In a recent article in The Atlantic, Alex Seitz-Wald suggests that The U.S. Needs a New Constitution—Here’s How to Write It. I have no argument at all with his proposition. In fact, it brings to mind words from a Minnesota high school declamation contest speech I recited way back when, circa 1958. Its title was “The Constitution on Trial,” and the opening line of the indictment was both definitive and succinct: “The Constitution is old, and outmoded.”
Seitz-Wald’s premise is much the same. He writes:
“No society can make a perpetual constitution,” Thomas Jefferson wrote to James Madison in 1789, the year ours took effect. “The earth belongs always to the living generation and not to the dead .… Every constitution, then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of 19 years.” By that calculation, we’re more than two centuries behind schedule for a long, hard look at our most sacred of cows. And what it reveals isn’t pretty.
Seitz-Wald’s proposal to revise is based on the fairly simple proposition that
. . . the Constitution simply isn’t cut out for 21st-century governance. It’s full of holes, only some of which have been patched; it guarantees gridlock; and it’s virtually impossible to change.
Recent events, especially the shutdown and near economic collapse which were orchestrated by a minority of nutcases in the House of Representatives (in consort with the unwillingness/inability of the House “Leadership” to take the few steps needed to work around the problem and solve it) have come to define that implicit undercurrent message which reads, simply, “Give us what we demand or it’ll be the worse for y’all!.” And what they want, of course, are things that are anathema to any fair-minded “Democracy,” itself a word which can no longer be applied to governance in the United States for the simple reason that democracy dies when FEAR — the fear of simply watching as those (perceived aberrant, i.e. non-white) racial and ethnic populations work their way toward majority status — becomes the driving demand for radical change. There are other considerations, of course, most of which appear to be driven by the (seemingly incongruous) religious and power/greed contingents of the nation’s far right political movement. But still, FEAR (of almost everything) is perhaps the most descriptive and definitive word.
Seitz-Wald pretty much avoids discussing the element(s) of the FEAR which many see as the foundation of the American proto-fascist politic which is oft-labeled “Wingnuttistanian,” but he does point to some very obvious Constitutional issues which really do — for those more rational — demand correction, i.e.:
The American system was designed with plenty of checks and balances, but the Founders assumed the elites elected to Congress would sort things out. They didn’t plan for the political parties that emerged almost immediately after ratification, and they certainly didn’t plan for Ted Cruz. . . .
. . . the Senate is an undemocratic relic where 41 senators, representing just 11 percent of the nation’s population, can use the filibuster to block almost anything and bring government to its knees. A single voter in Wyoming, a state with a mere 600,000 people, has the equivalent representation of 66 Californians unfortunate enough to live in a place with 38 million other people. The two-senator allotment to each state also makes it essentially impossible to change the makeup of the states or admit new ones like the District of Columbia. And the House, of course, isn’t a more attractive alternative.
He also notes the difficulties implicit in using a Constitutional Convention as the means to assist the correction of each of those Constitutional ‘flaws’ which have become more apparent via each and every Washington (self-imposed) “Crisis.” Still, at one point he at least gave me AN IDEA! when he quoted “. . . the Public International Law & Policy Group, a pro-bono law firm that advises transitioning countries on the rule of law, [and who] developed a 222-page U.N.-endorsed “Post-Conflict Constitution Drafter’s Handbook” . . . [which includes] instructions on how to write a preamble . . .”
YES! A Preamble! Yee Haw!!
So: I decided that I would help by first acknowledging that the USA is no longer and for all practical purpose, “United,” that it is instead absolutely and irresolutely DIVIDED into two eternally disparate factions, consisting, resp., of We Who Care, and Teh Stupid (aka Wingnuts). Wingnuts have, ever since the election in 2008 (exacerbated by the SECOND election in 2012) of the nation’s first Black POTUS, talked of secession, of their desire to leave the USA once and for all, to form a new nation . . . a new nation similar in concept and in its philosophy to the one which, some 150 years ago, essentially DEMANDED a Civil War that ultimately cost more American deaths and casualties than the sum of those who have died in all American wars fought before or since.
Ah well, yes; never mind the nasty details. Onward.
For those who still inhabit America’s extreme and hate/fear-driven right wing fringe, this day’s “moral” solution to allathat is simple: Secession . . . a concept for which I can muster no contrary argument. Seems logical, in fact, that those who are consumed ONLY by hate and fear should, on their own volition, leave forever the safety and security guaranteed by the Liberal state, and secede; take that ‘forward’ leap and create their own nation, one in which fear, and hate, and fear (aka ‘love’) of “god” defines their meager and ultimately pitiful existence. Secession has become, clearly (and sadly, I suppose), the only real solution to America’s intrinsic dilemma.
Therefore: as a fair-minded and compassionate Liberal, I do herein and hereby offer, to all who choose the emergent Wingnuttistan nation over the multi-racial TRAVESTY that is today’s United States of America (i.e. that one time “pure-WHITE” country, the one that now has a BLACK president) — free of charge or copyright obligation — the first words for their NEW CONSTITUTION! For their Preamble!!!!!
My proposal reads as follows:
We the people of Wingnuttistan, in order to form a more perfect union, do hereby hold these here truths to be self-evident: that all men are NOT created equal, that it’s only WHITE CONSERVATIVES what’s been endowed by their Creator with them unalienable Rights that shall NOT NEVER be infringed! — that among these ARE the right of the people to KEEP AND BARE ARMS along with ALL the BULLETS they want in BIG magazines; that Congress shall NOT NEVER make no law prohibiting the FREE EXERCISE OF CHRISTIANITY; that Muslin Sharia law AIN’T NOT NEVER NOT permitted; that each and all them brown and colored folks is herein and forevermore defined as THREE FIFTHS OF ALL OTHER PERSONS because we be SICK AND TIRED of them buggers thinking they be like us which they ain’t, cause this here’s a WHITE COUNTRY! PRAISE JESUS!
Nah. Way too complex, too tricky to comprende; way too many big words. Not simple enough for Wingnuttistan. So, here it is, My REVISED proposal for the Preamble to the new Wingnuttistanian Constitution:
the people of Wingnuttistan, in order to form a more perfect union, do hereby hold these here truths to be self-evident: that all men are NOT created equal, that it’s only WHITE CONSERVATIVES what’s been endowed by their Creator with them unalienable Rights that shall NOT NEVER be infringed! — that among these ARE the right of the people to KEEP AND BARE ARMS along with ALL the BULLETS they want, in BIG magazines; that Congress shall NOT NEVER make no law prohibiting the FREE EXERCISE OF CHRISTIANITY; that Muslin Sharia law AIN’T NOT NEVER NOT permitted; that each and all them brown and colored folks is herein and forevermore defined as THREE FIFTHS OF ALL OTHER PERSONS because we be SICK AND TIRED of them buggers thinking they be like us which they ain’t, cause this here’s a WHITE COUNTRY! PRAISE JESUS!
And for YOU: Paul Ryan, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, . . . and all y’all who FEAR the Voice of reason, the voice of those of us who don’t subscribe to your greed, the voice of those of us who sincerely care for others in ways which are NOT simply — as you see it — an ‘electoral strategy,’ and to your deeply embedded bête noire, to your hatreds of each and all who might not act or look quite like you (aka those who are really LUCKY): DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU IN THE ASS ON THE WAY OUT! YOUR SICK-SICK-SICK [sic] Nirvana is waiting, breathlessly I’m sure, for your arrival.