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 email@example.com
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