The 99% Rally for a Constitutional Convention

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The 99% Rally for a Constitutional Convention

The non-electoral methods of the Occupy Wall Street movement are energizing millions who have been alienated for a long time from the two-party system of sham that the 1% controls.

Some reformers, most likely in support of the Occupy movement, are proposing an amendment to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling in 2010 that empowers corporations to unfairly influence political campaigns with their large financial donations.

But even if Citizens United was overturned, how many years would it take to make it happen, and would it make that much difference, considering all the other major democratic reforms needed? I say no.

A more effective strategy would be a Twenty-Eighth Amendment proposal for a national Constitutional Convention whose delegates are elected through Proportional Representation. Here is how the proposal could read:

Proposal for a Twenty-Eighth Amendment: How to Have a Constitutional Convention

Every four years when Americans vote for a president, they can vote for or against having a Constitutional Convention. If 51% or more of the voters say yes, then 100 delegates, chosen through proportional representation, will be sent to the convention to create a new constitution that abolishes the previous government. The process will take approximately 23 months.

If at presidential election time, the American people decide they want a constitutional convention, then they will have almost 5 months, from November through April, to officially register with a national political party. Websites such as www.politics1.com describe all the known national political parties. Then during the month of May, no switches can be made as the official count is reported by the newly established National Election Committee whose 7 executive directors will represent the top seven political parties.

Any national political party that represents at least 1% of the nation’s eligible voters will participate in the national public debates, held from June through August. Then from September through December, the representatives from top seven political parties, as determined four months earlier in May, will share their party platforms and proposed constitutions in writing, and they will engage in speeches and debates.

Then during the second week of January, each voter will choose just one of the top seven national political parties, if he or she wants his or her vote to count, even if the voter is officially registered in a party that is not one of the top seven political parties.

Let us pretend for pedagogical purposes that the 100 delegates from the top 7 national political parties will consist of the following percentages: Republican Party 20%, Democratic Party 20%, Libertarian Party 15%, Green Party 15%, Constitution Party 15%, Socialist Party 10%, and Communist Party 5%.

On March 1, the Constitutional Convention delegates will meet at the Capitol building in Washington D.C. The delegates will work from March through May to create a new constitution which at least 51% of the delegates approve. To pick one delegate to be the chairman of the convention, the attending delegates will use Instant Runoff Voting to choose among seven candidates (each party will choose one of its delegates to be the potential chairman).

If delegates reach a 51% majority before the 3 months elapse, they must use the remaining days to hear dissenting voices in the constant effort to revise their document through consensus decision-making in order to get an even higher percentage of approval. If 50% or less of the delegates approves the new constitution after working on it for 3 months, then it becomes void, and the current constitution remains official.

However, if the new constitution is approved with a 51% majority or higher by the end of May, then the delegates will then determine the specifics as to when and how the new government, based on the new constitution, will be implemented in a safe, orderly, and smooth way on Oct 1.

23-Month Timeline for Creating a new Constitution and Implementing a New Government:

Nov. thru April—Each American voter chooses a national political party

May–Official count of voters in each political party is reported by the National Election Committee

June thru Aug.—Public speeches, forums, and written responses from all parties that got at least one percent of the vote

Sept. thru Dec.—Speeches, debates, and written responses from the top 7 political parties

Second week of Jan.—Each American voter chooses just one of the top 7 national political parties

Mar. thru May—the 3-month duration of the Constitutional Convention

Oct. 1—If passed, four months later, the new government under a new constitution, is implemented

[End of the Twenty-Eighth Amendment Proposal]

Though nothing is guaranteed, one thing is certain, the playing field would be leveled, as never before, in the process of creating a new supreme civil document for the nation. Personally I would hope that the Constitutional Convention would establish a new government with a one-house federal legislature, having 435 districts, based on the system of Proportional Representation. I would prefer that both the former US Senate and the Electoral College System be abolished. All money would be taken out of politics with public financing for the 7 major political parties. I also would advocate that our banking system be controlled by the US Congress rather than the Federal Reserve.

Taking three months to hear from any national political party that represents at least 1% of the electorate might have a circus appearance, but so be it. We all share this land together, and we have an obligation to understand what is in the minds and hearts of others, and why they think the way they do.

Article V in our current constitution tells two ways that new amendments can be added to our constitution. But our constitution says nothing about how to abolish the government through a Constitutional Convention. Jefferson expressed in his writings that there should be a new constitution with every new generation. Technology is ever changing; some of our entrenched political methods need to change as well.

If average Americans, the 99%, can unite in getting just this one Twenty-Eighth Amendment proposal for a Constitutional Convention passed, a new Constitutional Democratic Republic of the people, by the people, and for the people can become a living reality, and not just a pipe dream.

Roger Copple retired early from teaching general elementary and special education in the public schools of Indianapolis in May 2010 at the age of 60. He currently lives in Sarasota, FL and is spending a lot of time trying to understand history and political science better. His proposed US Constitution, called the “Third Constitution of the United States” can be found at his website: www.NowSaveTheWorld.com. He can be emailed at roger.copple@gmail.com

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Good idea.

    Walking piles of sh*t like Ron Johnson and Paul Ryan refuse to extend the debt ceiling for another 12 months unless we turn Medicare into a grab bag for the insurance industry, and this guy thinks we’ll be able to hold a meaningful constitutional convention.

    The problem isn’t the constitution.  The problem is the American electorate are festeringly stupid and amoral bags of crap.

    • MadHierophant

      http://www.thestate.ae/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/olivia-gif-5.gif

      And several other gifs indicating approval. 

      Edit: Wow, this gif gets used waaaaay the fuck out of it’s context…

    • kowalityjesus

      who would ever believe that something that is not the equivalent of an intellectual and disinterested oligarchy could propose a reasonable constitution.  I think the electoral college was devised for the express purpose of protecting the American people from themselves. 

      I was really hoping that from the step where the top 7 political parties are left, there would just be runoff elections eliminating one at a time.  That would destroy the two-bozo system because it would actually enable real choice.  But how those two parties can be convinced to stop being lazy and form legislation to take attacks on their voter base from ALL SIDES, is quite beyond my understanding. :(

    • kowalityjesus

      who would ever believe that something that is not the equivalent of an intellectual and disinterested oligarchy could propose a reasonable constitution.  I think the electoral college was devised for the express purpose of protecting the American people from themselves. 

      I was really hoping that from the step where the top 7 political parties are left, there would just be runoff elections eliminating one at a time.  That would destroy the two-bozo system because it would actually enable real choice.  But how those two parties can be convinced to stop being lazy and form legislation to take attacks on their voter base from ALL SIDES, is quite beyond my understanding. :(

      • Liam_McGonagle

        The least ridiculous fantasy that I’ve been able to concoct in my own mind is the gradual evolution over 50 years or so of a number of small local and state parties into some type of networked collaboration.

        I’m still naive enough to think that once you get past the mythological, phony culture war issues that have perverted the electorate on the national level, and down to actual day-to-day brass tacks issues like industrial zoning and funding parks and recreation, you have the possibility of re-activating the sane portions of the American brain.

        For the legislature at least, I’ve seen from personal experience that it is, on the state and local level, actually just about possible to have a plain joe hold office and take a stand. 

        That seems to collapse in the state judicial and executive branches because those are really farm teams for the national parties’ wider ambitions.  The interpersonal dynamics of running for the state legislature or local office make it challenging, but just about possible to avoid excessive outside interest from credibly injecting them selves in the relationship between officeholder and voter.

        This would require sustained financial support from “angels” for a few of the larger media markets, I admit, but not so much money as to totally preclude the idea from my imagination. 

        I can accept a probability distribution that gives a 5% chance of finding enough steadfast angels and quality candidates to establish viable 3rd or 4th parties within the next 50 years or so.

        • kowalityjesus

          Very interesting, but just to clarify, by by calling the elite branches in state govt “farm teams for the the national parties,” you mean they’re beholden to the same moneyed interests?

          When you referred to the idea that outside interests would not get in the way at the state legislative and local levels, would you say its more because of a lack of return on investment for people interested in lobbying due to lack of power, or higher accountability for officeholder because of a smaller electorate?

          And media markets is referring to advertising venues?  

          What ever happened to the Whigs? lol

        • kowalityjesus

          Very interesting, but just to clarify, by by calling the elite branches in state govt “farm teams for the the national parties,” you mean they’re beholden to the same moneyed interests?

          When you referred to the idea that outside interests would not get in the way at the state legislative and local levels, would you say its more because of a lack of return on investment for people interested in lobbying due to lack of power, or higher accountability for officeholder because of a smaller electorate?

          And media markets is referring to advertising venues?  

          What ever happened to the Whigs? lol

          • Liam_McGonagle

            I think you need to be more careful.

            No.  What I meant by referring to the judiciary and the executive as “farm teams” for the national parties is just what I said:  they are owned by the national parties.  There is a typical sort of political career path, and for the vast majority of state legislators it ends there. 

            You need to understand the nature of how political machines actually work.  They don’t have Mafia hitmen strolling the halls marking uncooperative party members for assassination or intimidation.  They don’t need to.  They control the donors lists, registration rolls and established relationships with the consultants, media outlets and canvassing organizations that make a campaign viable.  They don’t need to whack a difficult candidate.  They can just stone wall him.

            “Promising” judicial and executive officials ARE subject to more scrutiny by the national parties for potential advancement than legislators.  It’s partially a function of they being so few in number as to make the exercise feasible and partially because they are so much more powerful.

            In these circumstances, it is much more efficient for the corps to buy the national parties and just use them to run the show at the state level.  This system works so well and so easily (e.g., nominating proven anti-union loser and fumblenuts Tom Barrett to throw the gubernatorial recall in Wisconsin) that the corps do not often need massive interventions with individual legislators.

            Because the web of relationships between state legislators and their constituency is much denser and richer, however, it will always be a needlessly dicey prospect for corps to get involved.  Witness the shambollicly failed campaign of Jonathan Steitz, corporate lawyer turned Tea Party manque in Racine/Kenosha, Wisconsin.  Too much risk, not enough payoff.  The attempt was half-hearted.

            I never said anything like “outside interests would not get in the way”.

            I said that it is “just about possible” for democracy to function on the state and local levels.  A notable happened recently in Wisconsin when an ecologically disasterous mining project promoted by an international mining firm was rejected on a bipartisan basis.

            I assigned a relatively low probability of evolution to a significant national presence within 50 years–5%.  But there is precedence to show that it is a possibility.

            It should be obvious that media markets are not the same thing as advertising venues.  Markets are by definition the aggregate community of persons engaged in a variety of transactions–not merely the dumb, static locale where transactions might be conducted. 

            The use of the term markets invokes–at least to the person who can tell the difference between a portfoio manager and the desk he works at–the web of relationships between participants.  In larger communities network connectors are naturally thinner than they are in smaller communities where the set of participants’ mutual transactions is denser. 

            These thinner network connectors place a greater emphasis on abstract conventions like advertising and contractual relationships in gaining entre.  The term market therefore becomes doubly preferable.

            I’d recommend re-reading more slowly and probe for a more reasonable understanding of what merits might attach to each of the possible interpretations that occurr to you.

          • kowalityjesus

            hmmm, thanks.
            As Jefferson said, “When we get piled upon one another in cities, as in Europe, we shall become corrupt as in Europe”
            Hence the ideal of a nation of yeoman farmers, as perhaps some could call Rome before its Imperial ambitions slowly bleached out that constituency.

      • Hyphylibrarian

        Yes, I think instant runoff elections are a key component of changing the system we have. The problem is, of course, getting those who are already elected to go along with and even champion it.

      • Hyphylibrarian

        Yes, I think instant runoff elections are a key component of changing the system we have. The problem is, of course, getting those who are already elected to go along with and even champion it.

    • rtb61

       Obama’s response should be straight forward, stop all defence purchases. No new planes, ships, tanks, missles and use the money elsewhere.

    • rtb61

       Obama’s response should be straight forward, stop all defence purchases. No new planes, ships, tanks, missles and use the money elsewhere.

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    I would say “Worst Idea Ever”, but I’ve personally had much worse ideas than this. So, instead I’ll say, “I don’t consider this to be a good idea”.

    Given the entirely corrupted political environment, can anyone imagine that the resulting Constitution wouldn’t be a complete travesty?

    Currently the “rate of decay” is generally based on shithead judges piling up individual shithead decisions.

    Calling a Constitutional Convention would allow the process to proceed wholesale.

    I do have to give Mr. Copple credit for at least trying to find a political solution to our current problems, though I don’t agree with the advisability of this proposal.

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    I would say “Worst Idea Ever”, but I’ve personally had much worse ideas than this. So, instead I’ll say, “I don’t consider this to be a good idea”.

    Given the entirely corrupted political environment, can anyone imagine that the resulting Constitution wouldn’t be a complete travesty?

    Currently the “rate of decay” is generally based on shithead judges piling up individual shithead decisions.

    Calling a Constitutional Convention would allow the process to proceed wholesale.

    I do have to give Mr. Copple credit for at least trying to find a political solution to our current problems, though I don’t agree with the advisability of this proposal.

    • Liam_McGonagle

      Fair play.  Can’t develop a really good idea unless you try out a few less good ones along the way.

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    The progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy,
    from a limited monarchy to a democracy,
    is a progress toward a true respect for the individual.
    Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government?
    Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man?

    There will never be a really free and enlightened State
    until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power,
    from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.

    I please myself with imagining a State at least which can afford to be just to all men,
    and to treat the individual with respect as a neighbor;
    which even would not think it inconsistent with its own repose if a few were to live aloof from it,
    not meddling with it, nor embraced by it, who fulfilled all the duties of neighbors and fellow-men.

    A State which bore this kind of fruit, and suffered it to drop off as fast as it ripened,
    would prepare the way for a still more perfect and glorious State,
    which also I have imagined, but not yet anywhere seen.
    Thoreau

    • kowalityjesus

      maybe the next evolution is psychic collective consciousness.  how boring, to know everything.

      • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

         yeah, itz way mo better to believe everything
        than to know anything
        else what’s faith in Jebus for

  • Marklar_Prime

    What use to expand a document that is already ignored completely. This whole scheme assumes a lawful government that plays by the rules rather than pulling them out of their ass as they go. The U.S. is already in it’s death throws thanks to the criminal cabal that runs it, with governmental collapse as imminent  as the collapse of the financial system that props it up.

    No amendment will stop us from going silently into the night like the U.S.S.R. Only WW3 can do that and unfortunately they are working hard on that now. So basically going quietly or taking as many as we can with us into the grave are our only choices and our fascist leaders seem to have already made the wrong one.

    Just try not to be standing where the psycho’s nukes are landing.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/5OQFBZ26C3VQ5ONGZGDBDY4BUU Mark A

    If we could keep big money out of the system, this might work. Of course, if we could keep big money out of the system, we wouldn’t need this.

  • Joel S. Hirschhorn

    Yet another poorly informed person with good intention.  Our Constitution provides the legal mechanism for getting reform constitutional amendments proposed that Congress would never propose: it is an Article V convention that countless groups have been advocated, so support this effort at, for example, foavc.org.  Ideas like this are pretty stupid because why in the world would Congress ever propose this amendment????  Time for losing egos and supporting sound efforts already started.

  • Joel S. Hirschhorn

    Yet another poorly informed person with good intention.  Our Constitution provides the legal mechanism for getting reform constitutional amendments proposed that Congress would never propose: it is an Article V convention that countless groups have been advocated, so support this effort at, for example, foavc.org.  Ideas like this are pretty stupid because why in the world would Congress ever propose this amendment????  Time for losing egos and supporting sound efforts already started.

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