Geogre Takai did it. Michael Sam did it. Even Lance Bass did it. So how can I resist doing it, too? After a lot of thought, I’ve decided it’s time for me to come out.
Now that I’ve piqued your curiosity, I’ll reveal that I’ve decided to come out against the Seventeenth Amendment to the US Constitution. That’s right. Feel free to stop reading now, I won’t be insulted.
The Seventeenth Amendment provides for the direct election of US Senators by popular vote of the electorate. Prior to its ratification in 1913 Senators were elected by the legislature of the state that they represented.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, Sure, this is an extremely fascinating and sexy topic, but why would anyone be opposed to direct election of Senators? Isn’t it good to give the power of direct election to the people rather than to the state legislature? Well, I don’t care for your tone but I’ll respond anyway.
First of all, let’s face the fact that most Americans know little to nothing about what goes on in their state legislature. If you view that as a problem, which I do, then you’d like to devise some way to evoke interest in what’s happening down at the state capitol. Despite that fact, Americans care a lot about what goes on in Congress. I’m not sure exactly why that is, but my guess is that it has something to do with cable news. So, if we’d like to drum up interest in affairs at the state level our options are to either give the state legislature a more active role in what goes on in Washington, or launch a new version of Fox News for each of the fifty states. I’d prefer a solution that doesn’t result in me wanting to blow my brains out, so for me allowing the state legislatures to select US Senators seems like a fair option.
Second, and perhaps even more obvious, as an electorate we tend to be really bad at electing Senators. Don’t believe me? Check the approval ratings of our current Senate – they’re not just low, they’re literally the lowest ever. So to say that an alternative method of appointing Senators couldn’t be any worse is just about inarguable. And because the state legislature must deal with issues at a state level, they’re far more likely to appoint Senators who will look out for the interests of the state, rather than basing their votes on knee-jerk reactions to hot button issues (not that the American people ever do that sort of thing).
Let’s face it, good ol’ number Seventeen had a good run, but the jig is up. It’s time to repeal our old friend. It’ll be all the fun of amending the Constitution, plus the added bonus of more politicians appointing other politicians. What could possibly go wrong?