More about the Constitution

I want to share an ongoing discussion about a Truthout Article: The Economy We Want Starts With a Constitutional Amendment by Keith Harrington.

My first comment was ‘We need a lot more than an amendment to address election financing: we need a drastically re-written Constitution.”

Someone with the handle ratherdrive posted:

Serious question here, Elizabeth:

BY what specific method do you see an entirely new Constitution “coming first from the people,” followed by ratification of 38 States. and last by 2/3rds of Congress?

I answered:
It’s a very good question and one that needs a serious answer, which I will attempt to give.

My first thought was to find a group of serious thinkers from different walks of life to become the modern day Founding Fathers (I had in mind Nobel Laureates) who would draft a constitution for the 21st century.

But then I went to Cuba for a solar energy conference. We visited several co-op farms, and at one met members of the local “Committee” in the communist sense. From them I learned that, when he came to power, Raul asked the people what they wanted. They got together in their local committees of 20-30 and discussed the matter. Then they forwarded their suggestions to the regional committee, who amalgamated the suggestions from the local committees and forwarded those ideas to the next level up. The central committee received 200,000 (if I remember correctly) suggestions, and took a couple of years to sift through them and write new policies reflecting the will of the people. Pretty startling coming from the last hold-out of communism.

The US could approach the matter of the Constitution in much the same way. You, to invent an example, get together with your Rotary group, or your co-workers, of your church and talk about what works and doesn’t work about the Constitution as it stands. You select a spokesperson to get together with representatives of other groups in your community, and you talk about these ideas. Repeat as often as necessary until you have a group of, maybe 200, representing the entire country. They divide into committees according to expertise and draw up the first draft.

You can see the rest of it – good thoughtful stuff – at http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/34860-the-economy-we-want-starts-with-a-constitutional-amendment?tsk=adminpreview#comment-2526683424

That would be widely disseminated and subjected to a comment period, with modifications made if there was sufficient agreement among the comments.

Then State assemblies are asked to sponsor, suggest (I’m not sure what the right term is) a Constitutional Convention.

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4 Responses to More about the Constitution

  1. Henry Halem says:

    That only works if the result is what you want.

  2. Kathy says:

    Actually we the people of the United States LIKE our constitution the way it is. If you don’t like the way things are here in America, go back to where you came from. I don’t understand people like you — if you don’t agree with America’s beliefs why did you come in the first place? We are ONE NATION UNDER GOD and we like it that way. You knew that when you came. So I repeat, if you don’t like America as is, then you didn’t have any business coming here and becoming a citizen. Furthermore, the people in this country who don’t like it are free to leave with you.

    • This is NOT one nation under God. At least, not according to the Constitution. Perhaps you are unaware that the words ‘under God’ were not added to the pledge until 1954. Or that, between 1892 and 1942, the Pledge was accompanied by a salute very similar to the Nazi’s Heil Hitler salute?

      Neil DeGrasse Tyson suggested that a more fitting pledge would be: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the Divided States of America, and to the Pacs for which it stands, one nation, at odds, divisible, with Liberty and Justice for some. Should he leave too?

      Have you actually thought about your statement “the people in this country who don’t like it are free to leave with you”? Have you considered what sort of country results when dissent and criticism are suppressed?

      I think there is a very strong argument to be made that those who care most about a country, any country, are those who take the trouble to point out its weaknesses – and to suggest some solutions to its problems.

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