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.