Mr. Smith Stays in Washington
My mom took me to my first movie in 1939 to see the “Wizard of Oz.” I was too young to understand the subtleties of the movie then, but I sure enjoyed the experience. My dad took me to see my second 1939 movie in 1940: “Gone With the Wind.” Another classic, sandwiched in between them was a movie I didn’t see until many years later: “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” There again, I didn’t understand the ramifications of this unique story. I do now!
The film was controversial when it was first released, however it was a box office hit and it made Jimmy Stewart a major movie star. It is considered to be one of the greatest films of all time. The Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 1989, deeming it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
How Mr. Smith got to Washington
A naive and idealistic Jefferson Smith, leader of the Boy Rangers, was appointed as a joke by the spineless governor of his state. (Not mentioned, but it was Montana in the original story.) He joins Senator Joseph Paine, the state’s senior senator, presidential hopeful and childhood hero. Smith, nevertheless discovers many of the shortcomings of the political process in Washington, DC, now known affectionately as the “Swamp.” His heartfelt goal of a national boys’ camp leads to a conflict with the state political boss, Jim Taylor, who attempts to corrupt Smith and then later attempts to destroy Smith through a scandal. Sound familiar?
Fast Forward to the 21st Century
The Senate is still corrupted, and the Senators are extending their stays because something went horribly wrong in America in 1913. In 1911, the House of Representatives passed House Joint Resolution 39 proposing a constitutional amendment for direct election of senators. However, it included a “race rider” meant to bar Federal intervention in cases of racial discrimination among voters. A substitute amendment by Senator Joseph L. Bristow (R-KS) removed the “race rider.”
This is another example of racist Democrats blocking civil rights and Republicans standing up for people of color.
The amended Joint Resolution was adopted by the Senate on a close vote in May 1911. A year later, the House accepted the change, and the amendment was sent to the states for ratification. By April 8, 1913, three-quarters of the states had ratified the proposed amendment, and it was officially included as the 17th Amendment.
The 17th Amendment was part of a wave of “progressive” constitutional reforms that sought to make the Constitution, and our nation, more democratic. It gave Americans the right to vote directly for their Senators, thereby strengthening the link between citizens and the federal government. The keyword “progressive” to make democratic in place of representative republic.
The Country turned Upside Down
The 17th Amendment wrenched representation from the states and gave it to the federal government. The Senate was designed to represent the several states in the Swamp. The House was designed to represent the people. When the states lost their right of representation, it took power from the states and gave it to the federal government. Now Senators are elected in popularity contests.
The Constitutional hierarchy was to have “We the People” on top, the states beholding to the people with the federal government being a creation of the states. Now, the states are regional departments of the federal government and “We the People” be damned.
How It Was Supposed to Work
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the state legislatures for six years. Each Senator shall have one vote. The Founding Fathers never envisioned career politicians staying in the Swamp forever to soak up absolute power and extraordinary riches.
There have been 102 Congressmen who have served more than 36 years in the House or Senate. Eight (8) of them have served more than 50 years. That stretches the limit. A fresh approach is crucial with these dispirited disapproval ratings. Currently term limits do not exist. Rotation of Authority is needed and rules must be put in place to constrain and regulate the time spent on fund raising and campaigning.
The 20/20 Vision Solution
The 20/20 Plan sets term limits for elected officials. Senators serve a six-year term. The 20/20 Plan limits Senators to 2 terms, or 12 years. The terms of the 100 Senators are staggered in order that one-third are up for election each two-year election cycle. The 20/20 Plan supports repeal of the 17th Amendment to permit state legislatures to appoint Senators.
You can read revealing revelations and sound solutions like these in 20/20: A Clear Vision for America. My book has solid answers to every problem the political establishment has imposed on“We the People.” It is the American guide to drain the Swamp.
Read more of my “casual sarcastic” articles to discover that I am an equal opportunity critic of all types of anarchy and nonsense. Check out the blog.
Spiritus meus es tu. Ego semper fidelis. (48.4-10.2)
God Bless us all and God Save our America from career politicians. Our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, our American Flag, our culture, our country, our civilization, our currency, our children, our liberty, our safety and our future need you now more than ever. ~ Bill