Monday, October 29, 2012

Rural Americans like special privileges---the country's over representation in American politics

Something that should get more attention. We have a wonderful system here in the United States where our upper house, the Senate, is arranged so that states that have a population of less than New York City, like North Dakota, have the same amount of Senators as New York State itself. The pattern repeats itself over and over again with small rural states and states where the majority of the population lives. The reasoning behind it was that folks didn't want the people in the originally large population centers in the colonies to dominate over rural interests, so a balance was aimed at. But now, that balance is more of a veto, where you don't really find any sort of parity but an extreme bias to places with a miniscule population, putting the ideas and beliefs that these folks have into the limelight to a much greater extent than would be the case if we were dealing with absolute numbers.

In other words, rural folks in the U.S. benefit from being minorities who have disproportionate power over the American political system, something that they regularly accuse ethnic minorities of having.

So what does balance between rural and urban really consist of, or what would it consist of if the principle were to be really adopted? First of all, we'd have to establish what sort of country we'd really like--one that was ultimately democratic or one that was not ultimately democratic, by which I mean whether the majority in the end does rule or not. We can set things up so that the power of absolute majorities is diluted, but when the day is up there needs to be a clear statement on whether the voice of the majority ultimately does carry or whether it doesn't. If it does, and the U.S. honors democratic principles, then the question becomes just how much power is appropriate for rural areas have to achieve a kind of balance.

From what I've just outlined, a good start would be enough power to have their voice heard but not enough to consistently nullify the will of the majority.

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