< meta name="DC.Date.Valid.End" content="20050825"> Amendment Nine: Prelude to a Discourse

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Prelude to a Discourse

At his invititation, I just posted the below over at RT's site. I'm hoping the slightly more right/center crowd over there will have some interesting things to say. Many of you already know I'm working on this. And several of you are aware of a great many details already. What follows was originally written as a precis when beginning the article. Some of it is out of date, though the overall gist of it is still where the paper is going. Please feel free to comment, question, criticize or anything else. I'll have the final work out by mid-June. The likely title for the piece is Discourse on the Devaluation of Sovereign America.

In America at 1790, the term citizen was defined far more narrowly than it is today. The school of progressive, liberal democracy takes pride in this fact. Indeed, all of America is especially proud of this. As a people, we boldly insist that citizenship be broadly defined, so that all voices are counted. Today, ownership of property no longer pre-qualifies the rights and privileges of citizenship. Today, African Americans, free from the bonds of servitude, are counted as a whole person, instead of the three-fifths they once were. And today, women too, are counted as the equals of men. Citizen, today, means much more than citizen in 1790.

It is therefore ironic, to say the least, that as we have insisted on incorporating those previously marginalized sets of society into the term citizen, at the same time we have systematically eliminated the representation that these new citizens may have in our federal government. As this paper makes clear, a white, propertied, Anglo male from 1790 enjoyed a level of access to his Congressman that today is found only in the smallest of municipalities. So, while citizen may include more subsections of society than did the same term in 1790, the power each citizen wields, the ability each American has to gain access to their federal Representative, is far, far less. As America has grown, access to the federal government has failed to keep pace.

The future of American democratic government therefore, remains unstable due to the ever expanding population and the current limitation of its lower house to 435 members. At a certain theoretical point, failing to increase the level of representation will cause a qualitative shift. One morning, after the birth of some American child, America will no longer be a democracy, by definition. The cause of this situation is clear: the jealous guarding of Congressional power by the House of Representatives since 1911.

For support, the essay relies heavily on assembled statistical evidence. Abstracts containing the data tables are supplied. Of all the statistics studied so far, not one is more troubling than the following: if today’s level of federal representation were applied to the year 2000, there would only be 416 members in the House of Representatives. In other words, over the time span of just one presidential term, America’s citizens have lost almost twenty seats in the House. Were this result achieved through violence, Americans would be outraged. Instead, population growth combined with a size limitation scheme continues to ravage the citizenry’s voice in Washington.