A Time for a Constitutional ConventionThu, July 6, 2006 - 7:13 AM
posted 07/05/06 (edited Thursday, Jul 06, 2006 10:12)
Yesterday was the 230th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Perhaps now is a good time to look at our democracy and see whether it has lived up to its promise.
The Electoral College was created as a method to guarantee that qualified people elected the President of the United States. Do we still need it? Americans are much better educated in book learning than they were at the time of our independence and yet in the area of political awareness they are actually less involved and less educated than before. Arguably therefore we still need an Electoral College to protect us from ourselves. But most state legislatures have passed laws that require electors to vote for the person for whom they were elected. So why continue a system which has been hijacked. It is time to directly elect the President of the United States. It is time to make each vote count the same.
Currently, in every state the person with the highest vote count at the end is elected to office. That makes sense in some local elections. But should it be the method used in the state and federal legislatures. Most modern democracies have proportional voting. Minority opinions are prized as most minority parties have at least some representation. The Demopublicans are exactly the same. Individual members of both parties may be different but as parties they cannot and do not enforce party unity and loyalty among their office holders. It would be better if the party platform, not the individual opinion, decided how an office holder was going to vote on major issues. In every country that has proportional voting, those participating in elections are a greater percentage than in the United States. It is time to replace our antiquated two party system with a multiparty proportional voting system in which seats in the legislature and Congress are distributed by percentage of the total vote for a party.
Currently, the Supreme Court makes decisions on cases under a system called stare decisis. They follow the teachings of cases that came before it and try to make decisions based on those prior decisions in the case before them. They have an ability to declare that a law is unconstitutional from a case called Marbury vs. Madison. We need to ensconce that principal in the Constitution.
The Bill of Rights is the most cherished portion of the Constitution, and yet, it was not added until some time later. Those precious rights are under constant attack. We need to shore up the Bill of Rights. In the area of religion, the government should not be able to decide what is and what is not a religion. They should carefully avoid favoring any religion over another. They should make it clear that atheism is not a religion, but should also guarantee the rights of atheists not to believe. Lastly, those unintended acts of Congress that tend to impair people from free exercise of their religion should have alternatives built in for those who have differing beliefs. The press is not a co-equal branch of government. The right to know is a right of the people, not of the press. They should be held responsible when they act in such a way that it harms the reputation of any person. The right of the people to assemble, not just protest should be clearly protected in the Constitution.
The right to personally protect oneself should be spelled out in more detail. That right inherently includes a right to keep and bear arms. It also includes the right to organize into citizen militias not controlled by the government. The type of arms allowed should be only those that are necessary for personal defense.
Stationing soldiers in our homes during peace time is not very relevant to the modern world. However, the underlying issue was the right of the government to invade your home and hold you hostage to the government's needs. Today we do that with several acts that should be eliminated. First, electronic surveillance of our home, our telephone, our internet use, and any thing that we do within the house should be severely curtailed. Secondly, the home should be recognized as the sole domain of those living there and the home owner or renter should be granted the authority to defend his home against intrusion by private or public persons. That means, if the police want to enter with a warrant they must knock and ask first or risk being shot. Further, all people in the house must agree to a voluntary search.
The right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures should be restored. All these exceptions that have been created should be abolished.
The question of eminent domain should be clarified.
The right to trial by jury should be increased to include family law matters so that real people are deciding what is good for a family rather than social workers and psychologists in their pseudo-professional opinions.
The right to an attorney should be increased significantly. The government should require that as soon as a person is taken in for questioning an attorney will be appointed to represent him and he is free to have his own attorney present if requested. Children will not be questioned without their parents.
The nonexistent ninth amendment will be given teeth. When it says that the people reserve unto themselves those rights not specifically given to the state or nation it means that. The right to raise your children as your heart dictates is guaranteed. The right to be safe and secure in your home against invaders is strengthened including the right to kill after dark for an intruder. The right to drive without a seat belt or helmet is guaranteed. The right to smoke in your own room so long as properly ventilated is guaranteed. The right to die a decent death and a death without undue pain and suffering is guaranteed. The right to be private and free from unreasonable questioning by the government is allowed. Voluntary information can be used by the government, but it cannot be coerced. The right to take any drugs that one wishes without a doctor's permission should be allowed and those who take drugs take them at their own risk. The government should stop playing big brother. Let the people beware.
States rights should be strengthened.
The thirteenth amendment should make clear that those who are convicted of crimes can be sentenced to slavery rather than a jail. The ownership of humans that have committed crimes should be legal. That new right should be coupled with changing the penalty for many crimes to fines.
A constitutional convention is necessary and now is the time for the people to reassert their rights.
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