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Open Letter to Lawrence Lessig & Joe Trippi

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Message John De Herrera
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Dear Mr. Lessig & Mr. Trippi,

I was excited to find out about Change Congress, but reviewing its website discovered no mention of the Article V Convention. Although little known to the public, the Article V Convention is objectively the most profound aspect of the U.S. Constitution. While Change Congress has correctly identified the legislative branch as the core which all political issues revolve, this principle was also understood at our government's founding. It was known then and still is today that money corrupts, and that institutionalized corruption would eventually obtain in the Congress. Change Congress is addressing an aspect of human nature--if not a fundamental law of the human condition--and that danger was foresighted by the Founders, it's why the convention clause was written into our supreme law.

So far the strategy of Change Congress is to tag members who are on record against corruption and/or favor public-funded campaigns, but I submit only a federal convention of state delegates has the political weight and inertia required to shatter and sweep aside the current status quo. Many citizens today do not recognize their country, and of course the problem is the legislative branch. The Founders would tell us we're at the point now that if the nation is to survive other than in name only, the Article V Convention must be convoked.

On the Change Congress website a member writes about the problems of electronic voting. While nothing short of a convention will shatter the corruption, nothing short of standardized elections will protect the electoral process from privatized voting. Without secure/accurate elections surely the Free World will atrophy and inevitably cease to exist. I can explain how these assertions are correct, but here only ask you consider such a position as the truth.

In our audio/visual age the best way to achieve the goal of purging institutionalized corruption from governance is to assemble 100 U.S. college students, along with Robert's Rules of Order, and document them carrying out of the convention clause of Article V--to capture hours of tape, which could then be edited into a feature documentary. Gathering together 100 bright, young Americans to talk about change will result in many poignant as well as entertaining moments. The documentary could then be entered into all national/international film festivals. By doing this the political science can be created whereby the U.S. Congress would then either appropriate the idea and convoke our first Article V Convention, and/or propose the voting process be standardized and publicly funded. In other words, the Article V Convention can be utilized to coerce the Congress (as a body) to act in the public interest, and at this moment in history our generation needs to secure The Vote from private interests if the world is to remain free. I think most everyone understands that secure and accurate voting is not impossible. The way other current democratic governments run elections is proof it can be done better. Why shouldn't the U.S.A. lead the world in efficiency and accuracy in voting systems? If the thought just went through your head, something like, "They would never allow accurate voting in America." Then consider the sunlight of the Article V Convention.

In the end, isn't that what we all really want as Americans? That if a citizen wants to vote, they can, and it will be properly expressed? Without that how can life as an American be romantic? It can't. The talk of the establishment east and media west both frame reality as if the voting process is fine the way it is, that it's not worth mention. The people who comprise executive level positions on either coast of the nation naturally would not be interested in electoral reform. Some might even be persuaded not to talk about it, or pretend they don't know what you're talking about if you do.

The institutionalized corruption is not a person to be reasoned with, but a "legal fiction" which must be brought under control by other means. Popularizing the convention clause will lead to the goal of securing the voting process from private interests through a 28th Amendment proposal, which in turn will secure freedom for humanity. I therefore humbly suggest that Change Congress co-produce Article V Documentary. We could have it take place at either UCSB or Stanford (the former is my alma mater, where you delivered your presentation in April, and I've discussed this project briefly with Chancellor Yang).

Institutionalized corruption is no single living person's fault: it's not the current president's fault, it won't be the next president's fault, nor is it the fault of any single member of Congress today or of the last fifty years. It just is, and now is the right moment in our history to press the reset button. Perhaps the 28th Amendment, among other things, will mandate an Article V Convention at least once every twenty-five years.

I hope we have time to discuss this further at Netroots Nation.


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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