the next generation of “men.” I wonder how Jefferson felt about his children…those born as a result of a relationship he had with one of his slaves.
So enlighten us, based on founding principles, who should be the next “elected” president?