Category Archives: the role of the American people in government

Is She Still Talking About the Constitution?

 
 
 

I have been worried about the way the Republicans are hollowing out the U. S. Constitution through their obstructionism and their overuse of the filibuster. I have been worried that the practice of extreme gerrymandering and voter suppression and allowing corporations to count as people for the sake of elections, and preventing an elected President from bringing his agenda to the floors of the two houses of the Congress for an up or down vote are all things that bypass the U. S. Constitution and help to weaken it. But even more worrisome is that there is this nagging sense that the essential ingredient that has really been cut out of the Constitution is the American people.

Our forefathers were elitists we know. They did not give the vote to every American. You had to be a landowner. Everyone was counted for purposes of determining the number of representatives that would be elected from each state. Slaves were counted also for these purposes, but each slave counted as only 3/5 of a person. Even now that we have a popular vote in which everyone who is registered to vote gets to cast a ballot and everyone who is a citizen can, in theory, register to vote, the popular vote is still not used to determine who our President will be. As we know states are represented by electors to the Electoral College who cast their votes as designated by each state.


We also know about the extreme role that money has come to play in our elections. Individual citizens (except for the top 1%) are not wealthy enough to have much impact on elections. Elections are now paid for by those very corporations who just became people and by those 501 (C)(4) groups that we have been hearing so much about. We, the people, pretty much agree that elections should not cost as much as they do; that money is corrupting our elected officials and turning their attention towards the special interests who have the most money; and that the agenda of these powerful money groups tends to drown out the agenda of the American people.

If we can’t get some of these trends under control and put the American people back in the equation (after all, we are supposed to be one of the checks and balance upon which fair governance in America is built), then it may be time for the people to convene a new Continental Congress to update the U. S. Constitution and get rid of that old taint of elitism once and for all, and put we, the people, back into that quintessentially American document. July 4th is almost upon us. Maybe we should start then to give this issue some serious thought and put a national discussion on the schedule. (On September 17th of this year our Constitution will be 225 years old.)

 

This is the view from the cheap seats.