James Leroy Wilson's blog

Monday, October 27, 2008

Are you being represented?

http://www.downsizedc.org/blog/are+you+being+represented%3F

Quote of the Day:

"...the House of Representatives will, within a single century, consist of more than six hundred members."

-- Founding Father James Wilson, November 30, 1787

Subject: Are you being represented?

Look what's happened to representative government . . .

* There were 105 House seats in the 1790's -- one for every 39,000 citizens

* House seats were limited to 435 in 1912 -- one for every 215,000 citizens

* Today, House districts represent over 700,000 people

* House districts are now 18 times larger than they were in 1790

Many voting restrictions have been removed, but are we better represented now than in the 1790's? House districts are now so large that . . .

* Your vote is more likely to be miscounted than to bear much weight in an election

* Direct contact between Representatives and constituents is now extremely rare

* Election campaigns have become expensive mass-media efforts

* Incumbents are constantly re-elected because few can afford to challenge them

* Incumbents spend more time raising money from special interests, and less time representing YOU

These factors have helped create a Two Party Duopoly funded and controlled by special interests. We are reduced to only two unappealing choices on Election Day, and power has been drained away from state legislatures, which are closer (numerically and geographically) to the people.

Our government now represents only a tiny minority. Add up all the people . . .

* Who didn't vote (in many cases because they didn't like their choices), or . . .

* Who voted against the winner, or . . .

* Who voted for the winner only because he or she was the "lesser evil" . . .

. . . and it's safe to say that our present government has the consent of only a very few of the governed.

And yet, the growing size of House districts may not be the most significant loss of representation since the 1790's. After all, in those days most bills were read three full times before being passed. Today they are rarely read at all.

As we like to say "We hold this truth to be self-evident, that those in Congress who vote on legislation they have not read, have not represented their constituents. They have misrepresented them."

But it's important to recognize that there's one way we can be better represented than Americans were in the 1790s. Now we can send instructions to Congress at the speed of light. And if enough of us do that, for long enough, we could improve our representation in other ways too. For instance, we could compel Congress to pass Downsize DC's "Read the Bills Act" (RTBA).

Here's a specific example of why that's important . . .

In the week before they recessed on October 3, the House passed 40 bills totaling 535 pages, and the Senate passed 42 bills totalling 317 pages.

Little, if any, of this massive legislation was read by any member of the House or Senate. If you think that's wrong then please ask your elected Representatives to pass DownsizeDC.org's "Read the Bills Act." You can send your message here.

Please use your personal comments to . . .

* List the number of bills and pages of legislation that Congress passed in the week before October 3

* Object to the fact that members of Congress did not read this legislation before passing it

* Tell them you feel you are not being misrepresented

* Specifically, tell them that you are withdrawing your consent to be governed in such a manner

* Tell them the only remedy you will accept is the introduction of DownsizeDC.org's "Read the Bills Act"

Please also forward this message to others and Digg this message on our blog.

You can also spread the word by joining the Read the Bills Act Coalition. By joining, your blog or website will be linked to at DownsizeDC.org's main page, and will be mentioned in a Dispatch like this one reaching over 24,000 subscribers. To join, please write to rtbacoalition@downsizedc.org.

This week we welcome seven new members to the Coaltiion

Baby Steps

Ron Paul Is A Nut (And So Am I)

Baruch College Political Action Club

House of Roxx

American Creation

Red Dragon Audio

ryan susan ethan and lilly

A list of the bills passed in the week prior to October 3 can be found below my signature in the blog version of this Dispatch.

Thank you for being part of the growing Downsize DC Army.

James Wilson

Assistant to the President (not the Founding Father!)

DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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