Thursday, March 15, 2012
Should We Abandon The Electoral College?
A Sacramento Bee editorial noted, “The way that the United States elects a president is broken, and has been for some time – actually, since the very beginning.”
The Bee further observed, “The American people do not directly elect their president. They vote for a slate of ‘electors’ (who are selected by the political parties) to an Electoral College, which then elects the president…it is long past time to elect the president the same way that we elect every other official from governor to senator to school board member – by direct popular vote.”
But, should the President of the United States be elected by popular vote?
In 1787, as the US Constitution was being drafted in Philadelphia, James Wilson of Pennsylvania proposed direct election of the president. But James Madison of Virginia worried that such a system would hurt the South which would have been outnumbered by the Northern population in a direct election system.
Thus the Electoral College was created. It was part of the deal the Southern states in computing their share of electoral votes, could count slaves (under the US Constitution, they were worth two-fifths of a vote), they of course were given none of the privileges of citizenship, (and could not vote....the slave owner voted for them). Virginia emerged as the big winner with more than a quarter of the electors needed to elect a President. A free state like Pennsylvania got fewer electoral votes even though it had approximately the same free population.
However, the Constitution had a pro-Southern bias. For 32 of the Constitution's first 36 years, a white slave-holding Virginian occupied the presidency. Thomas Jefferson for example won the election of 1800 against John Adams from Massachusetts in a race in which the slavery skew of the Electoral College was the decisive margin of victory.
The system's sex bias was also obvious. In a direct presidential election, any state that chose to enfranchise its women would have automatically doubled its clout. Under the Electoral College, however, a state had no special incentive to expand suffrage....each got a fixed number of electoral votes, regardless of how many citizens were allowed to vote.
After the civil war, the USA forgot about questioning the Electoral College system and continued its application in voting. The college favors a two-party system only and has no discretion for third or fourth political parties in an election.
So it seems that slavery or remnants of its philosophy is still with us today in the US elections.
I disagree. Not only is it not broken, but I submit that the election of our President is functioning exactly as the Founders envisioned it.
 Reference: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sunday, 12 November 2000, Section E, pages 1 & 4.

© 2012 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
Posted at 13:09 PM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 1, 2012
Why Is It?
What’s in a name? Everything, it would seem.
Words do have meaning. Consider the following examples of the impact that emotionally charged issues can have when associated with certain words or terms:
Special Interests: Why is it that “special interests” are groups we do not agree with, while those groups we support are like-minded people who have the right values? The tobacco industry is a special interest but the Sierra Club is not. The NRA is a special interest but
Planned Parenthood is not. Big business is a special interest but organized labor is not.
Agribusiness: Why is it that farmers are “agribusiness” (read corporate big business) when we want to influence public opinion, but they are just “farmers” when we buy their produce at an open-air market? Farmers are the “agribusiness” when they seek to limit government intrusion in their lives, but they are hard working members of society when they produce the food we eat. One man’s “farmer” is another man’s agribusiness “special interest.”
Environmentalism: Why is it that “environmentalism” is good no matter how it affects people? Those who want to curb the excesses of such laws as the Endangered Species Act are willing to destroy civilization in the pursuit of profit. Energy generated from fossil fuels and nuclear power is destroying the world and must be prevented, but it’s OK to drive or fly to meetings to protest their use. Is there any inconsistency or hypocrisy in that?
Developers: Why is it that real estate “developers” are unconscionable profiteers who want to rape the land, but contractors are just good folks who build homes for us?
Big Business: Why is it that the oil, pharmaceutical and auto industries, and business in general, are evil and steal and cheat for profit but most people want the highest paying jobs they offer and the benefits and way of life their products and services make possible?
Profit: Why is it that the word “profit” is synonymous with greed but demands for higher pay and greater benefits or government largesse are just simple “economic justice” or “fairness”? Profit is greed when it’s the other guy’s profit but justifiable compensation for hard work and sacrifice when it’s ours.
Free Speech: Why is it that “free speech” means I can say anything I want, but you can’t say anything I don’t like? My right to “free speech” is absolute, yours must be politically correct or you will be punished.
Segregation: Why is it that “segregation” is against the law and must be prevented, but African-American students on many of our college campuses have deliberately segregated themselves?
Racist: Why is it that discrimination against blacks is “racist” but discrimination against whites is not?
Double Jeopardy: Why is it that being tried a second time by the Federal government is not “double jeopardy” under the constitution but being tried twice by the state for the same crime is?
Loopholes: Why is it that tax “loopholes” are deductions someone else gets away with, but it’s not a loophole if we are able to claim the same deduction on our own tax returns? Why is a tax deduction that is written into the law a “loophole,” anyway? How has the meaning of the word “loophole” become perverted to mean tax deductions we don’t like while those we claim on our own tax returns are legitimate? Everyone claims tax deductions, from the simple “standard deduction” or “exemption” to itemized deductions and business expenses. So, why are many legal tax deductions now called “loopholes”? Perhaps loopholes are really just the deductions we cannot claim ourselves but that someone else can.
Extremist: Why is it that conservatives and Born Again Christians are right-wing “extremists,” but liberals are not left-wing “extremists”?
God: Why is it that “God” cannot be mentioned in our schools but students can talk about Islam, atheism or witchcraft all they want?
Gun Control: Why is it that “gun control” is the answer to the excess of violence that has overtaken our society when there are already over 22,000 gun control laws on the books? Will removing guns from the hands of law abiding citizens cure the problem or do we need to change our “anything goes” mentality and cure the moral sickness that infects us?
Global Warming: Why is it that we can’t accurately forecast next week’s weather or when or where the next earthquake will hit, yet many people believe it is possible to predict “global warming” and its consequences far in the future?
Are we ever going to wise up to how we are misled and manipulated by the way politicians, special interest groups and the media use words? We are all members of special interest groups. Just different ones. Mine are good and yours are bad, right? But, that’s just my opinion.
© 2012 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
Posted at 14:01 PM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)

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