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EDN ARTICLE: General Assembly: An Extravagance We Can Do Without

Everyday News Article

General Assembly: An Extravagance We Can Do Without
By: Isles (a.k.a. British Isles and Commonwealth Realms), Guest Writer
‘Legislative power shall be vested in a legislature which shall consist of a Senate and General Assembly.’-- Article IV, Section 1-1 of the Constitution of the Union of Democratic States. By law established, the General Assembly is the lower of the two houses of the UDS Legislature. An institution which is embedded, perhaps very deeply, too deeply, within the psyche of the Union. The Assembly has rendered exemplary service to the Union and its citizens. It has been the perfect dance partner to the Senate, revolving to the music of the Constitution. But just because a dance partner is good, even perfect, you need not fill them in your dance card. And that is the objective of my opinion piece. I shall demonstrate with facts and figures and quite a many words as well, that the General Assembly is an extravagance we can do without.

‘The General Assembly shall comprise of all citizens except those enrolled in the Senate…’ -- Article IV, Section 4-1 (abridged) of the Constitution of the Union of Democratic States. The registered citizenry of the UDS is the strength of the General Assembly. It is a double-edged sword, however. As of October 2020, according to the Ministry of Census, the Union has 175 citizens. Of these 175 nations, 56 have ceased to exist, and 14 are inactive. So this reduces the number of active nations to 105. To my knowledge, this is the latest and the most recent update of the Union citizenry roster. There might be 105 ‘active’ nations, but not all of them are on Discord, or on the Forum or on either. This stunts their active involvement in the General Assembly and its deliberations. These are facts and figures not missed by the esteemed framers of the constitution. In the scenario that is before us, a sensible approach would be to amend the constitution and reshape the Senate, and give additional powers, something which I shall discuss in this article later. Disestablishment of the General Assembly is a rational and prudent step forward.

‘Any vote of the General Assembly shall only be considered binding if a quorum of no less than three votes is met.’ -- Article IV, Section 4-4 of the Constitution of the Union of Democratic States. The General Assembly is hardly the voice of the people if the people are not actively participating in its working. But it would be myopic and foolhardy to discount that the General Assembly is the forum for active involvement of citizens, old and new, particularly new, whatever their numbers maybe at any given time. Here, they get to talk, discuss, debate and vote. These are rights the citizens deserve and hence, are enshrined in the constitution and practiced in the General Assembly. Any change to the Assembly, even its outright abrogation, must not infringe upon, or harm these rights in any way whatsoever. In my examination, however, I have discovered that these inalienable rights as promised to the citizens are very rarely exercised by them. I have scrutinized the votes and voters of the past thirty-eight legislations that have been presented on the floor of the General Assembly; from the ‘Terminology of the Members of the General Assembly, 2020’, in March to the ‘Judiciary Act, 2020’, in September of this year. On an average, less than 5% citizens vote in any General Assembly Vote, or roughly 6 citizens for a proposal. It is a dismal performance, in terms of voter turnout. In an assembly where the quorum is three, six is not an encouraging number of voters. This must be cause of worry for the Assembly. It must either introspect, or stand clear.

‘Any member of the legislation, in good standing with their house and not serving a criminal sentence may draft, sponsor, introduce, debate and vote on motions in their house.’ -- Article IV, Section 1-5 of the Constitution of the Union of Democratic States. My draft proposals are fairly easy to describe. They follow a simple procedure. My first proposal abolishes the General Assembly, and removes any mentions of the General Assembly from the Constitution, legislation, and any document where the General Assembly may be mentioned. It allows the Senate to absorb all the acts of the General Assembly. My second proposal deals with the vacuum left by the disestablishment of the General Assembly. It increases the number of Senators to nine from the five that presently sit in the Chamber. It empowers the Speaker to reject or accept any proposal brought by any citizen of the Union. However, their power comes with Senatorial Oversight. The Senate can, in its wisdom, veto any of the Speaker’s decisions if it is unsatisfied with it. Citizens shall continue to enjoy their constitutional rights. They may debate, discuss and present legislation. They may vote on all constitutional amendments. With some additional provision that I shall not bore the readers with, this is the gist of the proposals. The new Senate will encompass all the powers, duties and the responsibilities of its former dance partner. It shall go from a Blue Danube waltz to a Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy ballet.

‘The Constitution is the supreme legal authority of the Union of Democratic States, no other law shall contravene it.’ -- Artive VII, Section 3 of the Constitution of the Union of Democratic States. After all, the will of the people is the will of the Union. As Alcium wrote to Charlemagne in 798, “Vox populi, vox Dei”, translated, ‘the voice of the people is the voice of God’. In any democratic society, the voice of the people is all there is, that one requires to run a government, legislate and execute. And vox populi is quite clear. In an independent opinion poll conducted by this newspaper, published on 20th of September this year, people rejected unicameralism. That did take the wind out of my sails. But since then, I have had a fruitful discussion with Chancellor Thatcher Whitehall, who has since been elected Chairperson of the very body I and many others are working ardently to remove. And with this article, my objective is to sway the public opinion in our favour, or atleast start a discourse on this issue. My fellow unicameralists, I end my tirade with these lines from my favourite poet, to rouse you so that we may continue to fight for our cause.

Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.

--Ulysses, Alfred Lord Tennyson

This Article is an opinion article, and therefore does not represent the views of Everyday News nor its staff.

Additionally, the format for this Article is different than regular issues in order to preserve the original format of this Article, as submitted by the writer. A few minor edits were made to the Article, but nothing major.