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I wrote this up in a fit of optimism in June 2008 when it looked like Barack Obama was going to be the Dem nominee.  It now pains me to realize how naive I was back then.  Anyone willing to share the pain?  Look at What I thought we could do 3 years ago.

We need a new American Revolution, but one based on the principles enshrined in our Constitution.  We start at the beginning with the Preamble, which lays out in clear,
unambiguous terms, what the purpose of government should be.  

“We the People of the United States… (Not we the corporations, nor we the Congress, nor we the wealthy)…

“…in Order to form a more perfect Union… (They were not happy with the existing state of the union and wanted and expected continual improvement)…

“…Establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare… (Note the use of extensive use of active verbs, indicating that an interventionist, activist government is constitutionally mandated.  Why don’t the “strict constructionists” get this?

“…and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity… (These were people who pledged their “…lives, fortunes and sacred honor…” in order to benefit people who came long after them)…

“…do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    Another document published a few years later (1798) had a different take on the purpose of government.  The economist Adam Smith, in his monumental “…The Wealth of Nations” argued that the purpose of government was to protect the rich from the poor.  For Smith, the police function of the State was essential for the formation of wealth.  Capital had to be protected before it could accumulate.
    No two other documents could contrast in such stark terms the purpose of government.  Yet in the past half-century, we have drifted away from the Preamble’s view to that of the Adam Smith model.  We Americans pay more to put people in jail, and to annihilate foreigners than we do to “promote the general welfare” of our citizens.

In 2008, that will change.

(The approach from here on out will be to look at the ignored and abandoned or distorted parts of the Constitution, and then move on to the duties of the President and the Congress.  For that, I will go through the cabinet level positions, and look at what their functions should be, and not what they have collapsed and deteriorated into today.)

By all means read Amendments I to VII (and all included Sections) of the Constitution before proceeding.  See what we are supposed to be doing, as opposed to what is in fact happening, and how far we have drifted from those principles.  
It is an extraordinary document, written with the assistance of slave owners, and men who did not consider women or Indians as citizens.

Amendments to the Constitution:
(First 10 are The Bill of Rights)

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the rights of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Look at how much this amendment has been shredded over the years.  Not only do public tax dollars support religion through hidden subsidies (like tax-exempt religious properties and activities), but also more money is now being poured into “Faith-based initiatives” that also engage in partisan (read Republican) political activities.  The First Amendment provides not only freedom of religion, but also freedom from religion.
Today, exercising free speech can get you tasered, thrown off aircraft, declared an enemy combatant, and arrested.    Today, our free press is dominated by corporate, conservative media, as well as being intimidated by those in political power.  How often has The New York Times sat on a story  that could have altered an election (Bush wearing an earpiece during the 2004 debate with John Kerry), or stopped an illegal invasion and occupation (the entire run-up to the Iraq fiasco).  And as regards petitioning to redress grievances, the US Supreme Court has ruled that the American citizens have no “Standing.”

In 2009, that will change!

Amendment II
    A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged.

    This amendment was written at a time of clubs, knives, and muskets, not 50-caliber sniper rifles and AK-47s.  Don’t forget that the carnage in Iraq shows how much protection an armed militia provides for the security of a free state.

In 2009, that will change!

Amendment III
No soldier shall, in a time of peace, be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in  a manner to be prescribed by law.  

    I don’t think anyone has a problem with this one.

In 2009, that will not change.

Amendment IV
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

    This one is gone, folks, thanks to Bush, Cheney, Gonzales, Yu, and our Supreme Court.

In 2009, that will change!

Amendment IV
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

This one is also gone, courtesy of our friends in high office and a spineless press.

In 2009, that will change!

Amendment VI
    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witness against him, to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.  

    This one is also gone, in an age of jury consultants, enough wealth to hire powerful  attorneys, but more importantly to now stand naked without any constitutional protection against anonymous or fabricated charges before a military or civilian kangaroo court.

In 2009, that will change!

Amendment VII
    In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall not exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of common law.

    This amendment is not threatened.
In 2009, that will not change.

Amendment VIII
    Excessive bail hall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

    I will not argue whether capital punishment is unconstitutional or not. But some executions, as in electrocution (“the Chair”) are both cruel and unusual.  People who have witnessed death by the electric chair can never forget the screams and violent spasms of the victim, the revolting odor of vomit, urine, and fecal matter that explode out of the prisoner, the burning flesh, and the shuddering agony before death.  The real issue is that people who cannot afford competent legal counsel are more likely to be charged with murder, convicted, and executed.

In 2009, that will change!

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    This is one of the most ignored amendments in the Bill of Rights.  Right-wingers appear to only recognize the second and tenth amendments.  The pro-choice advocates managed to snag a ”right to privacy” from this Amendment on abortion rights, but the current Supreme Court does not even recognize the existence of unenumerated rights.   The American people have rights to a decent environment, housing and education, a living wage, and access to medical care.

In 2009, that will change!

Amendment X
    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

    The “strict constructionist” and “originalist” hypocrites strongly support this amendment.  ”States Rights” has been most abused by ignorant racists as a screen for segregation, environmental degradation, and the trampling of workers’ rights.

In 2009, that will change!

Amendment XI
    The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States, by citizens of another state, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign state.

    No problem with this one.

In 2009, that will not change.

Amendment XII
    This Amendment deals with the electoral process for president, and has been heavily modified by later laws and decisions (including, sadly, Bush v. Gore, the worst Supreme Court decision since Dred Scott).            

In 2009, that will change!

Amendment XIII
    This amendment followed the Civil War and abolished slavery.  But today we have “wage slaves” who have no prospect of freedom or advancement.  This Amendment should be extended to them as well.

In 2009, that will change!

Amendment XIV
    1) All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.  No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of the citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person the equal protection of the law.

    There are four other items in this amendment that deal with elections, debts, and other matters.  We will ignore them for the moment and concentrate on the core of Section (1).  One of the greatest travesties of the 20th century occurred when the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are “persons” in spite of the clear statement that you had to be “…born or naturalized…” to be a citizen.    That decision created the “corporate veil” that now protects corporate officers from charges of negligence or other crimes.  This amendment was originally designed to apply to freed slaves, but became distorted and mangled by a shift to corporate protections.  
    The pro-choice supporters, whether through ignorance, stupidity, or gross negligence have failed to use this Amendment in support of women’s rights.  A pregnancy is a life-threatening experience for women.  Men are not subject to the possibility of death when they become fathers.  This Amendment must be extended to all women so that they have an unambiguous constitutional right to freedom from pregnancy.   To date the XIV Amendment has failed to provide our citizens the protection its original text intended.

In 2009, that will change!

Amendment XV

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
    Although this Amendment was passed in 1870, racists have thwarted it for almost 140 years by poll taxes, lynching, intimidation, and in the 2000 Florida vote, by purging the voter rolls of 80,000 blacks.

In 2009, that will change!

Amendment XVI
    The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

    Anti-tax right wingers insist that this constitutional Amendment is unconstitutional.  I want to go back to that original intent and tax “…incomes, from whatever source…” at the same rates and not distinguish between wages and investment income that benefits the wealthy.  The entire tax code must be radically rewritten.

In 2009, that will change!

Amendment XVII
    This one deals with terms of office and filling of congressional vacancies.  No problem here.

In 2009, that will not change!

Amendment XVIII
    After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof, for beverage purposes, is hereby prohibited.

    Two other sections of the Amendment deal with related legislative matters.  There it is.  Prohibition, initiated by guardians of the country’s morals, gave us organized crime and a wholesale contempt of laws by everyone who ignored and evaded this Amendment.  The grandchildren of the guardians are alive and well today.  Thankfully erased by Amendment XXI, which lifted prohibition.  No further comments.

In 2009, that has already been changed!

Amendment XIX
    The right of citizens in the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

    Women’s Suffrage.  Finally a recognition that 50 percent of the US population has the right to vote.  Let us rejoice, but remember that Ann Coulter doesn’t want women voting.

Amendment XX
    This sets the rules for terms of the president and vice-president, times of congressional sessions, and other matters.

In 2009, that will not change!

Amendment XXI
    The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

    Whoopee!  Rational thought bubbles to the surface.

In 2009, that will not change!

Amendment XXII
    This one limits presidential terms to no more than two.  Pushed through in 1951 by the lunatic fringe Republicans who were furious at FDR for betraying his class and passing the New Deal.  Backfired on them when Ronald Reagan could not run again.

Amendment XXIII
    This amendment gives Washington DC the right to have a representative in Congress.  But it does not provide anything else to the citizens of the district.  Hey, we ain’t racists!

In 2009, that will change!

Amendment XXIV
    The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United states or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.        

    Over 150 years since freeing the slaves, an Amendment that forces the racist Republican base to come up with other methods of disenfranchising black Americans.  Hey, we ain’t racists!

Amendment XXV
    This rule deals with presidential succession when the president is “…unable to fulfill the powers and duties of his office…” Cannot be activated even if the occupant of the White House is a certifiable lunatic.

In 2009, that will change!

Amendment XXVI
    The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of age.

    Lowering the voting age to allow people who are old enough to die in battle the right to vote was a great move. I think we will see more young people getting involved in the 2008 race.

In 2009, that will not change!

Amendment XXVII
No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

    This rule was first proposed in 1789, but was not ratified until 1971.  Congress will not be able to vote on a pay raise while they are in session.  A good idea.

In 2009, that will not change!

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Comment Preferences

  •  You will never see any of this if a Repub (0+ / 0-)

    gets in office in 2012.  Your best bet is to stick with Obama and give him majorities in the H and the S.  Dems need to stop kicking  themselves in the foot.  Repubs never give up.  They fight until they get what they want.  And they value small steps.  To them a step in their direction is victory.  To us a step is not big enough.  When will we ever learn?

    •  yes we know but it's still disgusting (0+ / 0-)

      That majorities in Congress do not equal justice, and progress.  And we have a DEMOCRATIC President that is to the right of Ronald Reagan.

      --Mr. President, you have to earn my vote every day. Not take it for granted. --

      by chipoliwog on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 01:44:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't think Obama is to the right of Reagan. (0+ / 0-)

    I think it is unfair to judge Obama at this point because 90% of what he has tried to do directly for the American people has been either filibustered or voted down by the Repubs.  If all of Obama's bills had gone through we would all be singing a different tune right now.  Men would be working on the highways, teacher classrooms would not be over 22 and more cops would be on the beat.  The Rs have stopped all of this from happening.   Right president doesn't mean anything if you don't have a congress willing to work with him.  Even some of the Dems aren't working with Obama.  And that is sad.

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