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We celebrate drinking, angels and an amendment based on compensation!
It’s Friday, March 24, and as a nation, we are celebrating two of my favorite things: Cheesesteaks and Cocktails. Whoever thought to combine these two gifts to my gut as separate national holidays on the same day is okay.
You are always a gift to me because you support Okay History. In your gut, you feel the same.
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Fridays are great, aren’t they? One thing that makes them extraordinary is that they tend to be paydays. Not necessarily for me; I get paid on the 15th and 30th of every month as a thank-you for my service. But I’m sure for many OKH subscribers, plenty of Fridays mean checking your bank account before your partner spends all the money.
Fridays also usually end with cocktails, and outside of Lent, we should feel good about beginning the weekend with a nice Old Fashioned, then chowing down on some delicious grilled prime beef nestled into a toasted roll, covered with cheese, onions, and guilt. Yum!
I’ll share some more drinking thoughts towards the end, but let’s focus on Friday Payday. Compensation is the general theme of this edition of the Amendment Rankings, and we look at how Congress is allowed to pay itself.
So let’s celebrate the 27th Amendment to the Constitution!
25: Amendment XXVII
Its purpose: Established how Congress can compensate itself.
Year proposed: 1789
Year Ratified: 1992
The years this amendment was proposed and when it was ratified are not typos. The Twenty-seventh Amendment shows that no matter how long it takes, we will end up ratifying anything as long as we don’t put in a deadline. To me, this is the procrastination amendment. Like when I tell Anonymous I’ll do something, and it takes about three years to get to it, or books I bought before we met that I have yet to open.
Another good thing this amendment does is it eliminates corruption or the appearance of corruption, where Congress could give themselves hefty raises while they work. And who among us wouldn’t give ourselves a raise the first chance we could while no one was looking?
Why did this take so long? The Twenty-seventh Amendment was supposed to be the Second Amendment, which is hilarious because, after freedom of religion, speech, and all of that, Congress wanted the people to know that Congress was on top of reeling itself in by making sure it didn’t give itself a raise. They decided this was more important than, say, not allowing troops to live in our homes.
I can understand how someone dropped the ball. After all, the First Congress was setting up the Departments of Treasury, run by our boy, the Cool Rap Guy, and the War Department, which is what it should be named today instead of Defense because War is what it does.
They had a lot to do initially, so you can appreciate figuring out how they paid themselves fell between the cracks.
The only way I see this turning ugly is if the majority party loses Congress significantly, they could, in theory, lower their pay for the next Congress as retribution.
Generally speaking, any talk of paying our government wages always turns ugly, conflict even, especially when we learn that almost every single of them gets insider information on stocks.
Who proposed it?
I think the entire First Congress. But what’s great about this amendment is how an average history paper got it ratified.
Gregory Watson, a 19-year-old student at the University of Texas, discovered that the Compensation Amendment could still be ratified. He typed up what he thought was a brilliant research paper, but his professor gave him a C. This would seem to appear to be a miscarriage of justice!
But at Okay History, getting C on your homework, which can turn into ratifying an amendment, is inspirational. This is why I began this newsletter - that okay history lessons can change the world!
Being inspired, Okay History is going to work to get Alexander Hamilton off the $10 bill. WHO’S WITH ME?!
Why did I rank it here?
The way this amendment has been handled was a mess, and it doesn’t give me confidence in the way our government keeps paperwork.
During his work, Watson discovered that Ohio had passed this thing back in 1873. Ohio is a state not known for its organization and processing skills. Wyoming passed it in 1978 and didn’t tell anyone.
As a republic, aren’t we supposed to talk to each other? How does a state assembly pass a Constitutional amendment and not tell anyone? More investigations discovered that Kentucky passed it in 1792 and North Carolina in 1789.
Come on, everyone. Is no one keeping track of this stuff?
I don’t think it’s a highly regarded Amendment. However, a Supreme Court case was used to justify the length of time any amendment proposed by Congress. The Court, led by this okay guy, ruled in Coleman vs. Miller that Congress could decide to put a deadline on the ratification process.
The argument facing the court on Coleman revolved around the proposed Child Labor Amendment, which would allow Congress to regulate the work conditions of children under eighteen. Right now, 28 of the necessary 38 states have ratified it. And by current events, we sure could use some momentum to get this taken care of. So I think third from the bottom is a place to put the most recent amendment.
I’d love some feedback.
Before we get to cocktail hour later today, I wanted to share a book I think you’ll like. Drinking with the Saints by Michael Foley.
This is a case where if you judge a book by its cover, you would be correct. There’s a cocktail for almost every Feast Day of every Saint in the Catholic Tradition, and the drinks are tailored to that specific Saint’s life.
I occasionally browse this book, and it’s so much fun. Although I never have the necessary ingredients, let alone where to find most of them, it’s a funny book that combines my Faith and my Drinking.
Today we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Gabriel. A brief history of Gabriel. Gabriel is the Angel who told Mary that she would give birth to Jesus and don’t worry about the sex part; God had it covered, like Manifest Destiny.
What better way to celebrate National Cocktail Day while reflecting on the Twenty-seventh Amendment to the Constitution and our lack of communication during the ratification process than drinking a drink made for the Patron Saint of Communications?
Here’s the Silent Broadsider for the Angel who interrupted Mary’s dreams. If you have anisette, please let me know what it is and where I can get it. Enjoy!
I’ll be back on Monday. Until then, please don’t blow your paycheck.