Is it the first? The one that lets me say whatever I want and worship Satan?
Nooooope, not that one.
Is it the twenty-first? The one that repealed prohibition and brought back booze (even though it never technically left…)?
Getting warmer, but still no.
Is the nineteenth amendment, the one that lets me vote?
No, but that one comes in a very close second.
It’s the seventeenth!
You know… the seventeenth!
Oh, you don’t know? (I understand that certain people reading this WILL know. Obviously I’m not talking to you Constitution-memorizers, so shut up.)
The seventeenth amendment to our Constitution lets us elect our states’ senators.
Americans are often guilty–and I too was often guilty–of forgetting that there was a time in which AMERICANS COULDN’T ELECT THEIR OWN SENATORS. That sounds pretty ridiculous now (or at least it does to me), but even more ridiculous is that people often WANT to forget about this crucial truth about the history of our government because ultimately the reason that we couldn’t elect our own senators was because our founding fathers DID NOT TRUST US. They didn’t trust the masses, whom they believed were uneducated and incapable of making sound, informed decisions. The vast majority of our founding fathers, actually, were anti-democracy. “Okay,” you’re saying, “that’s one step too far.” But no, seriously. First you have to understand that “democracy” referred to “direct democracy”. This is rule by the masses, essentially what was practiced in many places during that whole Greco-Roman period. All native-born, non-enslaved, male citizens (so, okay, not everybody) could vote on literally every single issue that came up within their city. Are we going to war? Should we put a recycling bin in the Temple of Dionysus? Which one of us should be the new magistrate? However, our founding fathers thought that this would be a very, very, very bad idea. Not to mention impossible… With such a large population, nothing would ever get done (not that it does now…) if everybody was allowed to vote on every tiny little thing. There had to be some centralized authority. Which is how we got a representative republic. The “House of Representatives” was meant to represent the general public, while the Senate was viewed as a more exclusive body.The belief was that the masses rarely know what’s good for them, and that a stupid majority would be a dangerously powerful stupid majority within a direct democracy, so the Senate, elected by state legislatures, was meant to counteract this. Seems sane enough, right?
Yeah, no. If you can’t trust the people you’re governing, why even let them into the system in the first place? Oh, yeah, because you need them to do your dirty work for you. We can’t all be plantation owners, some of us have to pick the goddamn oranges. And we need to respect the people who pick the goddamn oranges, who flip the patties, who clean the museum floors at night, because they need to be heard, they are perfectly capable of making informed decisions, and they are people, too.