We began our virtual meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and invocation by Art Ayers with thanks for our opportunities to serve.


Our guest this morning was our speaker, Dr. David Ryden from Hope College.



  • Please start planning ahead to work our turn at the Thursday Night Dinners in January, February and March.

  • Kenya Call set for today at 10:00AM

  • Bob Stickland wants everyone to know that we will be Bell Ringing on Saturday, December 19th.  He has just FOUR spots to fill!  Call Bob to sign up! (269)-214-0376.  Call him right now, while you are reading about it!

  • President Thompson mentioned that he called Mike Livovich and Jerry Portman last week and enjoyed talking to them, said it was uplifting, and encouraged other members to give them a call.

  • Pastor Jeff reminded us about a special We Care fundraising event going on now.  There is be a huge display of model trains set up in the new apartment building nest to the Masonic Lodge downtown. The display runs Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 4 – 7 and Saturdays from noon - 5 through Christmas.  Volunteers are needed.  Proceeds from donations will go to We Care.

  • Our We Care Christmas Donation.  Last year, in conjunction with our Christmas party, we donated $4,000 to We Care.  Without a Christmas dinner this year, we are counting on our membership to continue to support this charity.  Tom has already collected $1,800 so we need another $2,200.  You can donate by sending a check to South Haven Rotary Charities/We Care to South Haven Rotary, P.O. Box 24, South Haven, MI 49090.  If you have a particular ministry you wish your donation to go to, note that on the memo line of your check.

A Touch of Humor

Bob Copping commented on the real meaning of the term “cell” phone and injuring himself when he dropped the book The Christmas Story on his foot.  It hurt like the Dickens!

Member Spotlight

Bob Boerma provided a brief history of his life for us.  He met his wife Karen at Band Camp in Muskegon while in high school.  He attended WMU and became the Band Director at Constantine High School after graduation.  While in Constantine he first joined Rotary.  He then moved to Sturgis and a year later to South Haven as band director, arriving in 1967.  He also led the choir at the Congregational Church.  He was a Rotarian in South Haven but had to drop out as the then evening meetings made it difficult for him to attend.  Several years later, after Bob gave a presentation about some additional needs for the under construction Listiak Auditorium, Jim Davis presented him with the opportunity to rejoin for which Bob still thanks Jim for.  Bob also spent many evenings playing in dance bands at events all over Southwest Michigan.  He and Karen enjoy spending time with his son Scott, Dirsctor of Bands at WMU, his daughter Janet, Head of the Biology Department at GVSU and their families, including two grandkids.

50/50 and Fines

Mary Sue Lyons won the big prize this week and Rhonda Wendzel will get to take home $2.


Fines were charged to:

  • Richard Swanson is celebrating is son’s and his sister’s birthday.

  • Dene Hadden’s daughter-in-law will have a birthday this week.

  • Tom Ruesink has two brothers celebrating birthdays this week.  They were born 26 years apart.

  • Pete Swanson’s son is celebrating a birthday this week.

  • Jerry Gruber’s Son-in-law has a birthday this week.

  • Larry Wittkop led us in a Ludington style Happy Birthday this week which appeared to sound pretty good.


Tom Renner introduced our distinguished speaker this morning, Dr. David Ryden from Hope College, a renowned author and head of the Hope College Political Science Department.  Dr. Ryden has written extensively on the Electoral College and the Supreme Court.


Dr. Ryden noted that most people in the country do not like the Electoral College.  It was a creation of the Constitution in the hope that this system would help select leaders that would be viewed as the best for the country.  The Electors were selected by methods set by individual state legislators.  The states were originally very independent in their methods.  Most are now similar, although Maine and Iowa use a district method.  The system was set up before the advent of the two-party system and also forgot about balloting for the Vice President.


Dr. Ryden highlighted  five elections that tested the system, beginning in 1824 when there were four candidates and the election went to the House for a decision.  In 1876 a very close election also went to Congress where Rutherford B. Hayes was the eventual winner but ended the reconstruction as part of his deal to win, effectively starting more than a century of Jim Crow laws,

In 2000 the election was decided by the Supreme Court and the presidency of our country ended up being decided by 537 votes, and a 5-4 Supreme Court decision.


In 2016 and now in 2020 less than 77,000 votes decided the election.  In 2016 3 Midwest states decided the election and despite the urging of her campaign, Hillary Clinton refused to contest the election.  In 2020 three states again made the difference and in spite of unproven charges of fraud and attempts to get state legislatures to appoint electors supporting him, Donald Trump was defeated.


Dr. Ryden pointed out a few arguments against the college:  It is out of sync with the concept of majority rule and has gone against the popular vote in several recent elections.  It also takes away the legitimacy of the winner when the popular vote does not match the Electoral College result.  It skews the campaign as candidates focus on “swing” states and ignores those states that typically vote the same way each election.  It also offends the notion of one person/one vote as the number of persons represented by each elector varies greatly depending on the population of each state.


Ideas for replacing the Electoral College include using a nationwide popular vote, a district plan whereby each congressional district chooses its own elector or the possibility of a national interstate compact where each state agrees to appoint electors based on who wins the popular vote.


In favor of keeping the Electoral College are arguments that include the notion of Federalism which reminds candidates that they have to pay attention to all states and the huge variety of populations that make up each state.  They have to achieve 50 majorities, not one.  Dr. Ryden likes the analogy of a world series (in particular, his favorite, the 1991 series between Atlanta and the Twins).  It is necessary to win four individual games, not score more total runs than the other team, to win the series.


President Thompson thanked Dr. Ryden for his intriguing presentation and presented him with a thank you gift certificate to Taste.


We closed the meeting with the Four Way Test

  • NEXT WEEK:   Club Assemby and Election of Officers 

  • Editarian:  Dene Hadden