Almost everybody would think that the United States of America is the place where the majority rules. But is that really the case and was that actually the intention of the people who wrote our Constitution? What most people don’t realize is that until the United States of America came together and wrote its Constitution there was no constitutional democratic majority rule government, or nation, in the entire world. We were the first and it was certainly a grand experiment. They did a good job and it has been amended, or changed, only a very few times in the last 232 years. Rhode Island was the last state to ratify the Constitution on September 17, 1787, making it the law of the land and replacing the Articles of Confederation. Our original Constitution was not perfect as it allowed for slavery and gave only property-owning white men the right to vote. It took the Thirteenth Amendment to expunged the stain of slavery from our basic law, but the Constitution has never fulfilled the democratic promise we associate with it. Put simply—and this is surprising to many people—there is no constitutional guarantee of the right to vote. Qualifications to vote in House and Senate elections are decided by each state, as the Supreme Court affirmed in Bush v. Gore stating that “the individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States.” And remember women did not get the right to vote until 1920. During our recent history the age requirement for voting was lowered from 21 to 18. I hope you are beginning to see how complicated our process of voting is and why the idea of majority rule is so complicated. You see the founding fathers thought that only educated, informed, and well-off people ought to vote. That’s why they gave the vote only to white men who owned property. And still today we have a problem with uneducated ignorant people who do not understand anything about our government going to the polls and voting for candidates based on their popularity and what they might say, which just might not be true. We can, however, solve this problem by trying to educate every citizen of our country. This might mean subsidizing the cost of education, changing the type of education we offer, and also controlling certain media that influences people in the wrong direction. I can see no reason for two nightly news programs who report the news in totally opposite directions. We also have all types of voter suppression laws, some of which were so awful that they have been abandoned, like the poll tax that kept people from voting after segregation ended. And we have gerrymandering, which tries to group people together to skew the vote in the direction of the political party that draws the district lines. There are places in the country where the majority of the people are in one party and yet in six districts the smaller party can win four of them every year based on the gerrymandered districts. And many other ways are used to keep people from voting including outright election fraud. One of our biggest problems is that the biggest group of people in the country are the ones that don’t vote. You would think that in the country that invented voting that people would be proud enough of that fact to go and participate in every election. The more people that vote, the more likely we are to have a majority that rules. What Matters Most...... even with all of its problems our system of voting and election and belief in majority rule is I think the right and proper way for people to organize themselves into a country. But I also think that the problems that come up need to be addressed and solved. And they can be if the goal is always to have the majority rule.
© 2019 #19 - Jim High can be reached at 20 Road 447, Iuka, MS 38852 or call 662-401-1932.