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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/30/15

The tragedy in the Middle East and Ukraine: canaries in a coal mine

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Our plutocracy, not our corrupt federal government, is the cause of our problem. Our federal government is only a symptom and an instrument. However, it is an instrument geared to respond to money and corporate influence -- rather than to the American people. This means that it can best be reformed by weakening our plutocrats and strengthening our civil officers' dedication to our interests. We can do this by making the giving and accepting of money unpleasant and the abstaining from these activities satisfying and rewarding in positive ways. Our civil officers' present rewards (money, celebrity and elite life styles) instead of joining their interests with ours, set them apart from us.

Our plutocracy is the natural consequence of our failure to amend our Constitution

Our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution and the federalist papers establish us, in principle, as a self-governing country. As Hamilton pointed out in Federalist 80, however, principles are not enough. He wrote every principle established by the Constitution should be supported by constitutional provisions giving it "efficacy." [1] The right to self-government granted us by the Declaration and the Constitution (as interpreted by the federalist papers) is not given "efficacy" by either statutes or explicit constitutional provisions In order to restore our democracy we need, as a minimum, to prohibit the use of private money in federal elections, establish strict impeachment criteria (and provide the resources necessary to enforce them) and establish term limits strict enough to make the continued existence of a professional political class impossible. Explicit provisions to these effects, had they been included in our Constitution, might have prevented our shift from democracy to plutocracy.

We can weaken our plutocracy by amending our Constitution

Amendments to our Constitution are needed that convert it from being a nurturer of plutocracy -- to becoming a strong opponent. Our plutocracy is the root of our problem. Therefore, if we are to provide our ailing government with an effective remedy, we must focus on it - not upon its symptoms. This means the proposing and ratification of strong constitutional amendments.

The Framers intended our Constitution to be a "work in progress."

Our Constitution is an incredible accomplishment. As Hamilton predicted in Federalist 9, America has been the "broad and solid foundation of other edifices, not less magnificent." However, neither he nor Madison nor the other framers had any notion that our Constitution would be anything other than a work in process. Jefferson suggested, in his letter to Madison of Sept. 6, 1789, that it should "expire at the end of every nineteen years." Madison alluded, in Federalist 49, to his opinion that decisions on "new modeling" the powers of government should "recur" to the people. He added that a "road" should be kept open for the people's decision . Hamilton argued in Federalist 85, that the Framers should not insist on perfection since it would " . . be more easy to obtain subsequent . . . " amendments" than to settle every issue during the Convention of 1787,..

We must find a way to obtain strong constitutional amendments

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Neal Herrick is author of the award-wining After Patrick Henry (2009). His most recent book is (2014) Reversing America’s Decline. He is a former sailor, soldier, auto worker, railroad worker, assistant college football coach, (more...)
 

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