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Open Letter to Prince

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Message John De Herrera
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Dear Prince,

I caught your performance at halftime at the Superbowl and it was really great. It was likely the best halftime performance to date--which if truthful--it's nice to know that things in some corners of consciousness continue to improve. You were really great. I kind of viewed your performance as a reply to Jack White of the White Stripes, i.e. what can be done with a guitar and drums alone. And while I've enjoyed your music over the years, I'd never really examined your artistry, and was really wowed by your mastery of rock guitar. If you have not already, you should bust down the doors with a new album of crunchy chords/searing licks--something raw to turn high on a weekend night, or during a workout to get endorphins.

Anyway, I wanted to write this letter to tell you about some projects I've been working on. I have no idea what your political bent is, but I know you're aware of the negative effect of corporate governance on the arts and artistic control. And, being an artist, I presume you're always interested in ideas in general.

My last open letter was to another artist, the sculptor Richard Serra. The overarching idea is whether we really want corporate interests and the U.S. Dollar to helm the ship of state. Governance and the management of a great society should not be allowed to devolve into such a charade as the one currently before us. The people are getting pretty banged-up by their government right now, and that's not good for anyone.

Today 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, they estimate this presidential election will top a billion dollars. When you have elections costing a billion dollars, though with proper legislation could be done at a fraction of the cost, and more accurately, then it's safe to say there's a problem.

The remedy has been tarred and feathered for many years. The lawyers who wrote the Constitution placed it in Article V with the provision for a national convention. The tar and feathers have been arguments that if we hold a convention anything could happen and it would be a big mess. But it's never explained that only discussion can happen at a convention: the delegates can't ratify anything--it's just a big brainstorming session on how to create change--we might as well passed your mic around to everyone at the stadium and had them declare their favorite idea about how to change the government. A convention can say whatever it wants, but three-quarters of the country have to agree before it's going anywhere.

But wouldn't just the discussion be a good thing? Only two groups can do it--Congress or Convention--and members of Congress of course are paid not to share the power of creating change. All these years we've never had a simple meeting of state delegates, a simple, peaceful, revolution of sorts. 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? Just as you and your music were the focal point of much of the nation yesterday, a national convention would focus America on itself and possible solutions to more pressing questions. How exciting would it be to watch modern-day Jeffersons, Madisons and Monroes emerge? They are out there right now, men and women who know the issues, who would make quick work of the mess. How exciting would it be to dismiss what is tired and out of date, and replace it with a world where the will of the electorate is properly expressed, where the dollar is taken out of the equation in terms of elections. With the country so polarized, it's likely that only an amendment on electoral reform would have any chance of getting enough of the country to agree. It could be words as easy as this: From here on all state and federal elections will be standardized and made uniform throughout the states.

Anyway, I'm hoping you recognize the importance of holding a national convention. We're aiming to float the idea into the presidential debate. Will Obama or any other candidate, if elected chief executive, pressure the Congress to do its job and issue the call to the states? A lot of people are afraid about what will happen if a convention is called. We know things are corrupt, and people are guilty of participating in that corruption, but the country knows that the military/industrial complex is no ones fault. The 28th Amendment should simply standardize the vote across all fifty states, minimized the points of failure in elections, and let's get on with it.

Since Congress will never propose such an idea because members are given money not to, today we're all either Conventionist or Anti-Conventionist. We have nothing to fear from a convention because it can't ratify anything. It's just a discussion about whether we want billion dollar elections or not. Whether we want babies of whores to have a fighting chance in the world. They are pieces of consciousness just like you and I, Prince. As said, let's secure the vote from private interests with a convention and get on with it. Let's rock. Let's Celebrate.

I'll assume you wouldn't mind music playing a part in a peaceable revolution. I mean, it ought to. Why not? I think you're the perfect person to open the convention, or maybe if the gravity of the moment is too solemn, then you could close the convention. A new version of the Star Spangled Banner? That would be cool. We'll see. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Wishing you further 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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