Thursday, September 29, 2016

Civics (part 1) - The Electoral College

wikipedia/electoral college

Lately, there's been a lot talk about college. 

The electoral college, that is. And for good reason. As they cast the votes that really count when electing the President of the United States.

Nothing new about this. It's been in the US Constitution from the get-go.  Article II, Section I, Clause 3 to be exact. [reference: Electoral College ]

And below is an elementary lesson on civics on how our government works:

Why the electoral college?

After one of the first  Brexits, 240 years ago in 1776, the American colonies had their suspicions of rulers holding absolute power over them. Such as monarchs like King George III.

And rightly so.  As historian and moralist, Lord Acton, is credited to offer his opinion:

Power corrupts;
absolute power 
corrupts absolutely.
[reference: The Phrase Finder]

So the Constitution was designed with checks and balances for our leaders. And that included a check for the chief executive. That is evident as the founders did not trust a popular vote to elect the president.

For 230 years, there has been many debates on this system as it has its flaws as seen below:

What's the solution? 

A popular vote seems to remedy the downside of the electoral college. But the system does have an upside in protecting the interests of the country as a whole.

Consider a popular vote for president.

The candidates would concentrate only on the big cities.  New York City. Los Angeles. Denver. Seattle. Atlanta. Houston, Chicago. ... Those populations will largely will determine the elections.

Screw fly-over country. And the needs and concerns of the more rural areas will be overlooked for the denizens of big cities. And those differences can be poles apart.

Consider the electoral college.

As it is, fly-over country has more weight than the more populated states.  Such as pointed out in Adam Ruins Everything, an electoral vote per capita in Wyoming is worth three times more than an electoral vote in California.

Having lived in California, I understand the feeling that my vote didn't count much. At least for president. We were totally written off as in the tank for the Democrats. And seen a waste of time and money to court our votes. Except candidates saw California as their cash cow and stopped by regularly to milk the billionaire donors for their swing states.

Currently, I reside in Wyoming. More muscle for my vote, right? But we're mostly written off as in the tank for the Republicans. And we are ignored anyway. Only 3 electoral votes at stake. Who cares about us?

Time for a change?

That would require amending the Constitution. It's been done before.  Some 27 times (the first 10 being the Bill of Rights).  But the process is not easy to do. [reference: The Constitutional Amendment Process]

But that's the way it is. Under this Constitution. And it's worked remarkably well since 1787.

So begins another thread.


And this election cycle, vote your conscious. For there is more at stake than the electors we elect at the Electoral College.


Similar posts on this topic:

ZAMM (part 7) - Yes or No - Gotcha! (2012)

PC Watch (part 2) - The South Park Offense (2013)

Timeless Truths (part 6) - Magna Carta - 800 years and still going strong (2015)


Saturday, September 3, 2016

Faith (part 1) - Star Trek and Christianity

star trek/

Star Trek.

 The original series, premiered September 9, 1966, 50 years ago.
[reference: Star Trek,]

So ....

Happy 50th 

Many celebrations were/are planned this year to mark this anniversary of such an iconic SciFi series. Not to mention its many spin offs. And movies.  As well as how it's left its mark on culture and our vision of the future.

Yet through this SciFi series, we find

Faith - in unexpected places

So on that note, begins another thread.

Fifty years ago, American culture had reflected some traditional Judeo-Christian values. And one of Star Trek's 1968 episodes, season 2, episode 25, so boldly echoed that, entitled...

Bread and Circuses

Historically, the term Bread and Circuses was coined to refer to a mob control tactic used in the 1st century Roman Empire. To keep the poor working class from rioting, Emperor Augustus instituted a program of state bribery, which kept the plebeians fed and entertained - mostly for free. [reference: The Roman Empire - in the First Century: Plebeians]

In this episode, the crew of the Enterprise investigates the disappearance of a merchant ship on a planet, which is the 20th century version of the Roman Empire. There, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy find the missing ship's Captain Merik as a government pawn.

In the scene below, Spock and McCoy are forced to fight in Roman-like game - which is a small reminder of the original gladiator games and how brutal life was back then, especially for slaves:

But there are rebels, who love peace, and resist the tyranny. They are sun worshipers, who worshiped a different deity than their overlords.

After making their escape, the team discovers the identity of the sun worshipers as Son worshipers. As in they worship not the sun up in the sky, but the Son of God.

And the late Chuck Colson makes a great commentary in his Two-Minute Warning about this classic Star Trek episode and its lesson on history and our society:

Truly this SciFi testifies to the power of Christianity, which 1st Century Romans made this complaint concerning the ministry of St. Paul:

These that have turned the world upside down
are come hither also ...
Act 17:6 (KJV)

 Whether in the belly of the beast of the Roman Empire or a SciFi series set in outer space, Faith can be found in unexpected places.


For another Judeo-Christian reference in the Original series, check out...
   Live Long and Prosper: The Jewish Story Behind Spock, Leonard Nimoy's Star Trek Character 


Related post:

Proverbs (part 2) - Live Long and Prosper  (2013)


photo: star trek/