The Urgent Need For A Younger United States Senate

The United States Senate, by its very nature, is an undemocratic body, as all states are equal in membership, two Senators per state, whether the population of California (38 million people) or Wyoming (575,000 people)!

So we have the ability of “small state” Senators to wield great power and influence, and stand in the way of what is best for the nation at large!

The filibuster is one such mechanism that can prevent progress and action, and helps to make the US Senate a body that, much more often, applies the brakes on legislation, rather than speed action on such legislation.

The Senate has become much more undemocratic than anyone ever envisioned in the 18th century, as no one could know that in 2013, eleven states would have the majority of electoral votes needed to elect the President, and that nine states would have a majority of the entire population of the United States!

Nothing can be done about this reality, and there are no term limits, and some Senators have served 30 or more years, with the record being Robert Byrd and his 52 years in the US Senate from West Virginia!

But more troubling than the lack of term limits is the reality of older Senators being dominant, wielding great power as heads of committees, or being ranking members of such committees, at an age when most Americans are either retired or cutting down work hours dramatically!

When Senator Frank Lautenberg, the oldest member of the Senate, died at age 89, Senator Diane Feinstein of California became the oldest member of the Senate, and became 80 years of age last weekend.

So at present, with Feinstein at age 80, there are 21 US Senators in their 70s, 35 in their 60s, 30 in their 50s, 12 in their 40s, and 1 in his 30s.

The idea that 57 Senators are over age 60, when most people are moving toward retirement, is alarming, and the Senate has become an institution out of touch with the typical American who is in the mid to late 30s on the average, but being represented by senior citizens who do not have the ability to adapt as readily to change as is required in the modern world of government!

There should be some kind of age limit, whereby a person cannot run for the Senate (a six year term) beyond the age of 69, meaning that person would leave the Senate no later than age 75!

Many would call this age discrimination, but the ability of government to deal with modern challenges would seem to demand such a limit, not that it is possible to believe that such a limit would be realistically possible to achieve any time soon, if ever!

Since very few Americans, even if retired, work full time at age 75, it would seem appropriate to establish such an age limit, more than limiting actual total terms of a US Senator.

But again, this is just a suggestion to consider, and unlikely to be reality at any point in the future, a sad situation, indeed!