“Remember that Madison’s First Amendment narrates the odyssey of a democratic idea, (1) born in the conscience of a free citizen protected against government interference by the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses and proceeding through: (2) freedom of speech (the public articulation of the idea); (3) freedom of the press (mass dissemination of the idea to the general public); (4) freedom of assembly (collective action on behalf of the idea); and (5) freedom to petition for a redress of grievances (insertion of the idea into the formal processes of democratic lawmaking).”This paragraph, given the 2019 political reality we live in, caught my eye:
Page 76. Madison’s Music by Burt Neuborne
“Our democratic scorecard leaves a good deal to be desired. The Electoral College, with a vote allocation formula that overrepresents rural states and constantly threatens to choose (and twice has chosen) the loser of the popular vote as president, is nobody’s ideal of a distinguished way to elect a democratic chief executive. Nor can we be proud of our absurdly malapportioned Senate, where Montana, with 570,000 people, enjoys the same political representation as California, with 38 million, and where a filibuster rule enables senators representing 11 percent of the people to block laws desired by senators representing more than 89 percent. We certainly can’t brag about the way we elect members of the House of Representatives when more than 80 percent of the elections are rigged by gerrymandering, or about House procedures where, under current rules, 118 Republicans can prevent the remaining 317 members from voting on legislation. Nor can we be proud or our appalling approach to election administration and voter registration. We have the lowest electoral turnouts in the democratic world, especially by the poor. If more than half the people vote in a presidential election, we consider it a triumph. We get positively giddy if all the votes actually get counted. Finally, if someone tried, he couldn’t design a worse way to finance democracy than our judicially imposed campaign finance system, which guarantees the very rich, including large for-profit corporations, an absolute right to spend as much as they can in often successful efforts to manipulate voters and control elected officials.”Good book. Worth reading.
Page 148 – 149. Madison’s Music by Burt Neuborne