The Insidious Seventeenth Amendment
Posted on: 10/23/2012 09:25 PM
by John Young
The United States was intended to be a Republic rather than a Democracy. People have short memories and, quite frankly, the average person isn't smart enough to be responsible for her own governance.
Our founding fathers realized this, and therefore provided that the President be elected by electors appointed by each state, that the Senators be appointed by the legislators of each state, and that the Supreme Court be appointed by the President with the approval of the Senate. The only branch of government popularly elected would be the House of Representatives.
This was very wise. It is a lot easier to corrupt an individual Senator who requires umpteen millions of dollars for a general campaign than it is to corrupt enough members of a State legislature to secure the election of a given Senator. Furthermore, it provided specific representation of the interests of the States as sovereign entities, thereby preventing over-reach by the Federal government.
The Constitution originally specified (Article 1, Section 3):
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.
Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.
The Seventeenth Amendment, adopted in 1913, states as follows:
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.
When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.
In practice, except in the most extreme of circumstances, this amendment completely removed all representation of States' interests from the Federal government, and substituted popularly elected representatives with an interest in expansion of their own power in its place. We traded states' rights for the rights of special interest groups.
The result, in terms of freedom, has been devastating.
Every year we get to witness the gruesome spectacle of United States Senators genuflecting at the altar of special interests such as AIPAC (the Israel lobby) and the big-three special interests of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate. Thus it is no surprise that top contributors to Senatorial campaigns include Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, The National Association of Realtors, Citigroup and the National Association of Bankers. Because government has become its own business sucking on the teat of the body politic, heavy hitting contributors also include the National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
NONE of these contributors have any interest whatsoever in protecting your rights from Federal encroachment.
Though it is true that State legislatures have their fair share of corruption, they at least have interests that run contrary to those of the Federal government. Furthermore, they are more accountable to the people, closer to the people, and much more likely to be prosecuted for abuses.
The 17th Amendment needs to be repealed. We need the rights of States protected far more than we need some idiot who can't find America on a map to feel "represented" by someone who has already been enslaved to a special interest.