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The Safest and Fairest Way to have a Constitutional Convention

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From flickr.com/photos/89355994@N05/8244786416/: U.S. Capitol Building, from Southwest in morning
U.S. Capitol Building, from Southwest in morning
(image by will1ill)


Summary: To create a maximum degree of democracy in America, Article V of the Constitution must be revised so that laws will be easier to pass, and the Constitution will be easier to amend and easier to abolish.

When the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling was passed in 2010, corporations and the wealthiest one percent were granted even more power to finance politicians than they had before. Therefore, the Move to Amend petition to reverse the Citizens United decision through a constitutional amendment should be signed by all.

But even before the detestable Citizens United ruling was passed in 2010, the conditions for democracy were still deplorable. So even if Citizens United is hopefully reversed, Americans will still be stuck with the following: the great influence of money on a two-party system; no proportional representation in the election of the House of Representatives; California having the same number of Senators as Wyoming, even though California's population is 70 times larger; the Electoral College system for electing a President; Supreme Court Justices serving for life terms; and the corrupt, private central banking system of the Federal Reserve.

Moreover, even if a Democratic Socialist or a Green Party candidate were elected President, it would take several constitutional amendments to eliminate all the entrenched, undemocratic elements (described above) from the constitution and government. Until these archaic, constitutional components are removed, the undue influence of the one percent will always be present. The best solution is to get a constitutional amendment passed that totally revises Article V, so that it will be easier to pass laws and easier to amend and abolish the constitution in the future. This article tells why and how this should be done.

When one considers the astronomical number of horrendous deaths that have been committed by governments throughout world history, it is easy to see the appeal of nonviolent anarchists who advocate abolishing all government with its inherent hierarchy and forces of domination. And others from the political left, right, and center believe that it is only a utopian dream to believe that a constitutional convention can be held in a safe and fair way because they have a deep distrust of one another.

But those who believe that government can be done away with are the utopian dreamers. Having a government, a constitution, and officially written laws is necessary. Though the United Kingdom does not have a written constitution, it is part of the American tradition to have one. Some of the ideals prescribed here may take several generations to establish if the opinions of dystopian naysayers predominate. Think of the things about which people have said would never be achieved that were achieved in time.

Many Americans have been mesmerized by the mainstream media in believing that to be happy they must partake of the conspicuous consumption of the wealthiest. Large numbers play the lottery frequently, hoping to make their dreams come true. Without having a global and an ecological perspective, it is hard for people to see the value of advocating voluntary simplicity on a universal scale. But if everyone on earth maintained the lifestyle of the average American, our environmental devastation would be much worse. The earth has a carrying capacity; therefore, our practices must be ecologically sustainable. A democratic world government with radical egalitarianism in which the highest wages would be no more than 3 times the lowest is ultimately needed, but that will be an even harder sell than revising Article V.

Having the longest-lasting constitution that is the hardest to change is a negative, not a positive--it is not something to brag about. The total abolition of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy and the national legalization of marijuana for its recreational and medical benefits and hemp for its industrial, agricultural, and ecological benefits are also needed.

But what can progressive people do if the American people, under the next new constitution, implement laissez-faire capitalism, a flat tax, a neo-conservative foreign policy, and increased expenditures for the "war on drugs"? They can keep trying, but their plight will be less dismal than before because with a unicameral national legislature, laws will be easier to pass; and the constitution will be easier to amend and easier to abolish, if this revision of Article V becomes established as a precedent in the design of the next constitution.

The ideal constitution would empower the 7 largest national political parties, use proportional representation to create a unicameral national legislature by abolishing the U.S. Senate, and it would abolish the Electoral College system for electing a President. The ideal constitution would implement single-payer health insurance, with the government as the single payer, and it would establish a public banking system that abolishes the Federal Reserve. Supreme Court Justices would serve 4-year terms, with a maximum of 3 terms, and for some elections, instant runoff voting could be used.

State governments could be changed as well: They could possibly be empowered from the bottom-up, from the neighborhood block club, to the precinct, township, county or municipal city council. The legislature at each of these levels of government could make judicial and executive-branch appointments for their particular level of government. This would prevent voters (the few who still vote) from voting a straight ticket for several electoral races for individuals whom they know nothing about. State legislatures, just like the national legislature, could be elected using a system of proportional representation.

Regarding the public schools (as a retired teacher), residents, who live within the geographical districts of every public elementary, middle, and high school can use public funds to develop their own educational philosophy and curriculum--this will remove all forms of federal, state, county, and township school superintendent hierarchical control of neighborhood schools. Having so called "experts" tell teachers who can teach, what to teach, and how to teach has not worked in our society. This unprecedented, grassroots, decentralized, and nonhierarchical approach to the public schools will produce neighborhood togetherness and community solidarity, as neighbors get to know one another better, and develop common dreams.

Moreover, the front- and backyards of these neighborhood school districts could be used for organic, local food production. These cohesive neighborhoods could evolve into a new and modern form of tribalism. Local groups would probably search the Internet to compare school philosophies and curricula, and the residents, in the process, would be forced to think independently about the important things of life.

But what are other reasons for having a new constitution? The world is changing at an accelerating speed since the constitution was written in 1787 and then implemented with the presidency of George Washington in 1789. There have been 27 amendments added to the constitution, some of which expanded democracy a little. But an entirely new, supreme civil document is now long overdue. The Bill of Rights, which was the first 10 amendments, was not added until two years later in 1791. Thus, having a Bill of Rights for citizens was not the original intent of the oligarchic founding fathers.

Many people resent the fact that our current, supreme document makes reference to how slaves are counted (Article I, Section 2) and how slavery is to be allowed until 1808 (Article V). Article V of the constitution tells how the constitution can be amended, and it is, as mentioned earlier, more difficult to amend than any other constitution on earth. Moreover, there is absolutely no place in the constitution that tells how it can be totally abolished, which, by the way, Thomas Jefferson recommended with every new generation!

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Roger Copple is 64 years old. He retired in May 2010 from teaching general elementary, mostly third grade, for half of his teaching career and middle and high school special education for the other half in the public schools of Indianapolis. He (more...)
 

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A lot of good ideas about getting communities to w... by Shirley Braverman on Friday, Jul 11, 2014 at 8:30:10 AM
No mdoubt a 2nd convention is tough road to go. Ho... by Neal Herrick on Friday, Jul 11, 2014 at 3:01:54 PM
You claim that your amendment to Article V would p... by June Genis on Friday, Jul 11, 2014 at 4:42:57 PM
Dear June Genis, Thanks for responding. I will tr... by Roger Copple on Friday, Jul 11, 2014 at 7:08:15 PM