Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Is The Constitution Still Constitutional?

The United States considers itself a very young nation. The fact is that we have one of the longest continuing governments on the planet. Most countries governments are regularly destroyed by war, revolution or the criminal malfeasance of those governing.

A lot of people celebrate our system of government as a model of function and durability. Maybe. There are probably a lot of ways we could update the way we do things that would make things more fair, functional and democratic.

The primary election, caucus and national convention system by which we choose our Presidential election tickets is lengthy and favors candidates with a lot of political patronage and big corporate donors, which can end up producing a candidate that nobody wants, which then allows a really bad candidate in opposition to become President. The most famous modern example of this was when Nixon beat Humphrey in '68 but you can't overlook the Obama/McCain race during the last election. Almost nobody liked McCain and large numbers of his own party loathed him.

The US Senate gives two seats to every State, the elected members get six year terms and the Senate has many prerogatives that the House of Representatives does not. No one can argue that the Senate is a fair form of democratic legislature or that it is not much more powerful than the more representative House.

The Supreme Court members are chosen by the President, confirmed by the Senate and then serve as long as they want. Who came up with that one?

Would you change the way the government is run if you could? Do you think we should have another Constitutional convention and shake things up?

I think we should shake things up. I don't think we should elect politicians any more. I think terms in public office should be awarded through a lottery of all adult citizens. Some people would argue that this could produce holders of high public office who might be dangerous felons, retards, sexual deviates, religious fanatics and all other manner of undesirables. This is no doubt true but I say it will be less so than we currently have and on the whole we will have a better, less corrupt and meglomaniacal group of citizens running our government.


Lee said...

When you consider that California has one senator for over 18,000,000 people and that Alaska has one for just over 340,000 I don't see how anyone can make the argument that the senate is a democratic institution.

Buck said...

Several comments:

1) I don't know hardly anyone who has a decent understanding of how the US political system works. People have been leaving politics to the politicians instead of embracing the notion that their liberty DEPENDS on taking an active part in the political process; else the 'pros' will run off with all the loot.

2) I like the idea of a Constitutional Convention. Shaking things up is just what the country needs. Maybe a few people will wake up and participate if they see a clean slate.

3) The Senate isn't supposed to be democratic. The Federalist Papers are a good thing to read to become familiar with the mind set of the framers. http://www.foundingfathers.info/federalistpapers/