Why Leadings?

Not to lead, but to be led            -- by the Holy Spirit.

See Leader, Servant, or Slave? in the section below, "Walking the Walk".

Jack in Denali National Park, 2012.

God's Wrath

Why was Sodom destroyed? Ezekiel tells us in chapter 16, verse 49: "This was the sin of your sister, Sodom: Pride, full-ness of bread, and abundance of idleness. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."

That's also why Jerusalem was destroyed.

And now, with greed as our national virtue, what hope is there for the United States of America? We are afflicted by imperialistic pride, obesity, and entertainment addiction, and we are all called to do our part to "strengthen the hand of the poor and needy".

"Strengthen the hand" is the King James wording. Modern translations say "help the poor and needy." And there's a world of difference between the two. Helping the poor = as little as throwing some cash in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas time. That's charity. It's doing for, not doing with.

My Grandmother was right about charity. On a below-zero day, she went out on the back porch with a skillet to throw hot grease on the back-yard snow. She shivered as she re-entered the kitchen and said, "Wooooh, colder than charity."

Strengthening the hand is much different. We get personally involved with another person who needs help, and we work with her or him to get the needed help. That's risky. You're vulnerable. It takes prayer, time and patience. You need knowledge and wisdom from the LORD. There are great rewards, however. You get a brother or sister.

Strengthening the hand is great work for our churches -- which we ignore far more often than we perform. Why? Because we're afflicted with the Ameri-can curse of individualism. Christians are to be a tribe -- a tribe that takes care of each other. In Galatians 6:16, Paul calls us "the Israel of God" -- the new 13th tribe.

Jesus said, "The poor you shall always have with you." He didn't mean that as a curse -- the notion that the poor are an inevi-table nuisance and expense, to be hidden in the slums. Rather, He was saying, "You shall always be among the poor."

When you strengthen hands, you fulfill Deuteronomy 15:4-5: "However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the LORD your God . . ." It's a glorious responsibility and promise.

And how do prosperous Americans fulfill that promise? Generally, by making sure they have no contact with people who are poor -- and we have been that way from our beginnings in the 17th century. Early villages in Massachusetts solved the problem by out-lawing poor people. Today, we deal with the same problem by confining the poor in urban reservations, our slums.

As the Supreme Court Bailiff says at the beginning of each session, "God save the United States of America..." 

Sunday
Nov272016

Getting Fair Elections

My nine year old grandson, Eli, is a genius. When he learned that Donald Trump won a majority in the Electoral College, but that Hillary Clinton had more votes nationally, he said, “The one with the most peoples’ votes should get an extra twenty votes in the Electoral College.”

It’s an excellent suggestion. Eli’s system preserves the Electoral college—which assures that presidential candidates will campaign in small states as well as large. However, in elections where electoral and popular votes don't jibe, the losing candidate in the Electoral College can utilize his or her plurality to remedy the results.

However, the twenty votes would decline in effectiveness over time as our population grows. Thus, I’d suggest a refinement. The candidate who loses in the electoral college, but who wins in the popular vote, should receive one Electoral College vote for each 10,000 plurality votes received.

Thus, in our recent 2016 election, Donald Trump received 306 Electoral College votes, with 232 for Hillary Clinton. However, Secretary Clinton received 1,714,281 more of the peoples’ votes than Mr. Trump. If the 10,000 formula had been adopted, Mrs. Clinton would have been awarded 171 more electoral votes, giving her both a total of 403 electoral votes and the election.

How would the formula have changed past elections?

In fifty-two of fifty-eight elections, the Electoral College system worked as intended, and the candidate with the most popular votes also won in the Electoral College. However, in six races the system failed us and left a trail of bitterness. Which were the six?

1800.  Thomas Jefferson vs. Aaron Burr. This one was a fluke. Seventy-eight electors voted for each man, with the electors’ intention that Jefferson be president and Burr vice-president, but Burr used the tie vote as an opportunity to claim the presidency. Thus, the electoral process moved to the House of Representatives, which needed thirty-six ballots to politick the issue. The election was finally resolved when Federalists Alexander Hamilton and James Bayard endorsed Republican Thomas Jefferson as the lesser evil. The formula of 10,000 would have made no difference. However, the 1800 electoral mess did result in the Adoption of the Twelfth Amendment which specifies which electoral votes go to the winning presidential and vice-presidential candidates. (Note: Thomas Jefferson founded the Democratic Party, but in the early 1800s, they were called Republicans.)

1824 was another mess. Andrew Jackson received the most votes, both popular and electoral, but not a majority because four candidates were in the race. This election was also decided in the House of Representatives, with fourth-place House Speaker Henry Clay swinging the election to runner-up John Quincy Adams. Because Adams appointed Clay Secretary of State, the Jacksonians claimed that the election had been determined by the “corrupt bargain” between Adams and Clay. Jackson went on to win both the electoral and popular votes in 1828 and 1832.

1876. This really was a rigged election. Samuel Tilden, New York Democrat, received 4,285,002 popular votes, contrasted with 4,033,768 votes for Rutherford B Hayes, Ohio Republican. After a partisan commission's determination of the Florida vote, the election was decided by 185 electoral votes for Hayes and 184 electoral votes for Tilden—in spite of Tilden’s national plurality of 251,234 votes. With the 10,000 formula, however, Tilden would have won with twenty-five additional electoral votes. 

Coming only twelve years after the Civil War, this stolen election nearly inspired another rebellion, but as a real patriot, Tilden quieted his backers with the statement, “I prefer four years of Hayes administration to four years of civil war.” Thus, Governor Tilden began our excellent tradition of the real winners—but Electoral College losers—by graciously accepting the Electoral College results and avoiding civil strife.

1888 was a really close race. Republican Benjamin Harrison: 5,439,853 popular, 233 electoral. Democrat Grover Cleveland: 5,540,329 popular, 168 electoral—a difference of 110,476 in the popular vote. With the eleven additional electoral votes from the 10,000 formula going to Cleveland, Harrison would still have won in the Electoral College.

Note that all during the twentieth century—if we consider the year 2000 to be in the twenty-first century—the popular vote and the Electoral College were in harmony. The two voting systems were never proportional, but consistently gave the Electoral College election to to the candidate with the most popular votes.

However, the 2000 election repeated the theft of the 1876 election, with Florida again being the key state. However, this time the body exercising partisan Republican power was the United States Supreme Court. The 2000 returns were:  Democrat Albert Gore: 51,009,810 popular, 266 electoral. Republican George W. Bush: 50,462,412 popular, 271 electoral—a difference of 547,398 in the popular vote. The 55 bonus electoral votes would have given Gore the election.

And we’ve just been through the 2016 election.

Because the 10,000 formula would only add to the Constitution, not amend it, could it be put into effect by Congressional legislation? Even though the 10,000 formula would do much to righten civil wrongs, there is no chance it could be passed. In the four mismatched elections cited above, the Republicans have won each time. So far, there’s no motivation for Republicans in Congress to make the change.

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Purpose of this blog is to compile several books for my grandchildren to read in 25 years.

Copyright  ©  2016 by Jack Towe

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