Beyond the Cusp

December 11, 2011

Maybe it’s Time for a Complete Reset and Review

The United States principles and attitude towards governance is spelled out in three major documents. The Constitution explains the distribution of powers and responsibilities, places limits and checks on each branch of government and defines the mechanics for election cycles and the basic structures in the design of each arm of the government, the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Presidency, the supporting Administration and the basis for establishing a federal judiciary as deemed necessary. The Bill of Rights lays out the rudimentary liberties and freedoms which every individual has by the grace of the Creator with a proviso that the list is incomplete and lists only a the most basic of these rights and implies that the individual is to be considered to be of superior rights and the government subordinate and limited to solely those powers granted by the people and retains such power solely by the will of the people. The final document which frames the American system is probably the most powerful and least utilized of the three, the Declaration of Independence. This affirmation is a unique testimonial document which established the revolutionary ideal that mankind is able to rule itself and that governance should only exist at the behest of the people who are the source of all power. The Declaration of Independence introduced a new order which permitted government through the permission of the people who were empowered by the highest source, their creator who had endowed them with unalienable Rights which were not to be limited or surrendered unto the governance except when done so willfully, and even then only temporarily for as long as the governance served the betterment of the people. Should the governance attempt to usurp additional rights without the consent of the people, the governed, or should the governance fail in its service of the people, then the people are not only empowered to dissolve such governance, but are obliged to do so and form new governance which will serve to protect the people’s rights and empower the people, not those who govern.

This was the genius that was born of the political philosophies which came of the enlightenment which had its initial documentation in the Magna Carta which was signed in June 15, 1215, by King John of England. King John’s excessive abuse of power and disregard for both nobles and common Englishmen led to a revolt which threatened to topple the Crown of England. This document made it known that even the King was no longer above the law nor was the Royalty to be permitted use of their positions to such excess that it would harm the people and thus all of the land. With the Magna Carta the concept of a universal common law was born and with such came individual rights, initially for the owners of lands and eventually to all the peoples and citizens of the State. In many ways, the Declaration of Independence came about as a direct result and further application of the very concepts born of the Magna Carta. What made these documents so totally unique over other similar declarations similarly drawn from the enlightenment was the fact that as well as the recognition of the power and rights of the individual, these two special declarations of rights also tied the nobility of the individual to be guaranteed as they were of divine origins. These documents tie for all time the concepts of the enlightenment with the morality and nobility of mankind from Judeo-Christian ethos. By recognizing the concept of the divinity of mankind and linking it with the political empowerment which arose out of the enlightenment, these documents would directly lead to the concept of full equality between all people while placing governments as subjected to limits of their powers such that they were not to be damaging or burdensome on the people they were formed to serve. The last similarity between these documents which established universal rights was they also contained a specific list of grievances against the governments which they were designed to alter or abolish. The Magna Carta demanded change while not dictating any structural change to the form of government and the Declaration of Independence declared that the situation was beyond reparation and demanded a complete break from the Crown of England. Despite renouncing the rule of the Crown of England, the Declaration of Independence did not instruct or insist on any particular new form of governance and could just as easily allowed an American Royalty to have come into existence. This is where the Constitution takes the next steps in creating an ideally new concept of limited governance instead of the more absolute power of a monarch.

The question is now, are the people still being served by the government or has the government usurped an over abundant amount of power to the point where the people are now serving the government? If the latter is the case, then we need to address if it is possible to make adjustments to the current governance or has it progressed to the point necessitating a complete restructuring and possibly even a new constitutional basis from which to go forward. I would hope that adjustments might be possible as I have doubts that a better governing concept could be established than what is laid out in the Constitution of the United States. With this in mind, here is a list of a few adjustments for consideration.
1) Regulations must be approved in the same method as any other law or legislation. They are no longer to be the responsibility of faceless unelected bureaucrats.
2) All regulations and legislation must be reviewed every ten years or be allowed to sunset and no longer be enforceable.
3) Return to the States their representation by the repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment.
4) Grant the States the respect due them by the Constitution and actually apply the Tenth Amendment thus returning much of the power and rights intended for the States which have been illegally usurped by the Federal government.
5) Redefine the so-called Commerce Clause with a strict and narrow definition that ends the abuse of this clause to expand the Federal government at the expense of the States, the people and the rights and power retained by each according to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
6) Apply all rules pertaining to insider trading and abuse of privileged information which currently do not apply to the members of the Congress or any other government officials in order to end the abuse of the trust of the people and the resultant enrichment of our elected officials who currently make investments by which they gain overt wealth through methods considered criminal for everybody else.
7) Limit all campaign contributions for candidates and political parties to those which originate solely from those individuals who are able to vote for said candidate. Eliminate corporate, NGO, and other contributions to the political parties allowing only those contributions from citizen members of each party.
8) Limit all campaigning for office to an agreed upon amount of time deemed reasonable for each office. One suggestion might be twelve months for President including primaries, six months for Senate, and four months for House of Representatives.
9) Make the requirements for third party and independent candidates for federal office standardized for all States. Liberalize these requirements and end the stranglehold the two established political parties hold on placing candidates onto the ballot.
10) Make provisions to make the House of Representatives a more truly representative body as originally intended. This could be established by removing the limit on seats and returning to placing one Representative for every set number of citizens, perhaps for every 50,000. This could be established by allowing the House of Representatives to meet electronically through a secure and closed server network and placing each Representative in an office in their own district.
11) Return the responsibility for and prerogative to set the salaries of both Senators and Representatives to each individual State and allow them to receive their salaries from their individual States.
These are just some of the suggestions that many people have made over the years. Many of them share the ideal that the government should not be a place of a privileged class and the need for easier access onto ballots for what are often referred to as regular people. There are other ideas which would allow for a more responsive governance and please add your own as comments please.

Beyond the Cusp

1 Comment »

  1. Hi BTC, Thanks for this post which I really enjoyed.

    I might query the extent to which Magna Carta was designed to impact the lives of the ordinary citizenry, but I agree your point entirely about it’s implications. The Declaration of Arbroath, 100 years later is directly influenced by Magna Carta and you see it tying the Monarch more closely to the Nation by stating overtly that his status on the throne is predicated upon him representing the Nation (in this case Scotland) and not submitting to the rule of a foreign power (in this case, England).

    I mention this only because it is exactly through this process of slow evolution that common law begins to trickle down to the common citizen and similarly, it is only through this same evolutionary process that the individual’s rights and duties, begin to be come tied to the idea of ‘a State.’ From this joint evolution comes the notion of the servant state.

    Your idea about limiting the campaigning time open for prospective canditates for office would, I think, be a significant boost to democracy in the US if it could be made to work. It occurs to me, however, that part of the global reach and soft power enjoyed by the United States, is the result of the visible embodyment of your Head of State appearing over and again on the TV’s around the globe and the example he sets to the world by having been democratically elected. In part, this is surely due to the long presidential elections you hold. Not only do Americans get the chance to see potential candidates seeking office but the rest of the world does as well, and usually knows in part, what they stand for before they get anywhere neer office.

    This applies at home as well. How many Americans were particularly aware of the Republican candidates for office 6 months ago? I suspect people would have known Newt and Trump and Palin and maybe Romney, but they have now had the opportunity to look closely at the field and have been given ample time to assess and have exposed some of the weeknesses of the candidates, unsavory as some of these are.

    I am not saying, don’t limit campaign time. I am just saying that a mechanism should be found to accomplish this. If I limited your time to blog, could it be enforced? I don’t think so.

    Lastly, I agree that a third party candidate helps diversify choice, but would i be wrong in saying that the reason for the non-emergience of a sustained 3rd force in American politics is not that individual States prevent them from standing, but that the challenges of financing and advancing such a party are so challenging?

    Once again, loved the post. Of all the countries in the world who can sustain a small State with limited powers controlled by judiciary and electoral checks and balances, it is (or should be) America.

    Like

    Comment by crabbitat — December 11, 2011 @ 11:50 AM | Reply


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