September 7, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 360
Why You Should Join The
Congress Of Vigilance Today

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

       GROUND ZERO, New York City, September 7-- The United States Congress met yesterday in Federal Hall, a few blocks from Ground Zero, at the site where George Washington was inaugurated our first President, and where Congress first convened in 1789.
       But there is a huge and Terrorizing difference between the Congress of 1789 and the one of 2002.   That difference is Vigilance.  It seems to have been lost over 100 years ago when Congress stopped representing families.

       The Congress of 1789 was a Congress of Vigilance.   Today's Congress has been stripped, whittled, emaciated from its original role of Sentinels of Vigilance, and turned into a small collection of power brokers.  No longer does the U.S. Congress represent the families, the children, the grandchildren of America.  It can't.  It's way too small to do that.
      Back in 1789 the Constitution of the United States, the most forward-thinking document in world history, foresaw the dangers of power being centered among the few.    To balance that power, the Constitution split the power into three sections, Executive, Legislative and Judicial.    The idea was to balance power with the people's Voices through Congress, challenging the Executive and Judicial arms of government.  Congress, comprised of elected representatives of the people, was to be the watchdog of individual rights.

        All that has gotten lost in the shuffle. 
        Back in 1789 the Constitution called for one Representative per 30,000 population.    Anyone reading the original document usually skims over that fact as being crucial to the idea of true "representative government."
       The formula was brilliant.   A U.S. Congressperson could, over a year, virtually speak/listen to all those he or she represented.   Using today's formula of nearly three persons per household, back in 1789 there would be 10,000 households.  But since the family size was nearly double then what is now, that number would be cut in half, to only 5,000.   
       In essence, a U.S. Congressperson was essentially the "mayor" of the community, acting in a far more local and community arena where issues came to his doorstep on a daily basis.   The principle was that the closer the representative was to the people, the stronger the Voice in Congress would be to protect the families of each community from oppressive, large government.   And, under the guidelines of the Constitution, a government "of, by and for the people," could endure anything--for it would be a Vigilant Government, one concerned with the future of the children and their children's children rather than one controlled by a few elite leaders hoisted so high up the flagpole they never got any dirt on their shoes, or never lived in the challenges of daily life.

      Power corrupts by size.   The more power one individual collects, the more corrupt that power can become.  
      That happened to America. 
      Politicians got complacent.  They also got power hungry.   Over the past 200 years the formula of one representative for each 30,000 population, as originally set forth in the Constitution, has evolved to what is now called a "fixed ratio."   Since 1790, there have been five different methods used to determine the size of elected representatives.          (link to history of changes) 
        Today, Congress is limited to 435 members, and has been since 1910.  In contrast, nearly 200 years ago, there were over 100 Congressional representatives.
        The ratio of  U.S. Congressional Representatives currently  is one for 650,000 population, a far cry from 1:30,000.  In fact, it's over 20 times as large as the number originally set in the Constitution.
        Some might say it's twenty times as hard today to have one's Voice heard than it was a century ago when the "fixed ratio" came into being. 
        Most think it is impossible.
        It is a law that the farther away a parent exists from a child, emotionally as well as physically, the more they become strangers.    Even though a parent and child can live under the same roof, they may not communicate.   A child may keep his or her feelings secret from the parent for one major reason--i.e. the parent never asks the child what he or she thinks, or how he or she feels.   They co-exist under the same roof, the child standing at one end of the compass, the parent at the other.  Parental and political distancing are the same.
        This is the situation today with Congress.   Few citizens even know their Congressperson's name, let alone has had the privilege of him or her call upon them at their home and ask "How's the family?   What issues are you most concerned with?  How can I help make your life better?   Your children's life, how can it be improved?   Their children's children's life, what needs do they have I can address?"      

      With three people per household, at 650,000 per Congressperson, that amounts to 216,000 households for a U.S. Representative to visit each year just to "get to know" the heartbeat of the people.   Even Superman would scratch his head at that task.

       But if that ratio was the original one, one Representative per 30,000 households, 10,000 families wouldn't be so hard to contact personally, or, at least a majority of them wouldn't be.  Making 10 phone calls a day to people in the community would cover nearly half the constituents over a year.
       However, Congress isn't structured to hear what going on with a family.   At least, not since 1910.   
       The original "Jefferson Method" of electing one Representative per 30,000 population would swell the ranks of Congress today to over 9,300 Representatives.  Oddly, that's about the number of mayors in America.
        But would that be so bad?
        If we are entering the "Era of Vigilance," or, have started up its hill as a result of September 11, who's to say going back to the original blueprint of "Family Representation" wouldn't be the best for our nation?
       Personally, I think it is a travesty to call government "representative" when there is no forum for families, no communication link between an elected official and the majority of people living and struggling daily to overcome the "natural Terrorisms" of life.

       No matter how well intentioned a Congressperson might be, the idea of tackling 216,000 households is overwhelming.  It's as though the formula we currently use to elect officials to represent us denies representation.   When one person is told to be the "ear of" nearly three-quarters of a million people, even Dumbo the Elephant couldn't hear enough to make a good decision.

       But the structure for "listening" exists.   The Mayor System is about as close as one can get to the original 1:30,000 Representation formula Thomas Jefferson promoted and managed.   Naturally, communities  revolve around a core of services and businesses that feeds them, and that configuration is about 30,000.    In franchising, most all companies use that formula--one franchise per 30,000--because it links a business to a community, and allows it to become "part of" rather "set apart from" the people in the area.
      Here in New York City, only 150 Congressional Representatives showed up at Federal Hall, their original home.   That was a ratio of one Representative for every 1.9 million people.    It is doubtful the Voices of the families within their scope of representation was heard.
       That's why I believe we should go back to a "Congress of Vigilance."    Perhaps a more appropriate name should be--"The Family Congress."
       If we are going to truly make decisions for the welfare of our children, and their children's children's children, we need to widen the avenues of Representation.    The first step would be to increase the size of Congress.
       Having 10,000 Representatives would be far more effective than 435 for one reason--the people's Voice would be more likely heard than the lobbyists who bend Congressional ears for their clients--business.
       Business is all about the bottom line--what's good for me today!    Business has little vision because it is ruled by cash flow--how much money is in the till today!    Thus, we make laws that favor the present, and forget about the future. 

       If Congress  followed its original formula, 10,000 Voices would compete to be heard, and the issues wouldn't be born out of cronyism, or a sense of power.   Decisions would be fundamental, for the majority would have to agree on them, and the odds of any one idea winning the support of the many would require the most basic of values to reach ratification.
       Congress's visit to New York City was an example of the diminishing power of the people over government.   It was a symbol of Complacency.
        What America needs is a Congress of Vigilance, and that will only come about when the majority of its members represent their communities, not their campaign coffers.  

        You can help start that process by becoming a Citizen of Vigilance.   By taking the Pledge of Vigilance, you signal to Congress the importance of your Voice as a family member, a concerned citizen for the future of the children.  The more Congress sees Americans banding together for the future, the more its members will start to listen to you, and not those paid to bend their ears.
        If Vigilance has a price, it is the cost of speaking your mind rather than feeling what you have to say doesn't matter.  It does.  And it all starts with your vow to become a Congressperson of Vigilance.  You can represent the children's children's children.  Take the Pledge of Vigilance.   And speak up for the future.

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