Letter to the Editor of Time

[Musings of an elderly crank in the body of a 29-year-old.]

Re: “One Document, Under Siege”

To the Editor:

In his article, Richard Stengel writes, among other things, “The framers…gave us the idea…that South Dakota should have the same number of Senators as California, which is kind of crazy.”

As anyone who has taken a seventh-grade social studies class should know, the entire premise of our bicameral legislative branch is this: one house with a representative voice (i.e., the House of Representatives, a body based on population) and one house with a fully equal voice (i.e., the Senate, with two representatives for each state). It’s not very difficult to follow the logic there, is it? So, while South Dakota and California both have two Senators, SD has one U.S. representative to CA’s 53. Is that “kind of crazy,” or does it make perfect sense?

Such a willful display of ignorance doesn’t exactly elevate discourse. On the contrary, it calls into question everything in an article attempting to persuade us that, despite the current rhetoric, the Constitution is pretty much okay. It’s going to take more to convince me that Stengel has made a cogent case about the Constitution when he doesn’t even understand the basics of the legislative branch (even if he was only pretending not to for a bit of needless snark). One clause of one sentence, very early in the article, makes him sound like an idiot. Idiots don’t generally have sound reasoning skills, not even the ones in movies whose ignorance leads to quietly profound truths.

Regards,

D. B. Bates

Posted by D. B. Bates on June 26, 2011 9:07 AM