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Open Letter to Richard Serra

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Message John De Herrera
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Dear Mr. Serra,

We've never met, but I've seen you a few times in documentaries and such. I'm also a sculptor, I once won an all-college show with something I welded together out of old, bent railroad spikes. I spent a week roaming the tracks for the material.

I'm not sure if I remember correctly, but I thought I had seen you making some sense about 9-11. It was a short clip, but your sensibility seemed as though a political science project might interest you. It's really about whether we want corporate interests and the U.S. Dollar to helm the ship of state, or if it's time for a change of course.

It should be fairly clear to all that the legislative branch is securely locked into a mode of institutionalized corruption. It's a statistical fact actually, and as a gauge of just how corrupt our government has become, they estimate this presidential election will top out near a billion dollars. When you have elections costing a billion dollars, though with proper legislation they could be more accurate and done at a fraction of the cost, then it's safe to say there's a problem.

The remedy has been tarred and feathered for many years. The framers of the Constitution placed it in Article V with the provision for a national convention. The tar and feathers have been the arguments that if we hold a national convention anything could happen and it would just be a big mess. But it's never explained that nothing but discussion can happen at a convention because the delegates can't ratified anything--it's just a big brainstorming session on how to create change. Only two groups can do it and members of Congress have of course always been reluctant to share the power of creating change. All these years we've never had a simple meeting of state delegates to see if there was anything better than what's coming out of Congress. If nothing else, the convention is a gauge to see if the Congress is actually working at all. If no better amendment proposals come from delegates, then members of Congress must be doing a pretty good job, right? The only remaining question is whether the delegates would just be a bunch more stuffed shirts and blouses, or would a proper amendment be proposed? Even if the convention erred and no one delegate figured out a good idea for the country now, which is doubtful, the convention itself would be more significant that any proposed amendment. Only if an amendment were ratified would it become more important than the convention, and with the country so polarized, it's likely that only an amendment on electoral reform would have any chance of getting 75% of the electorate to agree. It could be as easy as this: From here on all state and federal elections will be standardized and made uniform throughout the states. Just that alone, within a few years, would begin to accurately express the will of Americans.

Anyway, I'm hoping you recognize the importance of holding a national convention, and I'm inviting you to be a Friend of the Article V Convention. There's going to be a website and all that, but for now, I'm just asking you to consider it. Or at the least, turn over the idea for a bit. We're aiming to float the idea into the presidential debate. Will Edwards or Obama, if elected chief executive, pressure the Congress to carry out its constitutional obligation and issue the call to the states? I like to say that whichever nominee declares that they are Conventionist, and that they will make Article V an important issue of their administration, they'd have victory. It's a little complicated in that respect, but we'll see what happens as the days unfold.

The reason I wrote to you today is because I wanted some relief from work, so I had a daydream I got to walk through a steel mill or shipbuilding yard with you to discuss the properties of steel in general and some of the types of machinery used to shape it. Maybe one day.

Wishing you more great works.


John De Herrera
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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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