Sunday, February 21, 2010

Is it time to repeal the 17th Amendment?

Over the course of the past few years I have given considerable time, research and thought to a question that has nagged at my soul as an American as to how is it possible that this great nation and its citizens (namely yours truly) arrived at a this point of near desperation.

A nation built on sound principles of goodness and fair play, a nation that offered all that would embrace her principles opportunity limited only by the amount of effort one makes, now finds itself on the prepuce of self destruction. Her vast wealth created by generations of honest work and skillful guidance of wise leadership cannot possibly be at risk; or can it?

How did this happen? What could possibly have gone wrong?

I don’t know about anyone else, I can only speak for myself but I no longer “feel” free nor secure in this, the land of my birth. I can think of practically nothing that I might do which will not somehow involve the government in my life. I can never truly “own” a piece of property even if the mortgage is paid off I still will be taxed in perpetuity in order to enjoy the use of it. I can’t grow crops in my location without paying government for the water as I am not allowed to dig my own well because they own the water beneath my property. Other than walking or riding a bicycle I can’t travel without paying the government. Many places require a license for the bicycle so scratch that.

They tell me we have trillions in government debt. I can’t afford to send money to Haiti or Israel so how can the government borrow money to sent these folks and tell me I have to pay it? That makes as much sense as me personally taking out an unsecured loan and sending the proceeds to some foreign government. I just don’t think I would do that no matter how much they needed it. No one asked me if it was OK to spend money which we didn’t have and I doubt if they asked the millions of other Americans. Why do I feel so helpless?

Our founders gave us a nearly perfect Union. Well thought out and debated by the brightest minds our fledgling nation possessed at the time. Men, who had studied past civilizations and the results of their failures; They were philosophers, economist, and historians, they possessed experience and skill in many areas. But above all, they each had suffered tyranny and wanted to banish it from these shores forever. They spent many years refining and documenting what it was they wished to create in a just nation. This did not happen spontaneously overnight nor, was it without risk both financial and personal.

The first Continental Congress took place in 1774. But before that, the grievances of the people must have festered and led to many discussions and meetings in many places In the colonies for some time prior to any meaningful gathering such as this first Continental Congress. Even then there was no solution or resolution but merely a plan of union that an American legislative body be formed, with authority. 12 of the North American colonies sent representatives (Georgia being the most notable absent) and invitations were also sent to Quebec and possibly the other Canadian colonies.

Most of the delegates at this first meeting were not ready to sever ties with Great Britain but petitioned the King for redress of grievances of what was called “intolerable” acts. This was a waste of time because by the time the second Continental Congress met in 1775, the shooting had begun.

It took another year for the Congress to establish the Continental Army to engage the British formally and the Congress of the Confederation met for an additional 8 years to finally decide what it was they were creating. There were many difficulties getting a quorum during these years and it was necessary that every state participate equally in order to bring the Articles of Confederation forward to develop the United States Constitution. However, when they finally did, they gave the people of this land a Constitution which has been admired worldwide and served to protect the individual American for many years.

One of the major considerations was how to keep government from becoming self-serving, how to keep a balance in governance and prevent the creation of American “nobility” through government power. This was addressed through the separation of powers. Three branches of government, legislative, Executive and judicial as defined in the original Constitutional served us well until they were tampered with.
The original concept of the Constitution provided for checks and balances. In the legislative branch Senators would represent the State governments and were appointed by each State Legislature. The House would represent the people through popular vote.

During the debates on the Constitution and how our government would be structured smaller states, those less populated were rightfully concerned that States with larger population would dictate to them by having overwhelming voting power. This concern was address by dividing the Congress into two parts, the House and the Senate. The house would be composed of those elected by population and the Senate would comprise of two members from each State selected by the State legislature.
Of course there was great debate over even this as now the people did not vote for Senator except through their elected State officials. But there were reasons for structuring it this way.

Roger Sherman was the only man to sign all four of the state papers, the Continental Association, The Declaration Of Independence, The Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. In addition, he was on the committee of five who crafted the Declaration of Independence, along with John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Robert Livingston. In a letter to John Adams, Mr. Sherman very clearly makes the case for the state legislatures to appoint the senators. By having the state legislature appoint the Senator there is no question as to who he is responsible to. Under these conditions a Senator must respond exclusively to the State that sent him to Washington and not national special interest groups.

The original concept of the Constitution was to have some form of checks and balance. The Senators would represent the State governments and were appointed by each State legislature. The House or Congressmen would represent the people through popular vote, and the President represented the Nation itself. A very reasonable concept so, where did we go wrong?

1913 had to be the worst year ever for Americans and Freedom. First the Federal reserve was created, which gave a private entity the ability to create money out of thin air, inflating and devaluing the dollar, then came the IRS to act as a vacuum cleaner to suck up the excess. Soon after, the 17th amendment allowed the direct election of Senators which threw off the balance between State and Federal Government. Now the Federal government as a result dictates to the States, unlike the original intent for the opposite. Because the Federal government collects far in excess money, which it has no business with, States must now obey the Federal or lose federal funding. It is simply extortion.

Prior to the 17th amendment, Senators were obliged to follow instruction from home as they were appointed by the states legislature who, in turn, were elected by the people back home. This served to keep Senators from undue influence by national factions who may coerce them to act contrary to the best interest of the people. One prime example of this principle at work was when Andrew Jackson vetoed the bill to create the Bank of America. The Senators acting on instructions from back home were not able to over ride the veto with 2/3 majority required. Sometime later the Senate voted 26 to 20 to censure President Jackson. 7 Senators voted with the prevailing side against the wishes of the Legislature back home. I assume this was to gain political capital with fellow Senators, but nonetheless, all 7 were immediately recalled and replaced by their State legislatures. If you went against the wishes of the people, your time in Washington would come to an end. It is interesting to note that this example came on the heels of banking attempts to assume undue control of the nation’s financial affairs. As we all know they eventually succeeded through the creation of the FED in 1913 but taking no chances, supporters of central banking fronted the 17th amendment, permanently rendering the protections found in the original document fodder for manipulators ever since. Senators today vote in favor of the entity who provides the most money regardless of what the wishes of those back home are. The amount of money these factions can come up with to re- elect their favorite Senator can overwhelm any opposition within the home state. The media and big money decide who the Senator will be and that is as simple as I can put it. It is ugly but true.

There is much work cut out for the people of this country to regain their voice in government. One of the first steps might just be to repeal the 17th amendment and return to a more perfect union.

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