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An antiquated United States Constitution

 
sgtdjones 2022-09-11 19:35:48 

An antiquated United States Constitution

The Constitution is an anvil around the neck of all Americans and a ball and chain connected to their ankles. Thomas Jefferson believed the constitution should be rewritten every 19 years. Instead, America has been controlled for 233 years by long-dead men who couldn’t begin to imagine the world in 2022. I’m sure they would be appalled. Originalists are lazy, period. I think of my first trip to the Jefferson Memorial where I was astounded to read from this founding father himself: "I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind."As that becomes more developed and more enlightened, new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times." We might as well require a man to still wear the coat which fitted him when a boy as a civilized society to remain ever under the regime of their barbarous ancestors."

The archaic United States Constitution is the fundamental source of most of the country's political troubles today. An amoral compromise made to get enslaving, a small population, and highly independent Colonies into Union, was flawed from the start, and 240 years later it is totally inadequate to meet the nation's requirements. It is in fact so flawed that the amendment is no more than a band-aid solution; an antiquated constitution doesn't work for modern times.

It's desperately outdated and requires a serious reboot or it really needs to start as a new set of laws and regulations. Why are Americans clinging to the old version that is so inadequate??? By now something fresh and new should be in the works that merge with the demands of time.

Throwing out the constitution in its entirety is a terrible idea - what exactly are Americans proposing to replace it? What guarantee do Americans have that they won't get something worse? The constitution is what legitimizes and limits the powers of government. That it is harder to change than ordinary laws is a feature, not a bug: it makes it so that Americans can't just pass a law by a simple majority that says "the president is now absolute führer for life, all parties other than his are banned, no protesting or criticizing him, elections are suspended indefinitely, enjoy your new totalitarian dictatorship." I imagine Trumpist Republicans would very much love having such powers.The Constitution, like any other law, is only as good as the judges who interpret it. And, any system can be gamed. We would be exactly where we are today even with a looser constitutional system like in England. Both systems are based on judicial interpretation (stare decisis), which cannot escape the cultural and political Zeitgeist of the time in which it is made.If you say "no majority would ever agree to that", I say you grossly overestimate the political savvy and engagement of the general population (I remind you that 48% of 60% of Americans were duped by Trump and his fake populism). Plenty of people would like nothing more than to entrust absolute power to some "leader" who promises to fix all their problems, especially if he demonizes people they don't like in the process. Many others (the ones who would be most hurt by such an arrangement) are too busy with their kids and minimum wage jobs to be able to go out and vote. Perhaps if policymakers and elected leaders actually addressed the underlying issues that caused our current maelstrom we would not be where we are today.

The Republicans have complained about whites falling into the minority since Newt Gingrich entered Congress in 1978, and their policies reflect that attitude (consolidating wealth, etc). Trump tapped into the fears of uneducated whites who feel disenfranchised. Why? What happened to white people with only a high school diploma? How did they miss out on the American dream, and can we fix it? Why should there be such a difference in opportunity and wealth between someone with a high school diploma and someone with a BA/BS? There is nothing a college graduate could do that someone with a high school diploma cannot do in the workforce. An advanced post-baccalaureate degree is another matter. But as far as BA vs. HS diploma, we've relegated a certain group as second-class citizens (maybe that's why they don't connect to Democratic Party issues) who feel they have been treated unfairly. It seems today it's an arbitrary distinction that should no longer be made.That said, I agree America needs reforms. Abolishing the electoral college, and maximum age limits for politicians and judges would be a good start.

Any constitutional-reform convention at this stage will be purchased, owned, and operated by and for an oligarchic aristocracy (if that's not redundant) that has already purchased all legislators needed to advance its theft of the US commonwealth into their private vaults. Any constitutional reform permitted by them will only advance their interests. It's beyond boring that this reality needs to be mentioned to a pair of top-flight fully-informed poobahs who have the gall to dissimulate in this essay that they are not aware of or choose to withhold this factor from their advocacy. Can you imagine the dark money that both sides would spend to influence a constitutional convention? Instead of enshrining reproductive rights, it might completely abolish them. The first constitutional convention was only supposed to amend the Articles of Confederation; instead, it created a whole new one. Americans were lucky to have those citizens inspired by the free-thinking principles of the enlightenment and not our deliberately ignorant and proudly divided electorate. It might not remove the 2nd amendment; it might remove the qualifying clause.

Yes, the Constitution is rigged for slave-holder states and red states won’t let it be amended, lest they lose their disproportionate power. The solution isn’t trying to get a new constitutional agreement amongst parties who should have been left, divorced, in the mid-1800s. And a second divorce doesn’t have to mean war. Let’s just agree: the American experiment is over. Let the states reorganize and form new nations, peacefully.

The Constitution was inherently designed to protect the interests of the wealthy and the privileged.The Founding Fathers wanted freedoms but not freedoms for all. The first line should have read 'We the Wealthy...' But that wouldn't have gone over with the folks at the bottom of the pyramid. And even on the Right, they would love to abolish the Constitution in its current form. Enshrine corporate power, and do away with any checks or balances that would constrain someone like Trump. Do away with civil liberties and make minorities a permanent second class here in America. And the other two 'coequal' branches would be reduced to rubberstamps for a strong unitary executive i.e. an autocrat.

The mention of population shifts and sociopolitical sorting have supercharged the weaknesses of the structures of American government; Americans likely wouldn't be having this conversation (or at least, having a different flavor of it) if there were as many people in Wyoming as there are in California, or in Iowa as in New York. There are not. This really has brought out the glib "oh the horrors of redistribution" commenters as well as the "it's all just corporate greed/money in politics" crowd. Look deeper and you might understand that redistributive policy is how you keep an entrenched aristocracy from arising (among other things), and that corporate lobbying only goes so far in explaining the awful state of our politics. Politics is ultimately a reflection of ourselves, so if the cruel, crass, revanchist, misogynistic, homophobic, theocratic know-nothingism currently on the rise isn't your cup of tea, understand that it's not happening in a vacuum. Voting has become selfish rather than self-interested with a view toward the public good. It's YOUR friends, neighbors, coworkers, and relatives who vote for this even when they have a chance to vote against it. Much like the Senate's refusal to abolish the filibuster, we don't dare change the Constitution because we don't trust ourselves to leverage that power responsibly, fearing unintended consequences. The result is the ossified government that can be exploited.

America's constitution is flawed but malleable. A new one might be more flawed and less malleable.

Reference
Quotations by Thomas Jefferson