I’m not sure that John Dingell, the Democrat from Michigan who is the longest-serving Congressman in U. S. history, having served from 1955 to 2015, realizes it:
As an armchair activist, I now have the luxury of saying what I believe should happen, not what I think can get voted out of committee. I’m still a pragmatist; I know that profound societal change happens incrementally, over a long period of time. The civil-rights fights of the 1950s and ’60s, of which I am proud to have been a part, are a great example of overcoming setbacks and institutional racism. But 155 years after the Emancipation Proclamation and less than two years after our first African American president left office, racism still remains a part of our national life.
Just for a moment, however, let’s imagine the American system we might have if the better angels of our nature were to prevail.
Here, then, are some specific suggestions—and they are only just that, suggestions—for a framework that might help restore confidence and trust in our precious system of government…
but he’s calling for a constitutional convention:
The conduct and outcome of the 2016 presidential election have put the future of our country in mortal peril. After a lifetime spent in public service, I never believed that day would come. Yet it has. And we now find ourselves on the precipice of a great cliff. Our next step is either into the abyss or toward a higher moral ground. Since before the Civil War, we’ve been told that “Providence watches over fools, drunkards, and the United States.” Yet the good Lord also granted us free will. The direction we choose to follow is ours alone to make. We ask only that he guide our choice with his wisdom and his grace.
It’s up to you, my dear friends.
I know of no one who doesn’t believe that doing so would open an enormous can of worms.
It’s hard to write this without it sounding snarky but one of my priorities in a constitutional convention, higher than any of the measures he proposes, would be to prevent tenure in office of the sort that John Dingell enjoyed.
But I’d also divvy up big states like California into smaller chunks and institutionalize that process and force the number of representatives in the House to grow with the population.