Friday, January 30, 2009

An Open Letter to Senator Feingold

Dear Senator Feingold:

I hope this reaches you in good spirits. I wanted to contact you about your recent proposal for an amendment that would take the authority of selecting a replacement Senator from that state's governor and provide for special election so a state's electorate can choose instead.

I have a pretty good idea why you're doing this: not only the scandal involving Blagojevich's scheming to use Obama's vacancy to either enrich himself or try to use that Senate seat to escape his growing problems at home, but also the arguments over the New York and Delaware vacancies where issues of nepotism (Biden's son gets his dad's job? Caroline Kennedy or Andrew Cuomo? Or do you put in another lady whose dad is a major player in New York politics?) over merit made this too hard to ignore.

On the merits of your argument, I approve this attempt to amend the Constitution. As the law requires that vacancies in the House be filled by special election, so too should the Senate. After all, we directly elect our Senators now, and that also took an amendment to ensure the people have a say in whom they want to represent their state.

But I call you to task, sir, as this one amendment idea you're pushing alone will not fix the overall problems our nation have with our political leadership:
  • We still will have a problem with questionable representation due to hideous gerrymandering of our congressional districts, which favors parties but does not reflect the real populations of the states or the nation.
  • We still will have a problem with our elections process, especially with a primary system that is uneven and disproportionate, with rules that change from state to state, and with the states racing to get at the head of each primary season to the point of prolonging an already drawn-out process.
  • We still have a problem with people who still act and believe that the President of the United States is above the law, and that even out of office the criminal actions committed by that President and his underlings are protected and should not be prosecuted. And sometimes, when someone does get caught and convicted, or someone is under serious investigation for criminal wrongdoing, the President simply waves his hand with a pardon or commuting of sentence, and the crime goes unpunished.

Senator Feingold, I call on you to answer these three problems I just mentioned. I call on you to introduce more amendments to a vote, amendments that are more truly needed than just a simple correction of how Senators get chosen. We need:
  • An amendment that eliminates gerrymandered congressional districts, by making it illegal for any district to be designed based on party affiliation, by ensuring a district conforms to population density and to boundaries both natural (rivers, lakes, mountains) and man made (city limits, county lines), and by establishing a non-partisan committee system in the states to review and redraw district boundaries per each ten-year census.
  • An amendment that forces parties to define their primary systems to a uniform code so there is no confusion from state to state, that requires a One-Day Primary like the majority of Americans want so ALL states get an equal say at the same time who they want representing their parties.
  • An amendment that spells out, in specific terms, THAT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS NOT ABOVE THE LAW, and that there will be no protection for anyone committing crimes while in service to a corrupt President's office (for example, barring a President from pardoning or commuting the sentence of any person who worked for his administration at any level).

Each of these amendment proposals I send to you, sir, would go a long way in restoring the people's trust in our electoral system, and in our elected leadership.

I am posting this on my blog, and I am copying and emailing this to your office (which I hope your website's email system can copy/paste). I would like to see a reply, preferably in the form of these proposals showing up on the floors of Congress.

Thank you for your time, and hopefully next year the Bucs will beat the Packers in the 2009-10 NFC Championship game.

(edited for geographic content: I thought Feingold was from Minnesota, found out he's Wisconsin instead, ach)

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