This year the Academy Awards included online content from backstage and there Ms. Arquette elaborated on comments made in acceptance of her award. She called for a constitutional amendment addressing equal rights between men and women. She said the words "constitutional" and "amendment" and used them to describe her fierce conviction as a citizen. While some have voiced displeasure with other comments for the way they framed an issue, as if gender equality proceeds racial equality or other issues of equality, they forget the awards are an industry function, and it was absolutely appropriate for a colleague to call out perceived inequality. The emotional moment perhaps affected clarity, but they were authentic, heartfelt sentiments which some of her fellow actors cheered from the audience.
Unbeknownst to Ms. Arquette, two days prior, Mr. Norris also engaged in talk about a constitutional amendment. It was not the same as Ms. Arquette's, but the point is they are both calling for constitutional amendments. They're properly engaged in political discourse as Americans--this is the way we do it here. And maybe it wouldn't be that important if only professional actors were calling for constitutional amendments but the fact is there are millions of Americans lined up right behind them with the same or similar thoughts. There are millions of Americans with the same or similar thoughts as to what might be done to address the injustice we see at this time.
To be clear, calling for an amendment is not the same as formally proposing one, and proposing one is not the same as ratifying one. The legal order of things in our form of government, if all is in working order, an idea takes hold in the society and the Congress proposes it to the states. But these days things are not in working order and apparently everyone but members of Congress knows it. Congress is no longer capable of proposing amendments. It's been a few decades now and it's no one person or group's fault, it's just what happens over time, and it's this scenario which is the very reason the alternate mode of proposal exists.
Article V has been discussed for decades and up until now was simply dismissed as an obscure mechanism to rewrite the Constitution, when upon close examination, proves to be one of two modes of proposal--Congress or Convention. Regardless what either group offers the states to take or leave, it's only the approval of 75%--38/50--which transforms the society the way an overwhelming majority would like to see it transform. The principle of a 3/4 super-majority required for ratification makes it mathematically impossible for we the living to harm ourselves. For those who warn of the dangers of a convention--or a "con-con"--they are in essence warning you to fear Americans today finding broad agreement on an issue.
Since we have nothing to fear except fear itself, it would be great if artists like Ms. Arquette and Mr. Norris joined in the call for a convention of state delegations, so we the living can propose ideas for positive change. If not, there is an inevitable conclusion in store for a society which does not fight forces of corruption, and it's been happening for almost two decades now. In this day and age of celebrity we cannot deny the utility of having one or more to rally the American public in the proper way. What ought their message be? Perhaps, that while we all have an idea of what might be done, none of us are going anywhere until we all come to the table first; we need to formally propose the change, instead of talking about it only.
Writer/artist/activist from California, with a degree in Creative Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Advocating for the convention clause of Article V since 2001.
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