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Looking Back | Marching Onward

I suppose that an alternate title for this post could be "Why I Tend To Vote Democrat, Even Though I Don't Like Them Much, Either...".

As this column from The Washington Monthly points out: Despite a professed reverence for the U.S. Constitution, various far-right activists extremists (sometimes with the backing of assorted GOP party leaders or hopefuls) have recently proposed...

... repealing the 17th Amendment, ratified 1913, which established the direct election of US Senators by popular vote.  Apparently, some people believe that the direct popular election of their Federal representatives is somehow "undemocratic".  I do not understand how the logic behind this works...

... repealing the 16th Amendment, ratified 1913, which established the modern income tax.  Because it's not like we use income tax revenue (which is almost half of all current federal revenue) to pay for things like national security, national infrastructure, paying down the national debt, or federally mandated programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or Veteran Benefits.  (As this chart of the 2010 Federal Budget shows, there is NO WAY to manage the modern US Government, even if it were drastically reduced, without income tax revenue, since more than 1/3 of the current budget runs AT A DEFICIT.  You would think that the "party of fiscal responsibility" would understand that.)

... repealing part (and in some cases, ALL) of the 14th Amendment, ratified 1868, a far-reaching law which a). defined citizens as "all persons born or naturalized in the United States", thus making blacks full citizens (reversing the Dred Scott Decision) and making the children and descendants of immigrants (like, y'know, MOST of us in the US) full citizens, b). requiring due process for all citizens, c). providing equal protection under the law, which became the basis for modern civil rights and the end of segregation, and d). states unequivocally that the Bill of Rights applies, not just to the Federal government, but to all of the States.

... "restoring" the "original 13th Amendment", also known as the "Titles Of Nobility Amendment", which states that anyone who accepts a "title of nobility or honour" from a foreign power, then they will be stripped of their US citizenship.  (The TONA has, despite arguments to the contrary, was never verifiably ratified by enough states to adopt it.)  Many of those who support this do so for the specific (and stated) purpose of stripping President Obama of his citizenship for accepting the Nobel Peace Prize.  Of course, theoretically, it would also strip former President Carter and former Vice-President Al Gore of their citizenships, as well as Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson (retroactively).  And we won't even TALK about all of the American scientists, artists, and others who've won various Nobel prizes over the years.  Or the fact that the Nobel Committee is not a foreign power, and thus this law wouldn't apply.  And there are even those who state the the CURRENT 13th Amendment (which, BTW, is the amendment that abolished slavery!) should be REPEALED, and be replaced with the "original" version!  (Don't believe me?  This is from the Iowa Republican Party Platform: "7.19: We call for the reintroduction and ratification of the original 13th Amendment, not the 13th Amendment in today’s Constitution." Gee, sure sounds like getting rid of the current version to me!)

In fact, go and check out that Party Platform from the Iowa GOP.  Some of the planks are reasonable, or at least arguable.  Hell, there are some that I would even AGREE with!  But many of the statements made in it (and there are too many for me to list here) at the least display a stunning lack of compassion for one's fellow man, and at worst display a stunning lack of comprehension of objective reality. 

Are there wingnuts on the left as well?  Of COURSE there are!  However, last I looked, the Democratic Party was not in any danger of being taken over by groups or individuals that want total nationalization of the economy, oppose national sovereignty, want religion outlawed, or believe that 9/11 was a government conspiracy.  If anything, people who express those views tend to be shoved to the sidelines.  However, in the Republican Party, wingnuts who want an entirely non-regulated economy, believe that the US bears NO responsibility to the other nations of the world, work toward the establishment of a "Christian" (and I use that term loosely) theocratic state, and think that the President is a "secret Muslim" who'd going to impose Shari'a law across the land... well, not only are they NOT sidelined, but in many cases they speak for and run the party!

There is NO equivalency here!  The Dems are a moderate-left party, but the Repubs are swinging past the far-right and into a strange fantasy land that combines the dreams of Ayn Rand with the nightmares of Thomas Jefferson, and the moderate-right is being left out in the cold.  In fact, the moderate-right seems to be viewed by these self-described "True Republicans" as being liberal, of all things!  Well, if you define "liberal" as "everybody to the left of ME", then I guess that they'd be correct.  Of course, that's a flawed definition, but redefinition tends to be these people's strong suit.  And, frankly, without a strong, reasonable Right to butt heads with a strong, reasonable Left, things break down.  Each side needs to be tempered by the other so that the best ideas are the ones that win out.

I will grant, at least as a generality, the old saw that all politicians are crooks.  However, the Republican Party is, slowly but surely, being taken over by fanatics and lunatics.  And, frankly, give me just a crook over a crooked fanatic or lunatic any day.




( 7 Things said — Have something to say? )
Aug. 4th, 2010 08:45 pm (UTC)
I have heard one, and only one, good argument for repealing the 17th amendment.

Back when Senators were chosen by state legislatures, there was a kind of a "pecking order", and after a couple of terms, a Senator would be succeeded by the next "deserving" politician in the pecking order. This became a de facto term limit.

Nowadays, incumbency has so many privileges that a statewide officer on the national stage is almost always reelected by the democratic masses. The Supreme Soviet had a higher turnover rate than the U.S. Senate does now.

Now, I don't really want a return to the smoke-filled room method of choosing Senators; I think that a 10-year term limit on Representatives and a 20-year (effectively 18, except for fill-in appointments) term limit on Senators would keep both sets of politicians from acting as if they had lifetime tenure.

BTW: the whole thing against "Titles"? It's in the body of the Constitution now (preventing states and the Feds from granting titles). This amendment would only be necessary to stop honorary titles from other countries; such titles are not enforceable in the slightest in this one.

We do not currently use income tax to pay for Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid; those are distinct payroll taxes called "FICA" (and yeah, I forgot what that stands for, and yeah, I don't really care enough to look it up). However, as the "Social Security Trust Fund" is a stack of IOUs in the form of Treasury Bills, we will eventually be paying for those with income taxes.

I'd be fine with an amendment which repeals the income tax just as soon as the national debt is paid off.
Aug. 4th, 2010 11:27 pm (UTC)
The repeal of the 16th amendment would be necessary in order to switch to a consumption or sales tax. Failure to do so would damage further an already weakend economy.

Aug. 4th, 2010 08:45 pm (UTC)
Originally, the Senate was supposed to be the representatives of the states. Maybe they feel that the states should have some say in how the federal government is run again.
Aug. 4th, 2010 08:47 pm (UTC)
Um, Hugh. I seriously invite you to closely examine where the current Democratic party is going with their close ties to various organizations of a severe progressive agenda. They are no longer moderate left.
Aug. 4th, 2010 08:48 pm (UTC)
Oh, I forgot to mention earlier:

Anyone who wants to touch the 14th amendment can kiss my Federalist ass.
Aug. 4th, 2010 09:39 pm (UTC)
Aren't Dark Ages fun? I'm giving us a decade, generously, before some serious casualties begin.
Aug. 5th, 2010 12:46 pm (UTC)
There's more to the repeal idea for the 14th amendment. That's the amendment that guarantees equal protection and due process under the law. If they repeal this one, they don't have to allow same sex couples to marry. Isn't that nifty.

They also don't have to allow marriages between different races and/or religions if they repeal that amendment.
( 7 Things said — Have something to say? )