One would have to go back to the bleakest times in our history to match what is going on with our government today. (For a clear, concise, and authoritative overview of this history, one could not ask for a better source than the recently published "The Crisis of the Middle Class Constitution", by Ganesh Sitaraman, which is the main basis for this article.)
The creation of the American constitution was the culmination of millennia of political philosophies concerning the eternal conflict between proletarian, middle class, and autocratic factions in societies. It gave promise of a satisfactory resolution of the conflict by structuring a popularly-elected government with balancing powers divided among administrative, legislative and judicial branches.
At the birth of the nation, before its rapid expansion and industrialization, a relative equality existed among the population, at least in opportunities, that promoted stability - aside from the issues of slavery and native peoples. As the nation became more settled and industrialized, the inevitable disparities of economic development stirred up the familiar factions of society which we experience today, mainly as extreme inequalities of wealth distribution.
The restraints built into the original constitution did not prevent the rising wealthy class from eventually influencing government policy in its favor by the sway of money in the electoral process, essentially buying the loyalty of presidential and congressional candidates and members. They, in turn, select candidates favorable to their patrons' interests for administrative and judicial positions. An honest electoral process is the foundation of a democratic government. Numerous tyrannies, such as North Korea, can call themselves a democracy by virtue of fake elections.
There is nothing in the Articles of the Constitution that could define corruption of the electoral process as an act of treason. The integrity of the electoral process is left up to the individual states. In fact, the constitution defines treason only as a conspiracy against the government during war or insurrection. (Was no confederate tried for treason?)
But are we not now in a state of insurrection? Has not a domestic enemy of democracy, conceived as government to benefit the general public, surreptitiously taken over the government and conspires against the founding principles imbedded in the Preamble of our constitution? Is this proxy government forming a more perfect union or establishing justice among all the people? Is it insuring domestic tranquillity and promoting the general welfare, or only that of its wealthy patrons? Is it establishing justice for all and providing for the common defense against the ravages of violence, diseases and of our polluted environment while not provoking foreign wars? Is it securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, or is it taking liberties for its impersonal corporate patrons? The servants of this administration took an oath to defend the constitution but have disregarded that oath for party loyalty. If this be not treason, I know not what is.
The Republican party that created this administration, mainly by manipulation of the electoral process, will never represent the majority as long as it is beholden to the corporate oligarchy that rules the country by means of money (bribery) and any political tool it can muster. Its diminishing loyal base stubbornly clings to their privileges and proprietary status of the static past, hoping to defend against the forces of erosion and change that threaten them - or are oblivious of them.
The constitution, as presently structured, is an impediment to solving the serious problems facing our country today. Its lack of flexibility serves the purposes of those who like the status quo, but it is not suited for contemporary times when one mad man can virtually destroy the world with the touch of a button. The constitution does not provide for the selection of wise leaders who have the knowledge, integrity, and the moral courage to act upon the antidotes to the problems we face that are provided by the accumulated wisdom of our civilization.
The renewal of our democracy should start with a thorough clean up of the electoral process. Beyond that - and more important - is the political wakening of the voting public, as opposed to the dumbing down we have today by endless distractions. This involves not only eliminating the lies and deception in the public media, but the improvement in political education and participation so that every citizen can become a watchdog for democratic values and have the judgement to select wise leaders. As it stands now, as exemplified by our current leaders, we may sympathize with Socrates, who thought democracy is like giving donkeys the vote. *
The essential part of our Constitution lies only in the Preamble. We could re-organize our government in other ways than as spelled out in the articles and amendments of the constitution. Or, we could do away with the articles and amendments altogether since they are not preserving our democracy, and use only the inspired philosophy of the Preamble as the basis of all governmental actions and judicial decisions by wisely selected judges - and be much better off.
- There is an example of this, as reported in the Tacoma News Tribune sometime in the late 1930's, as best as I can remember. A man in a small community in Pierce County, Washington managed to register his donkey for an minor position in a county election. And the donkey won!
Comment for OpEdNews:
One would have to go back to the bleakest times in our history to match what is going on with our government today.