Saturday, November 21, 2015

"At this Point, What Differend Does it Make?

Mack Hall, HSG

“At This Point, What Difference Does it Make?”

The Constitution, through a series of complexities including the Electoral College (and, hey, is their team going to a bowl game this season?), provides for the election of certain federal officials through a cloud of obscure words and run-on sentences, and a complete lack of paragraphing. Quick, now, sort this out:

The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;-The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall be counted;-The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person having such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the vote shall be taken by states…

Got all that?

This is only the beginning of an excerpt from Article II, modified by the 12th Amendment, itself later modified by the 20th Amendment. To understand the Constitution requires neither an attorney nor the Delphic Oracle, but a miracle. If our repeatedly patched-up, added-on, and torn-from Constitution were a building it couldn’t pass the plumbing code in Tupelo, Mississippi.

At present the Constitution seems much ignored anyway, with rule by executive and judicial fiat, and now selection of candidates by comedy programs on declining television networks.

Is there a presidential candidate in the last three or four election cycles who hasn’t been required to present himself or herself for an inquisition by talk shows, comedy shows, or the screaming coven on daytime teevee?

Imagine George Washington in a comedy sketch – “Okay, George, we’ve got this really funny set-up. You’re back at Jumonville Glen in 1754, okay, ha-ha…?”

Or President Truman – “Right, then, it’s 1945, late at night in the White House; you are in prayer for hours about whether to use the atomic bomb, and an aide sneaks up behind you and pops a balloon. What a classy network comedy moment, eh!”

Lyndon Johnson could guest on Gilligan’s Island in a skit about the Professor performing an emergency appendectomy on the President, bungled by Gilligan’s well-meaning attempts to help. The President then holds Gilligan up by his ears. Broadcast date 4 August 1964.

Given that broadcast television is declining, perhaps in 2019 potential candidates will be selected by the number of their electronic friends on MyFaceSpaceBook. President Justin Bieber right there in your in-box, pitching a shrieking hissy-fit so intense that his junior high school tattoos fly off.

In the meantime, stay tuned for next week’s Dancing with the Stars featuring Kim Jong Un.

On this Veterans’ Day we may well reflect on how all of us, especially young Americans in the military deployed in hot zones all over the world, deserve constitutional government, not arbitrary rule by personalities in two of our branches of government while most – there are noble exceptions - of the members of the third branch sit around, form committees, and investigate things without results.


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