Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia has hit upon a capital idea. Recognizing that states are simply hapless tails on the federal dog, he has proposed a Constitutional amendment allowing a vote of 2/3 of the states to repeal any federal enactment.
Such an amendment would finally give the states a say in federal policy making. No longer would they be subject to the arbitrary whims of a distant government. This might finally bring the mighty federal beast to its knees. Although it does make you wonder if it goes far enough. Why stop at simply allowing states to repeal laws? Why not let states make laws as well? The states better represent the will of the people. So let’s put the power where it belongs.
The one problem may be that this would give small states a lot of control. The 34 smallest states (2/3 of 50) have only 28.5% of the population, and a majority vote by those states would force their will on everyone. This means it’s possible that as few as 15% of the population could enact a law or overturn one. It may be better then to balance the state vote by also holding a general vote of the population as a whole. This would give the people a direct say as well.
Of course that means you now have two different votes to reconcile. Which is more fair? There are good arguments on both sides, so probably the best thing to do would be to require that both a vote of the states and a vote of the people approve the proposed new law. If 2/3 of the states and 2/3 of the people wanted something, then dammit, not even the President should be able to say no.
Although, the logistics of all these general elections would be kind of tedious and probably pretty expensive to implement. Maybe a more efficient option would be for each state to elect people to represent its will. Then divide the country up by population and have each group elect somebody to represent them. We could then send all these people to a central location and have them work on our behalf to run the country.
This idea would be fair and efficient. It would allow the country to act as a whole without subverting the best interests of the states or the people. What could possibly go wrong?
If only the founding fathers had this sort of insight…