Wednesday, February 05, 2020

A Numbers Game

I watched plenty of Schoolhouse Rock when I was a kid. I know how a bill becomes a law. I know that  the  forty-fifth "president" of the United States has been impeached. I know that in previous impeachment trials, witnesses have been heard. Ask Monica Lewinsky about that one. Bill Clinton, an impeached president, gave a deposition to prosecutors that was videotaped and shown during his trial. I didn't have to watch a Schoolhouse Rock episode for that. I remember it without a catchy song.
I also understand that the framers of our illustrious Constitution had a clever way to make sure everyone got represented in our democracy. The House of Representatives is by population, where there are just two senators for each state. Yes Virginia, you have two senators and so does California. California is home to forty million residents. Currently there are just a shade under nine million Virginians. For example.
Now let's look for a moment at the most recent reason that math is a civics lesson: The forty-nine senators who voted to include witnesses in the impeachment trial of the forty-fifth "president" represent nineteen million more Americans than the fifty-one senators who decided they were okay without hearing any more evidence. When we do these kind of word problems at school, we ask kids to read them over a couple times, checking to see what the question is and what numbers are involved. If you tried to make sense out of the disparity between the number of Americans who would like to know just how far down the rabbit hole the current administration has gone, then you have a dilemma on your hands. Like the three million voters who were cheated out of their choice for president in the 2016 election because of the arcane bit of governance called the electoral college, this is not the fight you get to win. If you answered "none," then you're probably ready for the advanced course.
The requirements for the advanced course are these: A strong stomach and a willingness to believe that our republic can withstand a few more months of an orange maniac behind the wheel. It will take a sense of hope and resilience that we haven't needed since our country put a former game show host into office as a goof, just to see if our government really worked. I don't have a catchy song about this one, but for now I'll keep singing about Tomorrow.

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