Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Breakdown of Democracy?

Democratic South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson could possibly have suffered a stroke today at around 11:30am in his Washington D.C. office. He is, at the time of my writing this, undergoing a comprehensive evaluation by the stroke team at George Washington University Medical Center. While I remain hopful that he will continue his senatorial duties through 2008, a gigantic question mark looms.

If Johnson could not, for any reason, fulfil his senatorial duties, then his replacement, as specified in Article III Section 10 of the S.D. State Constitution, would be chosen by Republican Governor Michael Rounds. It is at this point that I wonder: where is the democracy in that type of system? Can the people not choose their state legislator's replacement if one cannot complete his/her term? The California State Constitution keeps the power with the people in an event such as might play out in S.D. in the coming days, as our governor would have to hold an immediate election for the people of CA to choose his/her replacement. That sounds like democracy. But that's not how it works in South Dakota.

A republican governor would obviously choose a republican senator for a replacement, and the balance of power in the Senate would shift back to the republican party.

And so I ask you: When the people of the United States of America have spoken in favor of a Democratic Senate, how can one man--the Governor of South Dakota--have te power to decide in which direction to tip the balance of power for the entire U.S. Senate, to take away that for which We the People have so strongly and nationally chosen?

Its unjust, isn't it? Well, lets all wish Senator Johnson a complete and speedy recovery so we don't have to watch this potential breakdown of democracy play out.


Susan Gray said...


I just had the privilege of visiting the Museum of Tolerance in L.A. Along with visiting an amazing exhibit about the Holocaust I was able to listen to a Holocaust survivor. We all sat riveted and glued to our seats as she spoke of being separated from her family and the terrible atrocities that happened to her. When she was finished speaking she mentioned this group that says there was no holocaust. To this she said in her thick German accent,
“If there was no holocaust I ask you where is my family? Where did they go?”
The thought of people denying that this happened despite the overwhelming evidence is ludicrous. I am a teacher and I assure you that each one of my students will know, without doubt, that there was a holocaust!

-Susan Gray

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