Friday, May 17, 2002

First Explain What a "Vote" Is

In today's edition of Arab News, lefty journalist Norman Solomon helps his Saudi friends who may be having some difficulty understanding our bicameral system of representation.

Like the "purloined letter" openly displayed in a famous tale by Edgar Allan Poe, the Senate’s huge structural flaw is right in front of Americans all the time — but they don’t see it as anything more than an eternal legacy of the country’s political heritage.

The past has ways of enduring. Today, in the 100-member Senate, cattle may be more equitably represented than people.

For instance, Montana — with a total of 902,195 residents, according to the 2000 census — has a pair of US senators. So does California, with a population of 33,871,648.

In other words, less than one million people in Montana have as much representation in the United States Senate as more than 33 million people in California.

Yeah, but what about the 53 Congressional Districts in California vs. Montana's one?

And by the way, how many representatives are there in the Saudi Parliament? The fact is, if you're a ordinary Saudi citizen (and by that I, of course, mean a man) you're better offer seeking redress of your grievances from Parliament Funkadelic.

Well, at least they’re thinking about democracy.

And Norman, you’re in good company over there on the Arab News team.

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