Only direct elections of senators will do Columnist George Will op poses my proposed constitutional amendment, which would prevent governors from filling U.S. Senate vacancies with their handpicked choices. But he also reveals his jaw-dropping contempt for democracy, as well as the 17th Amendment itself, which, beginning in 1913, required the direct election of senators. "It would be better to repeal it," he says ("An apology would do," Feb. 23).
Prompted by scandal, the 17th Amendment was an important step in our nation's progress toward full democracy. Nine cases of bribery came before the Senate between 1866 and 1906, including a celebrated case from the state of Illinois. And between 1891 and 1905, the state legislatures from 20 different states deadlocked 45 times when trying to pick a senator. At one point, a Senate seat from Delaware remained vacant for four years because of deadlocks. While the framers got a lot right, their decision to deny the people the right to choose their senators has not stood the test of time.
Nearly 100 years after the 17th Amendment was ratified, there can be little doubt that the amendment was a good idea -- but that allowing governors to still pick temporary replacement senators was a mistake. My proposed constitutional amendment is the best way to avoid a repeat of the Blagojevich scandal, the circus surrounding the New York vacancy and the temptation for political gamesmanship evident in other cases. Will is right about one thing: I share the early 20th-century progressives' belief that more democracy, not less, is the best way to fulfill the promise of our Constitution. Requiring that all senators be elected by the people is an idea whose time has come.
-- RUSS FEINGOLD, Wisconsin
The writer, a Democrat, represents Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate.
Comment: Feingold clearly doesn't understand the foundation of the US Constitution or the "republic." But this isn't because Feingold is a product of the US Government education system and unaware, I don't know, he may in fact be, but rather it’s because his knowledge and understanding is of Fabian socialism instead of US constitutional history or law. It was Fabian socialism that permeated all “progressive’ thought in 1913, as it does today. Feingold, as all socialists, cares nothing for democracy or freedoms, only government domination of the citizenry, and this domination is achieved by attacking institutions such as family, the church, and decentralized republic government under the guise of democracy.
The march has been steady since the early 20th century to socialism, and as we have seen of late concerning the proposed nationalization of our banking system and the huge sums of money our elected officials have handed over to corrupt bankers with overwhelming rejection made by the American people, the overwhelming indication is that the march is gaining momentum. And Feingold seeks to ensure the momentum continues.
The constitutional amendment that Feingold and McCain are proposing is not the result of the Blagojevich scandal, his statement is misleading; this has been in their hip pocket for sometime now only waiting for an opportunity to reveal it under a false setting. Feingold as well as McCain are socialist depots that only seek the enslavement of our nation.
Words of a reactionary you might say; sure, say that now, but when we have elected government officials openly calling for the nationalization of our banks and even worse others calling for a one world bank system outside the scope and reach of the American people, this is the real “sum of all fears,” not some nuclear bomb that kills a limited number of lives. So call me a reactionary, but when one considers the above and all of Feingold and McCain’s assaults on the Constitution and our heritage, I say it’s time to be more than a little reactionary…