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Need for Constitutional Convention?

by John on 05/05/2013

Pheasant hunting in KansasAre we headed in that direction?  Tell me what you think.

But also, after reading this, ask yourself if maybe the American Constitution is OK and there’s something wrong with us.  Maybe as individuals, we really vote and act like we’re special interests that regard the country second.

Here are some signs that say we might need a Constitutional Convention soon.

Consider these recent happenings and insights by thinkers.

First, Kansas elected officials believe a state law supersedes federal laws on gun control.  In other words, Kansas can invalidate a federal law.

Second, read David Stockman’s new book, The Great Deformation.  He calls for radical changes in our Constitution to save our economy and “cleanse our political system.”  For instance, he calls for no private money in campaigns and a shortened political season.

david-stockmanIn an interview with Bill Moyers, Stockman said:

…I think we have to eliminate all contributions above $100 and get corporations out of politics entirely.  Ban corporations from campaign contributions or attempting to influence elections.

I think nothing is really going to change until we get money out of politics and do some radical things to change the way elections are financed and the way the process is influenced by organized money.

Third, another book, The End of Power by Moises Naim says we are living with a political document from the 18th Century that doesn’t pertain to the 21st Century world.  Like Stockman, he calls for longer terms in office for Presidents and Congressional members – because our problems are so complex.  (Stockman wants to reduce the Presidency to one 6-year-term like Mexico’s which I think is a bad idea leading to a President who becomes an immediate lame-duck.)

I recently wrote about our next American Civil War.  Technology, I surmised, could drive us into communities with those of like-minds that might, though not likely, will end the need for a nation-state.  After all, many of us tend to get local about our politics labeling ourselves more as Kansans, Texans, Bostonians, Southerners rather than Americans.

So, it appears a meeting of the new American Mind might be needed.

Scene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_StatesThe last Constitutional Convention to amend the Constitution was 1933 for the 21st Amendment to end Prohibition.  Back then, as in 1787 when the Constitution was first drafted, it was a totally different world from today.

  1. Technology creates new opportunities for businesses, but disrupts and eliminates the jobs market.
  2. We are an aging population that requires more care for an elderly nation that is also living longer.
  3. Developing countries can compete with us economically and challenge us for natural resources we don’t have here to keep our economy going.

I know it’s scary.  But remember, these new world factors are loaded with opportunity if we embrace them fraught with danger if we ignore them.

If we recognize them, then we can start addressing more specific questions about how we live our lives, conduct business, and present ourselves to the rest of the world.

Specifically, we need to address or diminish the beliefs brought to us by academics and extremist opportunists.

  • What is the basis of our economy in regards to government intervention or free market?  Let’s put specific roles and rules for the Federal Reserve that will make economic sense while removing political tinkering.
  • Let’s get specific on the open-ended Second Amendment.  In today’s world there is an originalist view that all of us have the right to a gun to stop the government, in case the government is violating our rights — or does it really mean we are entitled to form a police unit within our communities for shared protections?
  • Can we add a Bill of Responsibilities too?  We need to spell out that our Rights are limited.

But first, let’s look at ourselves.  When you vote, do you vote strictly for yourself and selfish financial reasons or do you vote for what you think if the good of the country?  Maybe we’re as bad as the special interest groups we seem to chastise and blame.  Maybe we’re the special interests?

OK, your turn.  Would you call for one?  Or are we OK as is?



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