We go to the polls on election days and vote for the candidates who promise us most convincingly that they will address our needs. Why do we expect that the person we elect will be any more honest and dedicated than the candidate we reject? The problem is not with our representatives. It is with the oligarchic system of government within which they work.
The waltz of the oligarchs
Our activist non-governmental organizations (NGO's) work hard to influence our thousand or so Members of Congress and presidential appointees. However, the results of their efforts are incremental at most. We (along with our civil officers and our NGO'S) are dancing to a carefully orchestrated waltz - with our oligarchs calling the tune.
Our founding fathers anticipated times such as these - and gave us the means for dealing with them. We rank-and-filers from all political parties must unite and exercise the powers given us by our forefathers in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
The political divisions
It appears to this ordinary American that there are two levels of political division in the US. First, there are divisions among ordinary Americans with regard to the "social issues." These divisions arise from genuine and important differences in beliefs. For example, some of us believe abortion is a reasonable alternative in some situations. Others believe just as firmly that it its not. It is the task of our political parties and their leaders to find ways for us to live peacefully with these differences it is not, however, their task or their inclination to reform themselves. Indeed, they lack the constitutional power to do so.
The second level of division pits our oligarchs and their associates (the civil officers of our government and the leaders of our political parties) against us ordinary Americans. This level of division also arises from genuine and important differences.
Our oligarchs wish to control our government in order to stack the financial cards in their favor. Our (their) Members of Congress and presidential appointees wish to continue their comfortable life styles. This means continuing to receive the campaign contributions and other favors that are in the gift of the oligarchs. They fear that, without these campaign contributions and favors, they would lose their elitist lifestyles and their celebrity status - along with their seats.
We ordinary Americans wish to receive an equitable share of the national profits and wealth. This cannot happen so long as the oligarchs are able to stack the financial cards.
We must stop the dance
Hence the waltz we all dance together in order to live with these conflicting interests. It is clear that, in order for us ordinary Americans to receive our fair share of the national wealth, we must stop dancing and transfer a significant amount of the present oligarchic influence over our government into our own hands. The tables presented in my recent article on the quality of life suggest that this transfer can be accomplished by increasing our national levels of democracy and governmental honesty. We know that higher levels than we possess are possible because they have been achieved by almost one-half of the 32 member nations of the Organization for Cooperation and Development (OECD). It is also clear from a close look at our present Constitution that it must be altered in a number of very specific ways in order to achieve these higher levels of democracy and lower levels of corruption.
Washington tried to tell us a fundamental truth
As Washington noted in his 1796 Farewell Address, "The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government." Our Forefathers were careful to place the power to exercise this right where it can be accessed by us - and where it is as far removed as possible from the hands of our federal government. Article V provides for our accessing the power to propose amendments through conventions called by our state legislatures. We can ratify these amendments through our state legislatures or through state conventions called for this purpose.
Citizens for Self-Governance and its COS
A group of about 100 mostly Republican state legislators has already begun to take action. This group has been meeting under the aegis of the Citizens for Self-Governance with the goal of bringing about a constitutional convention. They call their effort the Convention of States Project. This title suggests that the federal government's role will be to provide administrative support only and will not include the right to attend the convention or to be involved in any way with the establishment of convention agendas, rules or guidelines.
Their title also suggests a desire for a truly representative convention. In order to assure a representative convention, the method of choosing delegates should be established by the state legislatures. This can be done by including the method in a standard application form for the use of the several state legislatures in requiring Congress to call the convention.