“Mean What you Say and Say What You Mean”: A Call to Constitutional Fidelity
As I spoke to people in Alabama’s 3rd District everyday as I gathered the necessary signatures to gain ballot access, two “gripes” surfaced time and time again. The first is that people are sick of the D.C. corruption. The second is that Representative Mike Rogers is very hard to access. In the latter, my dad had a sign on the wall of his home office that said, “Don’t judge me until you have walked in my moccasins.” I don’t want to be too hard on Mike Rogers since I have never had to represent approximately 700,000 people. However, I offer a solution that will address both gripes. The solution is to simply right the wrong where the constitution was clearly not followed in The Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929.
Article 1, Section II of the US Constitution specifically declares that the number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand. The U.S. Congress essentially turned a blind eye to their oaths to follow the constitution and the constitution itself with the Permanent Apportionment Act. Presently, a Representative in the U.S. congress has a constituency of approximately 700,000 people. I understand the practical reasons that congress wanted to set a limit to 435 representatives in the U.S. Congress. However, within the constitution, there is a means to amend the constitution to make the changes that is deemed necessary.
My father, though imperfect as all of us, thoroughly instilled it in me to “mean what you say and say what you mean.” You don’t just blatantly disregard both your oath and the constitution and do whatever the heck you want to do. If congress wants to limit the number of representatives in the House to 435, then go through the constitutional procedures to amend the constitution to make that change.
However, what I propose is not amending the constitution to cap the number of representatives to 435 as was done unconstitutionally in the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929, nor is it to have approximately 11,000 members in the House of Representatives if we were to follow the Constitution as it is at the present. If my own children have heard me say it once they have heard me say it one thousand times, that is, “Life is a happy medium.”. I propose amending the constitution and changing the number of people that each person in congress will represent from 30,000 to 145,000. According to our current population, this would give us approximately 2000 Representatives in the House and will aid in fixing both “gripes” I have heard so frequently.
With only 145,000 people to represent instead of 700,000, constituents will have much greater access to their U.S. Representative and thus more of a voice with them. However, I believe that the more important benefit will be that if the power is distributed to a much larger group of people, “special interest groups” will have a much more difficult time paying off Representatives to have their way. Although I believe we should cut our Representatives salary in half to help offset the expenses of such a proposal, I can assure you that even quadrupling the number of salaries that will need to be paid will only be a drop in the bucket compared to the big government spending due to corruption that takes place with the power concentrated in a more elite number.
Regardless if the constitution is amended so that each representative would have a substantially higher number of constituents than what I propose, the bottom line is that our federal government elected officials vow to uphold the constitution and I believe it is the responsibility of future members of congress to right the wrongs of the past when they can. All it takes is an amendment to the constitution to do so and our constitution provides procedures to amend itself. Such lack of integrity will continue to be our downfall if the present way of doing things in D.C. is not corrected. Whatever you think of my proposal, please stand with me to stop this disregard of our constitution and use the power vested in “We the People” in our vote to call upon our national leadership elected representatives to simply “mean what you say and say what you mean.”