Saturday, March 9, 2013

LET'S JUST DO IT

On August 21, 1789, the Congress of the United States, by a two thirds vote in both Houses, proposed twelve amendments to the federal constitution.

Ten of them were promptly ratified by the states. They are known as the Bill of Rights.

The other two were not ratified immediately. One of them, the original second article, was finally ratified on May 7, 1992, almost 203 years after being proposed by Congress. It prohibits Congress from raising their own salaries during their term of office.

That leaves just one piece of unfinished business. The original constitutional amendment proposed by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson that was to assure that the United States would be a ‘more perfect union.’

Officially known as “Article the First,” the amendment established the ratio of Representatives in Congress to the expanding population of the nation.

There was to be one representative for every thirty thousand people until the House of Representatives reached 100 members. Then there would be one representative for every forty thousand people until there were 200 in the House.

After that, the amendment specified that there should one representative for every fifty thousand people, to be adjusted after every decennial census.

The 2010 census counted 308,745,538 people in the United States. That figures out to 6,175 Representatives in Congress.

Gulp!

That’s a lot more than the 435 professional, career politicians who now live and work inside the beltway around our nation’s Capital.

You betcha.

Throwing out 435 entrenched, lobby financed, political office holders and replacing them with 6,175 folks elected by their friends and neighbors is a big deal.

A very big deal.

But it ought to be done, and it can be done. Just like the 27th Amendment.

All it takes is the ratification of 38 state legislatures.

Eleven States are already on board:

Virginia ratified on November 3, 1789

New Jersey Ratified on November 20, 1789

Maryland ratified on December 19, 1789

North Carolina ratified on December 22, 1789

South Carolina ratified on January 19, 1790

New Hampshire ratified on January 25, 1790

New York ratified on March 27, 1790

Rhode Island ratified June 15, 1790

Pennsylvania ratified on September 21, 1791

Vermont ratified on November 3, 1791

Kentucky ratified on June 24, 1792

So here is the question. It’s more important than a balanced budget, more important than immigration reform, more important than gun legislation, gay rights or health care.

Are there twenty-seven more State Legislatures who will ratify Article the First and return the government of the United States to one that is of the people, by the people and for the people?

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