Congress Was a Good Idea

The Founding Fathers at the Constitutional Convention had a good idea—setting up a national Congress with two houses: one to act as representatives of the people directly; the other to answer to state legislatures. Neither one seems to be working the way the Founders originally intended.

The Senate lost its representative nature in 1913 with the passage of the 17th Amendment. No longer were the senators chosen by state legislatures; now the people would choose them directly. This sounded good to the progressives of the era, but it upended the reason for the Senate in the first place. It was to serve as the voice of state legislatures in the federal system. Senators now don’t care what their state legislatures want, since they appeal to the people for reelection. States have lost their representation.

The House continues to be the representative of the people in the states, but how often do these representatives actually listen to those people? Now, I don’t buy into the belief that representatives simply must do whatever the majority of the electorate tells them; I do believe they are to exercise independent judgment and then let the people decide whether or not to return them to office. However, in the case of the recent healthcare bill and other initiatives, it seems as if they don’t even care what the electorate wants. That can happen when one’s office becomes a mini-kingdom ruled by a mini-dictator.

The current majority in Congress has an air of superiority about it—what do the pygmies in “flyover country” really understand? We will tell them what to think. And if they don’t like it?

Or, if all else fails, bribe the people.

The Founders had the right idea. I like the concept of a Congress. Maybe if we change its makeup . . .