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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Todd Akin is why the 17th Amendment was always a bad idea

As I intimated in my previous post, I arrived way late to witness the tempest surrounding Todd Akin at the apparent zenith of its wrath. But now that friends have caught me up to speed on it...

Let's ignore for the moment that what Akin said is not an isolated incident. That in fact ridiculous, nonsensical and downright ignorant statements seem to be a chronic malady of those in high office (how Sheila Jackson Lee is still in Congress, I haven't a clue). It's not even the worst thing I've come across said by a politician about rape: the all-time record holder for that has to be Clayton Williams who once remarked that if rape is "inevitable, just relax and enjoy it."

Now that I know what the Akin situation is about, what is most on my mind about it is that this is why the popular election of senators was never a good thing, and why the Seventeenth Amendment needs to be repealed.

I have to point out that the Founders intended for the House to represent the people and for the Senate to represent the individual states. Senators were not to be glorified "congressmen": they were to be chosen by their respective state legislatures.

I can tick off a lot of benefits found in the original system. That it necessitated a state's people to be more aware, more involved and as a consequence tending to be wiser in regard to their local government was one of them. And I've long thought that the legislatural appointment of senators had an elegance to it befitting the wisdom of the Founders.

Look at what popular election of senators has degenerated into: the guttermost disgusting campaigning in American political history, only a hair shy of that for President. We already knew that but the Todd Akin situation has made what should be a matter solely for the state of Missouri and her people... into something of national "importance". Indeed, most of the demands for Akin's withdrawal from his race are from his fellow Republicans who insist that their party's retaking the Senate trumps any and all other considerations.

Good God. Have we really come to this point, as a country? Where we don't even pretend anymore that our politics is anything but a game to be "won" by any means necessary?

This is why the United States is supposed to be a republic and not a democracy. And for once I don't even need both of the "major parties" to make my case. Just one of them is doing it fine enough.

There can be no return to "civility in politics" when the current process itself is codified incivility.