The Electoral College and the Tyranny Of the Majority

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A couple of days ago I reposted on my political-themed Facebook page a video post by Robert Reich entitled “How Do We Abolish the Electoral College”.

This may be slightly misleading as to my personal political views, as I am in no way against the Electoral College, and am fervently against “abolishing” it. In spite of how “antiquated” people think it is, the Electoral College did what it was supposed to do. It gave a voice to those who ordinarily wouldn’t have one within a purely “democratic” system.

You see, in spite of what BOTH major political parties try to ram down our collective throats, the USA is not a “pure” democracy, nor was it designed to be so. There are many fallacies I could get into here, each as important as the rest, but the main one I want to focus on right here is the founding fathers of this nation had some rather nasty first-hand experience in dealing with what they called the “tyranny of the majority”. They knew the dangers that the majority could impose on the minority, including the taking away of individual rights they felt each person had bestowed upon them¬† simply because they were born a human being.

As I sit here writing this, I find myself a bit overwhelmed at the complexity of this issue. Not so much the issue itself, but people’s lack of understanding of it. It seems almost asinine for me to sit here and try to explain it, as this should be drilled into the head of every kid before he or she ever receives a diploma, but the office of President of the United States was never set up to represent the people directly. The office is set up to represent the States. The Senate was designed that way also. Only the House of Representatives was designed to represent the people directly. This was designed so that the more populous states did not have as much “control” over the less populous states. The Electoral College assures that each STATE gets an appropriate voice in the role of government, not necessarily each PERSON. If we do away with the Electoral College, we just as well erase all the lines on the map indicating individual states. The elimination of the Electoral College would make the concept of “states” a totally useless concept altogether. And the concept of “states” was one of the tools the founding fathers set up to help prevent this “tyranny of the majority”. In a major way, that’s what the entire Constitution was set up to do. It was set up to protect the minority. The majority very rarely needs protecting.

There is nothing wrong with the system of the Electoral College. As I stated previously, it did what it was designed to do. Yes, Trump beat Clinton because of the Electoral College process, even though Clinton won the popular vote. The problem, however, was not the Electoral College. The problem was a grossly uninformed electorate. That, along with an obscenely apathetic electorate. The founding fathers also knew the importance of a well-informed populace in our political process. Along with a populace that actually gives a shit. In fact, had our electorate actually been adequately informed and involved, neither ONE of these “candidates” would have even come close to rising to the level of consideration for the office. The very fact that there are so many factions out there right now trying to eliminate the Electoral College is in and of itself proof of the level of ignorance within our population. Many people don’t even understand the concept of why we have an Electoral College, let alone the importance of it.

That being said, the main reason I posted the video by Robert Reich wasn’t because I agree in the slightest with his concept of eliminating the Electoral College.¬† However, I DO agree with his idea for rendering it “useless”. Mr. Reich is totally correct in his assertion that states can allocate their Electoral votes in any way they wish. States can indeed make laws that state that their Electoral votes can automatically go to whoever wins the popular vote. It is well within each state’s right to do so under the Constitution. Ironically, this would not end up making the Electoral College “useless”. It would do exactly what the Electoral College was designed to do. Let the states do with their Electoral votes whatever they wish.

Just like the founding fathers intended.

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False Premises

speak the truth-copsOkay yeah, so the world is pretty messed up right now. Not that that’s a NEW thing, but we do seem to be in a rather turbulent tailspin. Corporations seem to gain more and more control over our politicians and media, reality TV stars inhabit the White House, everybody’s blaming all the wrong people for the ills of our society, and the “dumbing down” of America is progressing probably even more successfully than the designers themselves even imagined.

I’m somewhat at a loss to even know where to begin to even define the problems, let alone offering any substantial input as to how to solve them. It’s almost like trying to unravel a huge jumbled pile of kite string. It’s usually best to try and start on one end and carefully unthread through the maze, but it seems most people can’t resist wanting to start in the middle somewhere. But loosening one section just ends up tightening another.

One of the main purposes of this blog (once I get it actually up and running) is to hopefully shine some light into some darkened corners. To make people think in ways they might not have considered before. Or maybe even start thinking, period. It’s amazing to me many times how often people take what they’re told at face value without even considering looking into the origins of what they’re told, or verifying what others present as facts. As a result, I seem to be constantly barraged by statements I know not to be true, or at least cannot be verified.

I’ve also come to the understanding, more times than I care to recount, that most people don’t like having their beliefs or assumptions questioned. And most times attempting to do so does little more than piss them off. Plus the more you talk to them the more you come to the realization just how ingrained their beliefs and assumptions are, how interwoven they are with other beliefs and assumptions, and you find yourself once again attempting to unravel that tangle of kite string from the middle outward.

So, for the longest time I’ve chosen to just stay silent. Perhaps it’s just utter arrogance of me to wonder at times whether my silence might at least be partially to blame for all the bullshit that’s going on in the world right now. Back when I was an “anonymous” activist, I did see, or at least feel, the results of my participation making a difference. Some in small ways, a few in larger ways, but I didn’t feel that my contribution to the discourse was in vain. My input, even if it didn’t outright change someone’s mind, at least got the wheels in their brains spinning, and I felt my words were at least being considered, even if they weren’t outright accepted.

Part of the reason that I stopped participating in open discussions concerning social issues was because of personal issues going on at the time, but mainly because the “climate” had started to change. I think for my own mental health and well-being, I reached a point where I just had to step back. In many ways, it felt like my efforts were all becoming just one big Monty Python sketch.

“Maybe things will get better at some point,” I told myself.

They didn’t.

In fact if anything it’s even worse. There seems to be little if anything even resembling “debate” anymore. Last year’s political debates were atrocious. In fact, to even call them “debates” is laughable at best. And no one seems to notice. In fact, this seems to be the preferable option for most people. Pick a side, blare your anthem, cheer your team, and close your mind.

Facts? Who the fuck needs ’em? Different perspectives? That will only confuse the issue. Argue, argue, argue. Rah rah rah. Make your point the only one that matters, or worthy of any validity. Even if it means spewing out a bunch of name-calling, burning a few crosses, slamming a reporter down to the floor, or even cutting a throat or two.

I’m desperately waiting for John Cleese to appear at some point and say, “And now for something completely different…”

Well, a wise man once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

So… Let’s see if we can’t unravel a few strings.

believe in your ability