The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Abolishing amendment diminishes voters’ voices

By Joshua Knopp/special assignments editor
A handful of political figures have been talking recently about repealing the 17th Amendment.

When the U.S. Constitution was drafted, legislative power was split between the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House was meant to represent the populace while the Senate was meant to represent the states. Senators were elected and sent by state legislatures with no input required from the state’s voters. The 17th Amendment was drafted to change that because the Senate election process quickly devolved into games of blackmail and bribery.

For the past 186 years, the people have had power over both legislative houses. I never learned in school there was a need for the 17th Amendment. I figured this power had always rested with the people. It makes sense that senators be accountable to voters.

So now, people are talking about taking that power away because …  um …

“The direct election of U.S. senators made the U.S. Senate act and behave like the House of Representatives,” said Pete Hoekstra, who is running for the Senate in Michigan in what he apparently hopes will be the last senatorial election. “The end result has led to an erosion of states’ rights.”

Nevermind the impact of national icons Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln on states’ rights. Nevermind the newfound freedom senators would have from the people they’re supposed to serve. For the moment, think only of how this would affect you in the short term.

How would the Texas state Legislature, the one that came out against critical thinking skills a couple of years back, represent you?

Stories are rampant about voting laws in swing states being altered to favor one party over the other this year. A handful of states made strict voting booth restrictions to prevent voter fraud despite it rarely ever happening. One state even tried to have fewer early voting days in minority neighborhoods. And now, some political leaders are talking about taking the entire Senate away from voters.

Is the American population so easily disregarded, so irrelevant, that politicians can talk about taking half our legislative power away — while campaigning?

When you go to vote this November, think hard. Don’t make an uninformed decision. Hold politicians accountable for what they say and do — while you can.

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