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US Constitution may need more than amending. A major overhaul is in order

US Constitution was designed "to protect the minority of the opulent from the majority"

US Constitution may need more than amending. A major overhaul is in order
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Common Cause, a pro-democracy advocacy group, is ringing alarms in a recent report that extreme right-wing political groups are planning to “shred the constitution” and are calling for an Article V Constitutional Amendment Convention. Citing organizations like ALEC and Compact for America, Common Cause warns that GOP controlled states are angling for the necessary 38 states to ratify any amendments that arise from such a convention.

 

The group calls for its own amendment to overturn Citizens United and notes that far left… “Advocates have won passage of Article V petitions in four Democratic-controlled state legislatures: California, Illinois, New Jersey, and Vermont.” However, Common Cause is concerned that a dominant conservative GOP agenda will prevail over the smaller liberal Democratic effort.

 

While both sides of the political spectrum agree the Constitution needs amending Common Cause begins with a flawed premise. “The Constitution, as amended, is America’s cornerstone and has long been a model for democratic governance around the world,” writes the organization on its website. In fact, the US Constitution that replaced the Articles of Confederation and arose from secret meetings at the Mount Vernon Conference, the Annapolis Convention and finally the Philadelphia Convention, was designed in the words of chief architect James Madison “to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.”

 

Based on the latest figures from a report done for Forbes Magazine the current distribution of wealth in America proves the US Constitution, as designed by our founding fathers, has served the opulent very well.

 

“America’s 20 wealthiest people —a group that could fit comfortably in one single Gulfstream G650 luxury jet —now own more wealth than the bottom half of the American population combined, a total of 152 million people in 57 million households.”

 

A Princeton University study confirms America is an oligarchy. “…the median public interest seems to hold no sway in policy making The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

 

Madison’s colleague John Jay remarked, “The people who own the country ought to govern it.”

Evidence proves that the US Constitution serves the wishes of its founders quite well and today just 158 families provide nearly half of contributions to presidential candidates in the two major parties.

 

Only men of property, (ownership of slaves being included within the definition of a property owner), attended those founding conventions. The anti-federalists were excluded but they knew that centralizing control away from the more democratic Articles of Confederation would not work well for the common man. Consider the modern day similarity to the secretive formation of international trade agreements like the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership).

 

More locally the CEP (Community Enhancement Plan) only wanted “people of standing” to serve on the foundation boards. Who set that requirement? Our own local oligarchy, the very same that support non-sustainable energy development like Jordan Cove established that rule. Neither the formation of the US Constitution, the TTIP or the CEP bear any resemblance to what Common Cause refers to as democracy.

 

Consider that corporations were deemed persons (17 U.S. 518 (1819) decades before the abolition of slavery in 1865 and it was even longer before the passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. Socio-political activist Noam Chomsky explained, “Madison feared that a growing part of the population, suffering from the serious inequities of the society, would ‘secretly sigh for a more equal distribution of [life’s] blessings.’ If they had democratic power, there’d be a danger they’d do something more than sigh. He discussed this quite explicitly at the Constitutional Convention, expressing his concern that the poor majority would use its power to bring about what we would now call land reform.”

 

Sides may agree the US Constitution is imperfect but democracy-loving Americans must first own that the so-called “cornerstone” of democracy is anything but, was never intended to support a thriving democracy and has instead supported an opulent oligarchy. A major overhaul may be required. We see proof right here in the very undemocratic manner in which the decision to site Jordan Cove is taken away from the very communities that will be affected and granted to a handful of bureaucrats across the continent. We see it in the way the regulatory agencies issue the right of eminent domain to foreign corporations superseding the rights of individual property owners. Lawyers tell landowners they have a constitutional right to “just compensation”. Now it is time our communities exercise their constitutional right to local self-government and their right to say “NO.”

 

The Coos County Right to a Sustainable Energy Future Ordinance seeks to elevate community rights over those of the oligarchy and the corporations they control by democratizing the decision making process. Support community rights and your right to be the decision maker. Visit cooscommons.org

 

 

 

 

 

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About magix

When my oldest son, a Marine, left for war and crossed the border from Kuwait into Iraq in March 2003 I started writing my conscience. After two tours that young combat veteran’s mother is now an ardent peace activist and advocate for social, environmental and economic justice. MGx has matured since those early vents and ramblings and now covers relevant and important local and regional matters in addition to national and global affairs.

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