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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/22/13

Why a New Constitution is our Best Hope and Marijuana/Hemp Legalization is our Second

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Part 1: Why a New Constitution is Our Best Hope

Having the longest-lasting constitution that is the hardest to change is a negative, not a positive.  Personally I advocate radical egalitarianism, democratic world government, and nuclear disarmament.  The constitutional-convention process that I propose maximizes democracy, and it will completely level the playing field by removing the influence of money.  But what can people like me do if the American people under a new constitution desire laissez-faire capitalism, a flat tax, and a neo-conservative foreign policy?  We can try a new approach in popularizing our preferences, but our plight will be less dismal than it is now because future constitutions will  be easier to amend and easier to abolish.   

In my ideal constitution, I would empower the 7 largest national political parties, create proportional representation in a unicameral national legislature, and abolish the US Senate and the Electoral College.  I also would advocate single-payer health insurance, with the government as the single payer, and a public banking system that abolishes the Federal Reserve.  For some types of elections, I would recommend instant runoff voting. 

Since I am still listing my personal preferences, I would change state governments as well: I would empower them from the bottom-up, from the neighborhood block club, to the precinct, township, county, and ultimately to the state legislative council that would make judicial and executive-branch appointments, as the lower levels would also be able to do.    

Regarding the public schools (as a retired teacher), I would let the residents, who live within the geographical districts of every elementary, middle, and high school, use public funds to develop their own educational philosophy and curriculum--with neither federal, state, county, nor township school superintendent hierarchical control.  This feature can bring back neighborhood togetherness and community solidarity, as neighbors get to know one another better and form common dreams. 

But why is a new constitution needed?  The world and the nation have changed since the constitution was written in 1787 and since the current government was first implemented with the presidency of George Washington in 1789.  There have been 27 amendments to the constitution for repairs and updates from time to time, but an entirely new supreme civil document is now long overdue.  Dialogue and careful consideration is needed with full participation from every citizen. 

Some libertarians and original constitutionalists believe it was wrong to allow average citizens, rather than state legislators, to elect the US Senate (Amendment 17).  Others oppose the income tax altogether or the unfair way that the wealthy and poor are now taxed (Amendment 16).  Both conservatives and liberals would like to clarify the wording of the Second Amendment regarding the "right to bear arms"  and whether the Federal Reserve, a private organization, should have been formed in 1913 when the constitution says that Congress shall "coin money, [and] regulate the power thereof" (Article I, Section 8).  

Many people resent the fact that our 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 tells how the constitution can be amended, and it is 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 Jefferson recommended doing with every new generation. 

Article I, Section 8, says that Congress has the ability to declare war, but current presidents start wars too freely.  It would also seem that the National Security Administration (NSA), the Pentagon, the CIA, FBI, Homeland Security, and transnational corporations--the military-industrial complex--pretty much do whatever they want in regards to foreign policy and domestic surveillance.  "If voting could change anything [significantly], it would be abolished," is one of my favorite quotes.   John Perkins, author of the book Confessions of an Economic Hitman also expresses my sentiments:  "We cannot have homeland security until the whole earth is our homeland." 

In a world that is changing fast, any new constitution must show how it can be amended and also abolished easily in a fair, orderly, and nonviolent way.  To make it easier to amend and to abolish our current constitution--a constitutional amendment must be passed. 

Constitutional amendments are difficult to pass when the issues are polarized.  The Twenty-Sixth Amendment, which reduced the voting age to 18, was passed in a few months.  But if a new Twenty-Eighth Amendment proposal could show how a constitutional convention could be held that totally levels the playing field among Republicans, Democrats, and the 5 major political third parties, this idea could pick up momentum.  Here is one way the proposal could be written: 

Proposal for a Twenty-Eighth Amendment to Revise Article V: How to Amend and to Abolish the Constitution More Easily

The United States government can be changed through new amendments added to the constitution.  It can also be modified when Congress passes new federal laws or statutes.  But to change the federal government completely by abolishing the constitution, there has to be a Constitutional Convention to rewrite a new constitution. 

How to Add Amendments to the Current Constitution More Easily

To change or modify the federal government by merely adding amendments to the Constitution, the United States Congress (including both the House and the Senate) must pass any proposed amendment to the Constitution with at least a 67% majority in both Houses.  The previous, additional ratification by 3/4 of the state legislatures, is no longer required.

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October 9, 2019: I grew up in a church that said you had to speak in tongues to get saved and go to heaven. I often prayed fervently for the experience in the prayer room at church, where people would cry and wail, and roll on the floor. (more...)
 

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