Don’t Burn it — FIX IT!

Yesterday, I shared George Will’s idea that the U.S. Constitution needs to be amended to prohibit members of the Senate from seeking the presidency.  But y’know … there are times that I think we should be seriously considering a major overhaul of the Constitution.  It is, after all, some 232 years old and the framers of that document could not possibly have foreseen what would happen, how life would change over the centuries.

But, in todays politically charged environment, I have trouble picturing any changes that could be agreed on.  Even the simplest things, such as verbiage …

Person #1:  Let’s change the word ‘He’ to ‘They’

Person #2:  Hell no!  That would open the door to women and we don’t want women to get the idea that they are somehow the equal of a man!

A few off-the-top-of-my-head things that I think need either alteration or clarification are found in the first 10 Amendments, the Bill of Rights.  As I’ve said many times before, the 1st Amendment right to ‘free speech’ needs to have ‘responsibility’ and ‘accountability’ added.  The 2nd Amendment should either be ditched altogether, or have restrictions, such as no more than one gun per household, and no assault weapons at all, and limits on the type and amount of ammunition that can be purchased.

I would also like to see term limits established for members of Congress:  no more than three two-year terms for Representatives and no more than two four-year terms for Senators.  And, while I don’t fully agree with George Will that no senator present or past should ever be able to run for the office of president, I do think they should not be able to transition … in other words, there should be a full term between the end of their term in Congress and their presidential bid.  That way, they wouldn’t be spending all their time campaigning (on our tax dollar) while they are supposed to be doing the work of the Senate.

I would also like to see additional qualifications required to run for president or Congress.  At the time the Constitution was written, it made sense to place minimal requirements, for few people had the opportunity for higher education, and even fewer had government experience … this was, after all, a new nation.  But today, we find ourselves saddled with the likes of Donald Trump, Madison Cawthorn, Margie Greene, Lauren Boebert, and many others who had literally no prior government experience and no relevant education.  Those I just mentioned have never even read the Constitution that they have sworn to uphold!  We had a president [sic] for four years who had never read the document to which he swore an oath, and refused to listen to advisors who had!

I also wouldn’t mind requiring a test of constitutional law for candidates for any of the three branches of government.  Right now, even a clown in a circus act can run for – and win – the presidency, as was proven in 2016.  I want to know that the people running this show at least understand the foundation of our government!

And speaking of the Judiciary branch … I think that rather than the entirety of the Senate confirming nominees to the Supreme Court, a committee consisting of an equal number from both parties should have the responsibility of confirming or denying a nominee.  Partisanship has gone too far and has nearly destroyed the integrity of the Court today, with such inappropriate Justices as Kavanaugh and Barrett.

I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I think the Electoral College system has long outlived its original purpose.  It has, in recent years, done the exact opposite of what it was intended to accomplish.  The Founders believed it would help stop a madman from being elected, that sane electors would override the popular vote if the people got too wild.  Instead, it put a madman into office despite the fact that he lost the people’s vote by nearly 3 million votes!

So yes, I think the Constitution is a sound and solid document that has been a reliable foundation for centuries, and I do not advocate trashing it and starting over.  However, times changes, situations change, and the Constitution was intended to be able to grow and change with the times.  That is precisely what the Founding Fathers expected!  Trial and error has shown us some ways that the Constitution is insufficient to maintain our democratic republic.  We are on the brink, it seems, of becoming an autocratic, fascist country and I don’t think that is what most of us want.

Your thoughts?

28 thoughts on “Don’t Burn it — FIX IT!

  1. The US Constitution is an anachronistic relic of quaint Enlightenment-Age thought and analogous to the Bible, both of which just need to be relinquished to the dustbin of history. Otherwise, I somewhat agree.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think to relinquish it to the dustbin of history would be a bit like “throwing out the baby with the bathwater”, for it does provide a foundation that has served us mostly well for over two centuries. However, much has changed and I do think it’s time for a major overhaul, but in today’s political climate, to even suggest such a thing would start a war!

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  2. I enjoyed reading this post and feel aligned with you on many of these points made about the Constitution and our government.

    I will concur that I believe that the document was meant to set the foundations but not be final. I am sure that they knew the world would change, hence why amendments exist at all, so I think updated amendments to the Constitution would be acceptable. It was written in a male-dominated society who was white and powerful. Even when amendments started happening, they were done as pacifiers. Like, “Well, let’s do this for them women so they feel equal for now…we can always amend it again later…” is the feeling I get as of late when looking backwards. It kept repeating over and over again, and now look where we are again. Women being stomped on and BIPOC being sent to the back of the bus…like almost literally and physically.

    I completely agree about the electoral college voting system, congress terms, testing anyone sitting on a government panel/seat/etc. Hell…a secretary working in a government office should have to pass the test too. I remember when you had to pass the Constitution and Bill of Rights exams to graduate high school. I always wonder if the legislators even read their American Government books before running for office. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I could find many more points where I think the Constitution needs to be brought into the 21st century, as well. You’re right … at the time of it’s writing in 1787, women did NOT have equal rights, but were largely seen as chattel who could not vote, could not own property, and could not divorce their husbands! But it was also a white-dominated society. Blacks were, for the most part, slaves and many of the men who drafted the Constitution owned slaves. Since then, we have amended the document to correct those oversights, but yet today we are still very much a male-dominated, white-dominated nation.

      Until recently, I would have answered your question in the affirmative, for I believed that our lawmakers, at least at the federal level, had studied Constitutional Law. But that was then, and this is now. I know that President Obama had studied Con Law, but then along came Trump. I’ve read by numerous of his former staffers that when they would try to help him understand the Constitution and other laws of the land, he had a very short attention span, would even sometimes get up and go start watching television. And to listen to some of the members of Congress today, I am certain that they have never read the document and likely couldn’t understand it if they did! I have several copies of it including a pocket one that I keep close at hand, and have read it in its entirety more than once! But, can you picture Margie Greene or Lauren Boebert or Madison Cawthorn even understanding a full page of it??? I think they would have to publish it in Playboy Magazine to get some of the males to even attempt to read it! Grrrrrrrrrrrrr. Okay … stepping down off my soapbox now 😉

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      • You can always be on the soap box with me 🙂 I could not agree with you more, and it is interesting that staffers had that much trouble getting him [trump] to understand the Constitution. Interesting but no surprise, I mean. There definitely should be some screening process to make sure the man being put in the oval office knows the law of the land. We screen for everything else, so why not that? *sighing with you* Hugs, my friend!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I carry my soapbox with me wherever I go … unfortunately even to bed at night so that I can argue with myself in the middle of the night!

          You are exactly right … we screen for everything these days, but yet a bumbling idiot with no morals, no values, can jump straight from a comedy television show into the Oval Office in a single leap and without once having to prove his fitness for office. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Hugs hugs!!! ❤

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  3. You couldn’t do any worse than your current situation by burning it. Considering recent events in the US, I wonder how much protection a constitution provides to those who live under it. The Russian constitution supposedly provides Russians with the same freedoms that Americans enjoy, but they’ve got Putin. The US almost went the same way with Trump. The irony is that Aotearoa New Zealand has no formal constitution yet has more freedoms and less corruption that almost any other country (ranking first or second in both) and where the rule of law is paramount.

    I’m not going to go so far as to say that the US shouldn’t have a formal constitution, because I don’t think America is “ready” for that and may never be, and perhaps my country is an anomaly. But when you consider that the very same constitution you now have now permitted perhaps one of most brutal forms of slavery the world has known and allowed the enforcement of racial segregation and oppression to exist until I was a young adult, not to mention gender based oppression, the constitution has not been particularly effective in protecting the rights and freedoms of many Americans. Many of the freedoms now nominally enjoyed by Americans are the result of rulings made by SCOTUS, on interpretations of the constitution, not by the legislature initiating change. What is to prevent SCOTUS from ruling differently in future? Trump certainly seemed keen to stack the court with people ill-qualified for the position.

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    • You’re so right about that. As I was just telling Roger in a comment, we barely dodged the bullet with Trump, and I know that if he had won in 2020 or if his planned attempted coup had been successful, by now he would be following the path of Viktor Orbán. I think the path would have been more difficult for him, a) because he really does lack in basic intelligence, and b) I think the people would have given him a hard time, with protests and marches every hour of every day. But yes, we narrowly missed living in that state.

      It seems to me that ‘Americans’ have had too much freedom for too long and they no longer appreciate it so much as they expect it and push it to its limits. Freedom to not wear masks in a public venue during a pandemic??? Seriously??? That’s not ‘freedom’, that’s selfish lunacy! And we seem to think it’s our right, or even duty, to argue against anything that is proposed by “the other side”. The Great Divide as I often refer to it has broadened to the point that I don’t think the gap can be narrowed at this point, short of a violent uprising, a civil war of sorts.

      My concern is that if we simply burn the Constitution and start over, people of conscience, humanitarians who want what’s best for ALL people, will be shut out and those who would form a new government would be the religious nutcases, the bigots, the homophobes and haters. I keep hoping for something to pull people together, but even things that should have logically done so, instead drove them further apart.

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  4. Pingback: DON’T BURN IT — FIX IT. |jilldennison.com | Ramblings of an Occupy Liberal

  5. Updating the US Constitution is definitely one way to look at creating change, and 50 years ago that “might” have been possible. Right now, with the political divide, I doubt you will get anyone to agree on anything.
    Having said that, I would like to see a change whereby the Two-Party system is broadened IN LAW, making it possible for other parties to gain credence. I do not know how every other democracy operates, but I don’t personally know of any other democratic nation other than the USA who still has the antique two-party system. THERE ARE NOT ONLY TWO POLITICAL PHILOSOPHIES EXTANT IN THIS WORLD. Giving We the People more choice of how We want our nation to be run makes for a better rate of participation. Yes, this does open the door to all kind of fringe parties, but at the same time it allows political growth. While we in Canada still only have two majin political parties and a third running close behind, it often prevents majorities from taking place and causes coalitions of different types of political philosophies to the advantage of the Canadian people.
    The biggest advantage, our system us no longer “either/or” anymore, but “maybe this or that.” It would be very difficult here for someone like Trump to have such free reign as he had even if elected, because we have learned majorities are dangerous! Britain is proof of that right now!

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    • You make a good point about the current two-party system being too limited. I would not like to see it open to every fringe party, for that would be opening the door to radicals and conspiracy theorists, but one or two additional viable parties would certainly broaden the dialogue and give us more options. These days, the majority of people claim to be voting for “the lesser of two evils” and that really isn’t very encouraging. Currently, any candidate can run — technically — but they won’t be on the ballot in most states due to FEC rules that require them to poll at a certain level, among other things. And, worse yet … it takes money. This is where the Supreme Court screwed up with the Citizens United ruling and candidates who are willing to sacrifice their integrity can get almost unlimited funding from such as the fossil fuel industry and the gun manufacturers in exchange for future votes favourable to those groups.

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      • I am working on an alternative idea to possibly help with the “lesser of evils” problem –it happens in multi-party systems too, unfortunately– but it could be costly, which in today’s politics might be problematic. It won’t be foolproof, yet, but it could give the people more power in who they get to vote for. The few times I have mentioned it on other blogs it gets opposition as well as some backing, but that’s normal for some “ideas from outside the boxes.”

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        • I’ll be looking forward to hearing your ideas! I suspect nothing would be foolproof, but if we can find a way to level the playing field a bit, limit the funds a candidate or party can spend on campaigning, and expand the number of legitimate candidates, it would certainly be a welcome change. It will be a hard sell, though, for those corrupt politicians and corporations who have a vested interest will fight tooth and nail.

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  6. Pingback: Rp Don’t Burn it — FIX IT! – Unexpected Objects

    • Sorry, SAQ, I mean the following in the nicest way pissible, because I respect 95% or more of what you have to say. But I have been using they as singular, genderless, pronouns for over 50 years. And it works beautifully. There is no need to know if a person is male or female in many different situations, especially if it prevents one gender from taking part in particular events or pasttimes. It is possible to write “He or she” or “She or he” but “they” sums it up in one word. All it really meanns is that knowing gender is unimportant in this instance. It took four years in University of using “they” consistently, but by the time I left I had convinced most of my profs of the genderless usage. That was in the 70s. It is time to update your vocabulary, rather than restricting evetyone else’s. Or at least accept that gender is not that important.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Dear SAQ, grammatically you are 100% correct of course. Verbiage is relegated to political correctness these days, so i surmise u will have to play the game, or drop out of the culture war altogether. Interesting times we live in.

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    • I am well aware of the rules of grammar, my friend … I didn’t earn four college degrees without being able to write well. However, gender-specific pronouns do more harm than good. And … speaking of grammar … what about calling someone “Woke” … doesn’t that set your grammar-radar off?

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  7. You mentioned a few people here whom I’m sure would fight to leave the constitution as it currently stands in the hopes of furthering their own Presidential hopes, Madison Cawthorn for one and maybe even Margie Gren thinks her popularity could propel her in that direction despite being female (apparently).Trump himself would want no changes gthat might rain on his next appearance as a candidate. It would be interesting to put forward a proposal to each party and to the Independents to see what changes they would like to see made and see if there’s any common ground that would lead to co-operation in bringing the Constitution up to date.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah yes, they are called ‘textualists’ and there are even a number of them on the U.S. Supreme Court who believe that the Constitution should be taken very literally, word for word, despite the fact that the Founders themselves intended it to be a “living, breathing document” that would adapt to the changing times.

      Personally, I think that Cawthorn and Greene both will be short-timers, that this will prove to have been their one and only term in Congress, but then … I predicted that Trump could never win in 2016, so what do I know?

      I like your idea of putting forward that proposal to each party as well as Independents about what, if any, changes they would make to the Constitution! I think we’d get a wide variety of responses, most of them utterly ridiculous, but some might actually be food for thought. If I were 20 years younger, I swear I’d jump feet first into the political fray!
      Cwtch

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  8. I suspect its a good approach to have a look at what works and what doesn’t and then change it. However, people disagree so deeply on what works and what doesn’t that this might proof difficult. For me it’s the question how we can learn again to have a proper discussion and find compromise. 🥰

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    • Definitely so. Some things seem like a good idea at the time, but ultimately need to be either tweaked or thrown out altogether. But you’re quite right … the first thing is that we have to learn to open our ears, eyes, minds and hearts so that we can actually listen to and comprehend what others are saying, then find a way to engage in civil discourse. That is the only way that we can ensure that what we are doing is for the common good, rather than an elite few or a single ideology. ❤

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