The first question that comes to mind is do we have a representative government? At first blush, we do elect individuals to go to Washington on our behalf. In the ideal world a Representative Republic with democratic attributes is the best form of government. But do 435 House members truly represent America? The answer, sadly, is no. How can 435 men and women represent America, a nation of over 300 million people? The most egregious fact is that both the House of Representatives and the Senate are pretty much a millionaire’s club.
One of the most eloquent of the Anti-Federalists was a man with the newspaper name of Brutus. We still don’t know for sure who he was. The fact is that he asked some pretty penetrating questions when it came time to ratify the Constitutions and his letters published in the New York newspapers are still provoking serious political thought. A few of his questions bear repeating. One of his key questions were whether or not we were already too big of a nation to have a Republic? Another important point was whether or not our number of representatives was just a farce.
Originally there were only 65 representatives in the first Congress of the United States, in a nation of 3 million people. At the same time in England with a population of 8 million people you had 538 members of the House of Commons.
It is also just common sense that it is an impossibility to have a representative of the wealthy class pretend to understand and represent the rest of us. Brutus suggested that there need to be individuals in Congress from different walks of life, for example farmers, mechanics and merchants. Today you could toss in a couple of lawyers and teachers, people of different backgrounds that would more accurately reflect society. Just having millionaires represent us, we the people, just does not make sense.
The question is how do we accomplish the goal of better and greater representation? Increasing the size of the House of Representatives should be a starting place. Figuring out how we can have a better reflection of who we are as a society is a harder question to resolve. What we do need to do is to end the total dominance of the wealthy in the peoples house, they do well to represent their own interest’s of maintaining their wealth but are they really representing the interests of we the people?