What do you think?
Down With Superdelegates
This is to applaud "A Little More Equal" [May 15, 2008]. Is your vote delegatable? Are you willing to give your proxy vote to either party or candidate? Who are those partisans who presume to appoint "super" delegates to trump and disenfranchise millions of voters in the primary marathon in this 21st century? Who are they to be certain which candidate would be most electable?
It is instructive to recall that 60 years ago, in 1948, hardly anyone believed Harry Truman was electable besides Truman himself. It was believed by most Republicans and even most Democrats that the Democrats were so disunited that President Truman was a lost cause. I was then 20 years of age, and now, at age 80, I know that political science is not science, and politicians are definitely not scientists!
The winner-takes-all feature of the obsolete Electoral College is bad enough. Its original purpose, to protect the legitimate interests of the small states from unfair domination by the large ones, is now an anachronism. Only 11 states can potentially produce the majority of electoral votes to pick the winner. A direct popular vote would be even worse, for it could potentially give the control to even fewer states and the largest cities. The remedy would be to split the electoral votes in each state proportionate to the popular vote. As it now stands, potentially 49.9 percent of the voters in any state could be discounted by a majority of only 51.1 percent. What kind of democracy or representation is that?
Finally, the U.S. Supreme Court a few years ago ruled that reapportionment, based on the National Census every 10 years, should be as fair as possible, and that the principle should be one person, one vote. That is in harmony with the provision of the 14th Amendment promising due process and equal protection of the law for all citizens and is also consistent with the Bill of Rights. Our most serious problem is not the presidency, but an un- and anti-democratic Congress. Term limits would be a good first step!
Jack D. Phillips
Mentally Ill Not Generic
Dorothea Dix's moving memorials of "the" mentally ill unfairly imprisoned in Massachusetts' jails helped create the Northampton State Hospital in an attempt to save those people ["What's in a Name?", June 26, 2008]. Dorothea Dix failed in her quest, as has every advocate since, unless one wants to reconstruct history. Her failure is graphically memorialized in [the phrase] "the" mentally ill. Drunk, Mel Gibson could not get away with his "the" Jews; sober, the above continues. No, neither we nor "the" Jews are generic, and no state mental institution ever rose to the level of hospital.
Harold A. Maio, Advisory Board
American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation