Tuesday, August 24, 2010

On the 17th ...

I’m a people person.

I like meeting new people and getting to know them. I like people who take an interest in getting to know me.

For a variety of reasons, I’ve met a lot of new people lately and am really enjoying the “getting to know you” process that inevitably occurs.

As a result, I’ve answered questions in the last week about where I live, what kind of movies I like, what my favorite bands are, etc.

One question I was asked, though, isn’t typically in the list with favorite color or the nocturnal habits of my hedgehog; “Which of the Constitution’s 27 Amendments do you want repealed?”

That question came to me via Facebook, the social website that has taken the place of real social interaction.

Specifically, the question was, “so which of the Constitution’s 27 amendments do you want repealed? Because that’s the thing about the tea party types — they want to return to the founders, who by the way did not prohibit slavery, or child labor, or cruel and unusual punishment. Ironically, limiting the powers of the federal government to only those specifically granted by the Constitution was not granted until the 10th amendment, so better not repeal that one ...”

I think the United States is the greatest country in the history of civilization, but that doesn’t mean that we’re perfect.

There are actually three amendments I’d repeal; the 12th, the 16th and the 17th.

For those of you without a pocket Constitution (in other words, everyone but Bob Confer), the 12th Amendment revises the presidential election process, the 16th creates the IRS and income tax and the 17th revises how senators are elected.

Of the three, the one I like least is the 17th because it is the one that most dilutes the states’ powers. You may recall I’m a huge proponent of states’ rights. Actually the conversation that brought on the question of what amendments I’d repeal was born with a discussion on the holy grail of states’ rights, the 10th Amendment.

Prior to 1913, United States senators were not directly elected. You wouldn’t find them on a ballot. They were appointed by the legislatures of the states themselves.

Over time, a movement grew suggesting that U.S. senators didn’t represent the people and eventually direct election won out.

The problem I have with the whole thing is that U.S. senators aren’t supposed to represent the people. That’s what the House of Representatives is for. The Senate is supposed to represent the states.

China has official representation in Washington, but the state of New York does not. It all seems quite silly to me.

As for the 12th and the 16th, I’ll tackle those amendments in the future. Maybe here in this column. Maybe on my blog at www.scottleffler.com, which you’re always encouraged to check out. After all, I do like social interaction, me being a people person and all.