Friday, November 18, 2016
The other night I overheard the most unusual conversation. I can only assume I was half-dreaming, half-awake.
From downstairs I heard a little voice;
“Wha---What is it Ike?” , came a groggy reply.
“I can't sleep.”
I was about to awaken LB, but I was uncertain what her response would be. Besides, I was absolutely mesmerized by what I was hearing.
“So I have noticed...what's up?” Mimi replied a bit cranky sounding.
“Well...I was thinking. Remember that 'lection a week or so ago?”
“Of course. How can anyone forget?”
“Yeah! I am so glad to not have to hear any more ads! But...what's next?”
I was amazed! All the while I thought these two had the attention span of a zucchini, they were actually paying attention!
“Well, hmm... this is your first Presidential election! I forgot! Being 13 in dog years and about 86 in human years plays tricks with my memory. The current President will finish his term of office, and the President-elect will take the Oath of Office on January 20 of 2017. That is called the Inauguration”
“Uh-huh...but there are so many upset people! What about the Electrician's College?”
“The what?? OH! You mean the Electoral College! Yes, that is a uniquely American institution. It is not literally a college, but rather a means to ensure citizens in less populous states have a voice in choosing the President.”
“How does it work?”
“Each State has a determined number of Electors. That number is based upon 2 Senators, and the number of Congressional Representatives that State has. For example, Ohio has 16 Congressional districts/representatives and 2 Senators. Therefore, Ohio has 18 Electoral votes.
The District of Columbia, although not a State, has 3 Electoral votes.”
“Why did they do that?”
“A concern of our Nation's Founders was the prospect of more populous areas essentially controlling the elections of President. The less populated and rural areas would not have as strong a voice in determining who their leader would be.”
“Yes, it is not perfect; but we don't live in a perfect world. Yet without this system, our elections would be controlled by only a few states.”
“Oh, so people in the smaller states get a voice.”
“But, some people want to change all this.”
“Yes, there are some. But it would not be an easy thing to to. See, the Electoral College is insulated by the Constitution. Specifically in Article II, section 1; the XII and XXIII Amendments.”
“Can it be changed?”
“It can, by a new Amendment being passed, or ratified, by two-thirds of the States.”
“Let's see... 50 States... two-thirds...”.
“Thirty-three States, Ike.”
“Wow...that's a lot!”
“Yes. That was by design, as the Founders wanted to avoid the Constitution being tinkered with willy-nilly. While many Amendments have been very, very good; they still wanted the citizens of the United States to think long and hard about how we are governed.”
“Hmm.... I know I am pretty young and haven't seen as much as you; but it seems like America is able to handle a lot.”
“Yes, she sure can Ike. This country has been through, and made stronger because of a lot.”
“What do you think the future will be?”
“This reminds me of a bit of history. In 1787. the Congressional Convention was held in Philadelphia.
It was kept in very strict secrecy. The raging debate among the citizens of the fledgling country was what would we be? Would we have a king to rule over us? Or would we be able to choose our own leaders, with power coming from the governed, not the governing. Finally, the Convention ended.
As the delegates were leaving, a Mrs. Powell of Philadelphia called out to Benjamin Franklin; 'Well, Doctor. What do we have? A monarchy or a Republic?' With no hesitation, Franklin replied 'A Republic, if you can keep it.'”
“Hmm.....'if you can keep it'. Think they will?”
“They have so far, Little Buddy. I am confident they will for some time.”
“That's good to hear. Thanks, Mimi.”
“No problem, Ike. Good night.”
Silence settled over the house. I shook my head in disbelief. Incredible! Mimi was absolutely right in her Constitutional references! Not to mention the anecdote about Franklin! She must have stumbled upon some of my History textbooks.
Then, a little, tentative voice
.”Mimi? Why is the moon so bright???”
“Oh Ike! I'm tired. We'll talk tomorrow.”
Soon, the soothing sounds of canine snores lulled me back to sleep. I sure wish LB wasn't such a heavy sleeper. She'll never believe this.