, Port Arthur, Texas

September 24, 2012

Ridiculous Rick and the 17th Amendment

Neal Morgan
The Port Arthur News

NEDERLAND — Back in 2011, when our governor, Ridiculous Republican Rick, decided he wanted to be President of the United States — which is like being president of the world — he embraced an idea that once enthralled the John Birch Society. That idea is now part of the GOP (Greedy Old Party) motivation.

Perry and the GOP wanted to eliminate the direct election of senators by American voters.

Perry is, of course, a far right-wing radical who has appointed six Republicans to the Texas Supreme Court. Which means, if you have a civil suit against any member of Corporate America, which goes before that high court, you may as well forget it. You ain't gonna win.

Perry wants to void the Seventeenth Amendment by changing the way senators get into office.

In an interview with the “Daily Beast”, 2010, Perry, in his convoluted way, declared, “The 17th Amendment is one of those where they were making...the states were historically more in control when they decided who those senators were going to be. They took the states out of the process at that particular point in time. So that's the...uh...the historic concept of checks and balances, when you had the concept of the federal government and the states. The 17th Amendment is when the states started getting out of balance with the federal government...”

Adopted in 1913, the 17th Amendment settled a large problem. While the House of Representatives members were elected by the voters, the Senate was appointed by governors and state legislatures. Therefore, senators were put in office by insiders...and that went on from 1789 till 1913.

So, as one nowadays or back then might suspect, men who were rich enough bought their way into the United States Senate. Finally, it became public knowledge that senate seats were being bought, and American voters were outraged.

Surprisingly, and hard to believe when looking at today's GOP, those who pushed hardest for a change were Republican senators. Wisconsin's Robert LaFollete, Idaho's William Boran, and Kansas' Joseph Bristow, all Republicans, were the most vocal against the governors' appointment of United States Senators.

So much of Republican thinking has changed since LaFollete told the greatest truth... “The cure for what ails democracy is more democracy.”

Ridiculous Rick doesn't seem to understand that. Maybe he was too busy being a cheerleader at Texas A&M.

Voting rights for women, which only occurred fairly recently, should exhibit how democracy depends on hearing the voices of all Americans...even though the present, Repulican dominated, US Supreme Court, with “Citizens United” has tried to make us believe corporations are people...and thus allow them to buy Congress. Everyone, of course, should always be able to vote themselves, not let  people like Ridiculous Rick pick senators.

He, and other Republican governors like him, don't want you to have much say in what happens...even in your own town. For example...

As of 2011, Scott Walker, Wisconsin Republican governor, moved to refuse the authority of local school boards to make any decisions about charter schools and education policy in their own districts. He wanted to let a board be appointed to make those decisions, appointed by him, of course. That way, as is easily seen, local people would have no voice in their schools' major decisions. Perry and Walker seem to agree on those things.

We must, all of us, remember that “freedom ain't free”, it's a constant fight.

Rick Perry, and too many others just like him, are mounting an assault on democracy.

All those who are gubernatorial members of the GOP (Greedy Old Party) are the ones who are mounting the attack. And their wish is to take away — in one way or another — your right to vote or make decisions, in local and state elections.

They don't want you passing laws that will protect workers, raise the minimum wage, keep you healthy, or extend your sick leave.

However, they often misjudge the American people who refuse to vote against themselves.

Which is one of the reasons Ridiculous Rick wasn't nominated for President of the United States.

Neal Morgan of Nederland is a retired educator. Contact Morgan at