Not All Who Wander are Informed

Yesterday, I met a Dutch traveler who “agreed with some of Geert Wilders’ points” but maybe not his articulation of them, specifically allowing Muslims into the Netherlands, but also remaining united with the European Union. I listened, asked questions, and brought up some points:

  • Perpetrators of terror attacks in Europe are usually from Europe.
  • Economic benefits of EU member states are only part of being in a union.

But there is no changing people’s minds through coercion or argument. Maybe with other respectful conversations he and others like him will see that isolationism and fear will not help us.

Abolish the Senate

Daniel Lazare writing for Jacobin:

The US Senate is by now the most unrepresentative major legislature in the “democratic world.” Thanks to the principle of equal state representation, which grants each state two senators regardless of population, the great majority of people end up grossly marginalized by the body. It’s a problem that has only gotten worse over time.

Lazare lays out some pretty stark problems with equal state representation in the senate. Like many, I’ve never thought to look more closely into the bicameral system and how unfair it can potentially be.

  • Since a majority of Americans now live in just nine states, they wind up with just eighteen votes while the minority holds eighty-two, a ratio of better than four to one.

This has tons of implications for people of color, LGBTQ, and the urban working class since the majority of senators come from whiter, more conservative and rural areas.

In the long run, it is plain that gridlock plays into the hands of the know-nothing right who want Americans to believe that democracy equals mob rule and that government is a dead end. The more democracy is made to tie itself in knots, the more frustrated working people grow and the more corporate interests have the field to themselves.