By Kenneth Boche
With continuing threats to our democracy, we must consider what Constitutional changes can help us live up to the Pledge of Allegiance which virtually all U.S. citizens have promised: “…liberty and justice for all.”
With the costs, plus the greed for power, that control our elections, individuals are discouraged from voting by gerrymandering, by restricted voting times, and by drop-off and mail-in ballot options. This discrimination does not align with “…liberty and justice for all.”
During our country’s founding, “We the people” meant “living humans.” When the “robber barons” invented corporations to build railroads and other industries, those corporations had limited lifetimes. Now, corporations are chartered forever, so they are, obviously, not “real people.”
The first step toward more equitable constitutional changes is to pass the www.movetoamend.org amendment that reaffirms “people” to mean living humans as our Founders intended. Included in that amendment is “Money is not free speech.” Our Founders reserved “free speech” for living individuals.
One step to passing the www.movetoamend.org amendment is securing coordination with the Indivisible Network which was created to hold congressional members accountable. The Indivisible Network can help apply pressure on House of Representatives’ members to support House Joint Resolution 48, (HJR-48). And senators must create a Senate version of HJR-48.
After the passage of the www.movetoamend.org amendment, three subsequent amendments should be passed, each one addressing each of our three branches of government.
The Supreme Court justices should be term-limited. This would eliminate the abuse of judicial power with its erosion of the court’s legitimacy that we’ve recently seen. Every four years, the incoming or re-elected President would nominate or reappoint at least one justice. This would keep the Supreme Court more accountable both to the American people and to legal precedents.
For the Presidency, the Electoral College should be abolished. The President should be determined by popular vote. This change would eliminate “battleground” states and would give every voter equal voice choosing our president. The elimination of battleground states would further protect elections from attempted coups like the January 6th insurrection. It would also increase voter turnout. The “My vote doesn’t count” feelings, which depress voter turnout in non-battleground states, would disappear.
One beneficial option for both Congressional and state legislature elections is to implement “ranked-choice voting” which encourages voters to consider other candidates in addition to their preferred one. This innovation creates more bi-partisan, supportive and thoughtful campaigns, replacing the wars of words and money that now comprise our present elections.
These Constitutional improvements will be opposed by the corporations who own the media and profit from the “Red versus Blue” mentality that divides, rather than unites, people and communities. That divisive mentality, plus the addictive social media algorithms, provide little opportunity for focused discussions about how best to govern America.
One reason that we lack the resources to solve our country’s most pressing problems is that corporate welfare swallows huge amounts of money that is needed for solving problems such as food scarcity, immigration, homelessness, building sustainable economies, and the issues of climate change and ecosystem degradation.
The Artemis moon program will divert hundreds of billions of dollars away from projects that are needed here on earth. The analogy which compares colonizing the moon, Mars, and beyond with the sailing era of Earth’s exploration completely ignores the facts that sailing ships traveled on solar-generated wind power, and those ships were built largely from renewable resources. Space travel is not at all sustainable. Plus, this proposed colonization ignores the immense distances and the resources required to establish and support bases just on the moon, let alone on Mars.
We need only look at Venus’ carbon dioxide atmosphere and high temperatures to see our own future unless we reduce greenhouse gases and address humanity’s needs for sustainable food production, resource-efficient housing, adequate health care, education, and so much more.
Only by adopting these and similar changes to our systems of governance, can we implement the Pledge of Allegiance and bring “Liberty and Justice for All” to all of our nation’s people.
Kenneth Boche is an Environmental Planner, permaculture designer, and former Instructor at Hawaii Community College’s Forest TEAM Program. He lives in Virginia. His list of publications can be found at https://frogfacefarm.com/?page_id=587