The Weekly Reflektion 49/2021

Sometimes doing the right thing takes a lot of effort and you have to overcome many obstacles along the way. When you are tyring to make things right you need to be in for the long haul.

Coat of Arms of the United States of America

When you know something is right and you know it should be done, do you stay the course and finish the job?

The 27th Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits any law that increases or decreases the salary of members of Congress from taking effect until after the next election of the House of Representatives. It is the most recently adopted amendment however it was one of the first proposed. The intention of the amendment was to prevent corruption. It gave the opportunity to the people to voice their views on any attempt by their representatives to take an unfair salary increase and remove them from office if they didn’t like it. The 1st Congress submitted the amendment to the states for ratification on September 25, 1789, along with 11 other proposed amendments (Articles I–XII). The last ten Articles were ratified in 1791 to become the Bill of Rights, but the first two, the Twenty-seventh Amendment and the proposed Congressional Apportionment Amendment, were not ratified by enough states be adopted. The 27th Amendment became part of the Constitution on 5th May 1992. The ratification had then taken 202 years, 7 months and 10 days.

The story of how the 27th Amendment eventually became ratified is an example of a determined effort by one person who made up his mind that it was the right thing to do, and it could be done.

Gregory Watson was a high school student at the University of Texas in Austin. In 1982 he wrote a paper where he claimed that the 27th Amendment could still be ratified. His tutor gave him a ‘C’ for his efforts and doubted the claim he made. Watson decided to prove his tutor wrong, and he started a nationwide campaign to complete the ratification. Some of the States had already ratified the Amendment in 1791 and these ratifications were still valid today. Watson wrote to the Legislators in States that had not ratified the Amendment and to Legislators in States that did not exist in 1791 and asked them to start a process to ratify. He involved the media and pushed the importance of a system that could not be abused by the people benefitting from that system. He lobbied, he debated, he articulated, and he didn’t give up until he had succeeded.

If the BP management had stood up for safe operations at the Texas City refinery, then the disaster of 23rd 2005 may have been averted. If the Townsend Thoresen management had stood up for safe channel crossings, then the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster of 6th March 1987 may not have occurred. If the management of London Underground had stood up for at the prevention of fires, then the Kings Cross Underground station disaster of 18th November 1987 may have been avoided. What disasters are waiting for you because you didn’t stand up for what is right?

Gregory Watson’s tutor did the honourable thing and gave Watson a retrospective ‘A’ for his paper when the Amendment was ratified.

Reflekt AS