On October 2020 we held a participatory People's Movement Assembly (PMA) with over a hundred people from across the country who came together to discuss why and how we need to democratize the United States Constitution.
The 2020 People’s Movement Assembly was a catalyst -- the beginning of something big -- and we invite you to sign up below to stay up to date on all things related to this project!
During the 2020 PMA we collectively identified that:
- We are in a moment of converging crises - Climate collapse, global uprisings against state violence and police brutality, and a global pandemic when most are without access to healthcare.
- What's happening now is rooted in the values defined in (or missing from) the US Constitution - An undemocratic and ultra-powerful judicial branch, lack of human rights protections, no right to vote, and a whole lot of racist language just to name a few.
- Bold, systemic change is needed - We have to know our power and be able to think outside of what we’ve been told is possible. It’s going to take courage, audacity, and a whole lot of learning and conversations to make it happen. But the only thing we have to lose is our chains.
- We have to have a vision and a plan - We learned that when constitutions around the world are re-imagined (on average other countries rewrite their constitutions every 19 years!) they’re more democratic when the Movement has a clear vision of what they want in their constitution. We have been building this vision for over ten years, and we continued it this weekend.
- People want a constitution that protects human rights, not just property rights. We like a lot of what’s in the Bill of Rights, (with some changes and exceptions), but the rights should extend further. People want a right to healthcare, housing, rights of nature, gender equity, a right to vote, and a whole lot more.
- We don't have to start from scratch. We can get over American exceptionalism and take inspiration from the constitutions of other countries, the UN Declaration on Human Rights, and the 2nd Bill of Rights proposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
We have a lot of political muscle to build to be prepared to democratize the constitution. We’re not proposing Move to Amend are the ones to do it alone, nor that it should be done right now. But there are people who want to restrict rights and create room for more authoritarianism, and they’re planning for a constitutional convention. We need to have a plan too. If we don’t, things aren't going to turn out well.
We’re moving forward on this work, we’re creating a strategy, and if you liked the 2020 PMA, there’s a lot more where that came from. Sign up below to stay up to date on the latest news and future People's Movement Assemblies and our Toward a People's Constitution program.Sign up
- We are in a moment of converging crises - Climate collapse, global uprisings against state violence and police brutality, and a global pandemic when most are without access to healthcare.
Evolving into a decent man
Why I support Move to Amend
Born in 1954. Spent 17 years in prison for sexual assault.
I have computer skill. I understand research. In prison I made a point of enhancing my reading skill. I started with classics & developed a taste for history. I learned to understand the law as it applied to my case. First, to try to get out from under my conviction. Then to enhance my understanding of my circumstances & legally to accept the reality I had created for myself. “ From the Natural: "You know, I believe we have two lives...The life we learn with and the life we live with after that.” My mother and father met in Japan during the transition from an occupied Japan to an independent Japan after World War II. My mother was in the Army from Kansas stationed at the Far East Command in Tokyo. My father was in the Air Force. He was a radar technician. They met at a Christmas Party or a New Year’s Eve Party in 1953. Likely at a place my mother spoke about many times called the Rocker Four Club. Soon after my mother became pregnant. Her decision to have me cost her a career in the Army. In the long run it would cost her the marriage, as my father blamed her for not having aborted me in Tokyo. I discovered this information in a letter he wrote, while he was likely drunk when he was stationed in Thailand in 1969, 1970. They felt the need to lie to me about when they were married. They said they were married in June of 1953. I already knew about how they met. They married in June of 1954. I was born that October. I would spend many years blaming them both and inevitably myself for that. Unfortunately for all of us, my father had demonstrated even back in Japan, that he had no desire to have responsibilities beyond taking care of himself. He was one of those “do as I say not as I do” kind of guys. He was a “I will do what I want to, when I want to” kind guy. He was an “I am the king and you’re nobody” kind of guy. With emphasis on the idea that he never saw this attitude as a lack of maturity on his part or a joke. The ideologies in our household ran along opposite sides of the Mason-Dixon Line. My mother would have marched with the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 if we had still lived in Alabama, where I was born. My father became a Republican along with many Southern Democrats over the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He exemplified the current mentality of the Grand Ole Party (GOP). A membership that included the likes of Ronald Reagan and the mentality that went with him. I find it ironic that the GOP still likes to refer to itself as the Party of Lincoln. As if his history pursuant to his involvement in the GOP prior to, and during the Civil War has anything in common with the 20th and 21st century version of the GOP. As a military brat we were moving from place to place frequently. My sisters were born in Denver. There was a flood that almost killed us in the summer of 1957. My mother was pregnant with my baby sister. She became terrified by the fact that a wall in the duplex we lived in had been destroyed by rushing water taking the family that lived below us with it. I remember seeing bodies floating in the water. My father was in Alabama at the time. My mother never wore his pajamas again, after that night. My brother was born in Texas while my father was serving in Alaska on a remote assignment 1961, 1962. The only real significance here, is that when my father was not around the household was much calmer. It was the same when he was stationed in Thailand in 1969, 1970. I became aware of a larger world when I saw John F. Kennedy speak at his Inauguration on TV in 1961. We were living near Tinker AFB in 1962 during the Missiles of October. My father was at the radar site for days during that event. A radio in our house fell over and for some strange reason we were able to hear communications between airplanes and the tower. B-52 bombers loaded with nuclear weapons were doing touch and goes. For every plane landing another plane was taking off. I remember my mother’s fear more than the event itself. I was in a classroom across the street from the same house we lived in near Tinker when I learned that John F. Kennedy had been shot. That weekend the only light I remember in the house was coming from our TV. At nine years old I remember watching Lee Harvey Oswald being shot live. I remember watching John F. Kennedy, Jr. salute his father that Monday. Then when he died in 1999, I remember feeling that Camelot was no more. I was hoping to see John F. Kennedy, Jr. take up and continue his father’s legacy. It did not occur to me until now, that Caroline Kennedy is still with us. We moved to Colorado Springs in 1965. My father was now stationed at NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Which is now called Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Base. As far as I know, it is still a nerve center of the Strategic Air Command. I remember that moving to Colorado Springs meant that we had moved from the frying pan to the fire. Every month for many years we would hear the warning sirens going off all over town to test the Early Warning System that exists in case of an emergency. In the middle of the Cold War, I grew up knowing that NORAD was likely a first strike target in a nuclear war. The month after we moved into our current residence in 1969, Apollo 11 landed on the Moon. My father was still in the Air Force and going to college. My mother was taking her first steps into a long career with the Department of Defense. She retired from the United States Postal Service in the late 1990s. I would soon be attending Lt. General William Mitchell High School where the seeds of curiosity about history would start to be developed in me. Partly due to having seen the movie the Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell played by Gary Cooper. A curiosity about history that began with knowing my mother’s brother had fought in World War II. I learned about one of most disturbing events he faced during the war. The liberation of the concentration camp near Gardelegen, Germany in April of 1945. Where 1200 prisoners were marched into a giant barn that was loaded down with gasoline and set on fire. My uncle was one of the first American soldiers to reach the site as the fire was still smoldering. My father was stationed in Thailand in 1969 the month after Apollo 11 landed on the moon. He had a heart attack in early 1970 that would have him in Clarke Air Force Base in the Philippines for about 3 months before he was transferred to Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver for another 3 months. It was there that I got my first real understanding of what it was like for men in combat. I watched my father being carried off a C-141. To see him vulnerable like that was shattering to me, because I had never seen him defenseless before. But it was the guy before him who was wired to his bed in gauze covering him from head to toe that got to me. He was clearly a burn victim. In the months that followed I saw men with one leg, men with no legs, men with one arm, men with no arms, men with no legs and no arms. The idea of being in combat did not sit well with me, so out of high school I decided to join the Navy. I figured that if the boat or a ship was shot out from under me, it was better to be drowned than maimed. I thought of my size as too easy a target. It was not long after his dramatic return from Thailand that my father was back pursuing old bad habits. I was not aware of it yet, but I was becoming just like him. In 1972 I turned 18 years old. It was just before the reelection of Richard Nixon. It was the only time I have ever voted for a Republican. It was the last time I voted at all for years to come. I was allowed to vote as the result of the 26th Amendment to the US Constitution that had been ratified the year before. The intent was to acknowledge the sacrifice 18 years old males were making in service to their country. The point was that they should be allowed to vote because they were being asked to risk their lives for their country. It was a very divisive and dangerous time in America. Most of the divisions we are dealing with today were being nurtured back then. Nixon’s “Silent Majority” was, and still is a catalyst in that process. Going all the way back to Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal, the GOP resented and resisted those policies as Socialism. In the same way they chose to resist the Civil Rights Movement as either Socialism or Communism. The same way they resented and resisted young Americans speaking out against the War in Vietnam. Anyway, I joined the Navy out of high school in June of 1973. I had been a part of a Navy program called the Sea Cadets in high school. I worked my way up as a leader in that program. I got to avoid going to bootcamp as a result. I wonder sometimes how things might have turned out had I, gone ahead with bootcamp. I wanted to be in the submarine service. Since my parents had military backgrounds and had received top secret type clearances, I was available for one myself. But shortly after I started engineman-fireman school at Naval Station Great Lakes, my parents took formal steps toward getting a divorce. I was angry at them for waiting until I left home to do it. However, I blamed myself as much as I blamed them. In sub school I admitted to using drugs. I was kicked out of sub school and eventually transferred to Pearl Harbor. The irony is that I would have started out in Pearl Harbor, anyway. The submarine I was to be stationed aboard was there when I got there. I took that opportunity to get all twisted up about my parents divorcing. I started the process of turning my life upside down. I was attempting to manipulate my parents into getting back together, because I was desperate to have my sense of normal returned. I was kicked out of the Navy for being unsuitable for military service. It was shortly after Nixon was forced to resign that my behavior started going to extremes. I was totally and completely disillusioned by every aspect of my life. I could not believe how blindly patriotic my parents were. I could not deal with how everything about the country I grew up believing in, was turning into a lie. I went from doing drugs to dealing drugs. I dabbled with prostitution and homosexuality. I went to Hollywood and tried to get into show business via the so-called infamous “casting couch”. All that was really going on at that time was that I was punishing myself to get back at my parents. Like my siblings it was easy to see my father as a victim and my mother as the heavy. All relationships I conducted with women in my life are a testament to that misunderstanding. Ultimately, I was developing everything I would need to play victim for years to come. I spent my 17 years in prison occupied in survival and self-discovery. The first thing you should learn about doing time is that it operates from two basic premises. There is letting time do you. Which is about playing the victim of a system of justice that is taking advantage of you. Which is not always wrong. But climbing the walls and acting out feeds stress into a situation that constantly operates as stressful to begin with. The other is simply accepting the circumstances you find yourself in and learning to make the best of it. Doing your time. It is letting your mind get the best of you that fosters the most grief. It is learning to keep your mind occupied that helps move the time along quietly. I always liked how the old timers did what they needed to do to stay focused and calm in a situation where they would likely never see the outside of a prison ever again. I had hassled my ex-wife to get her provide me with a list of reading material that would enhance my respectability. It was a part of what made me so pathetic. All I really needed to do was read and let it go from there. It turned out that reading is what I did in prison to keep my sanity. My ex-wife is a very well educated, individual coming from a very respectable family background. My education comes in the form of an exceptional memory. I never worked for grades. I remembered the lectures such as they were and passed the tests. I did not work at any of it. I could read but I was not well versed in either history or classics. Most of what I had learned over the years had come from movies and TV. Most of how I grew politically came from the emotional and sometimes aggressive disagreements from my parents. My education in prison started with learning to understand the law. Trying to understand how I had gotten myself into a plea deal that on the surface was acceptable to me, but under circumstances that left me with the impression that I was being taken advantage of. It centered around the fact that I was promised immediate placement into sex offender treatment upon my transfer into the prison system. The incentive was that I could have my sentence reduced to as low as 8 years if I did well in treatment. My original sentence was 22 years. The Court responded to the promise of immediate placement into sex offender treatment, as not up to the Court. My attorney avoided telling me at that moment that a key part of the deal we had struck with the prosecution was no longer valid. From the standpoint of my agreeing to plead guilty it made the plea deal no longer valid, as well. I argued that point many times over the years, but to no avail. Having said that I also started out focused on trying to portray myself as a victim of my ex-wife. I remember how I had setup the scene before I had asked her to come over that night. How I had planned to get my payback. How I was going to make her suffer, kill her, and then kill myself. I tried to suggest that she had provoked me. I walked into the kitchen to pick up the knife. I came at her with the knife in my hand when she said, “What is this? Some kind, of macho ego trip? What are you going to do, totally destroy your self-respect?” To this day those words haunt me because it speaks to who and what I had become. It speaks to what I was willing to do to pamper my ego. I did learn to understand legal research. I got hooked on understanding the intricacies of the law. Without having ever really read the Declaration of Independence or the US Constitution, I still had a good basic civic understanding of how our system of government was supposed to work. My research into arguing my plea deal helped me understand that the law was a series of statutes brought together for the purpose of establishing the rule of law our Constitution is based on providing for us. I learned to understand how interpretation of a given law or ambiguity in the language of a given law created room for changes to that given law. How evolving circumstances could change how laws were designed and open the door to better understanding of what would be needed from the law to meet the needs of those circumstances. I finally got an opportunity to participate in sex offender treatment after I had been in prison for 8 years. Remember that I could have had my sentence reduced to 8 years had I been successful in my treatment as promised in my plea deal. Ironically, I am happy that things worked out the way they did. It was a struggle in treatment at first because I was being asked to challenge myself in ways that had never occurred to me before. It was learning to pay attention to the attitudes and behaviors that up to that time I chose to ignore. To learn to be aware of the consequences of how my thinking would lead to actions on my part that crossed the line. To pay attention to how I was using my size for example, as a passive-aggressive form of intimidation. To pay attention to how I justified all abuses I perpetrated on others, because I could always be counted on to see myself as the victim and therefore justified. My attitude and behavior toward my ex-wife, was a prime example of how I was willing to use sex as a weapon. A weapon of guilt and ultimately a weapon of hate. Early on in my treatment process I decided to seek the help of anti-depressant medications to help me get a better grip on my aggressive and sometimes violent mood swings. I chose Zoloft. I liked how I was becoming able to slow things down in my head so I could watch as if from outside of my body, how I was choosing to allow myself to react to given outside stimulation. Zoloft and I were compatible. I was getting a grip on what I needed to learn to become more responsible about how I was choosing to think and how that was affecting how I chose to behave. Then the prison system decided to change their list of formulary medications. The treatment program decided to require us to change our medications to those consistent with the new list of formulary medications or risk termination from treatment for failing to comply with treatment obligations. I did not want to change my anti-depressant medication from Zoloft to Prozac, but I did. It was not long before it became apparent that Prozac and I were not compatible. My attitude and behavior became more aggressive and as a result and I was kicked out of the program. For long months I tried to challenge the circumstances of my termination within the prison system and the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. Based on what I believed was my right to keep a medication I was comfortable with. That they had no right to hinge my success in treatment or my prospects for parole based on an arbitrary decision to force me to make a change in my medication. The result was Bundy v. Stommel, 2006. The 10th Circuit reversed the U.S. District Court’s decision ruling that my lawsuit was frivolous. The 10th Circuit decided that my pro se argument as “lamenting that conditioning his eligibility for parole on his agreement to take Prozac violated his recognized and significant liberty interest to be free of the unwanted administration of antipsychotic drugs”. I was allowed to get the earned time I was losing back based on having been terminated from treatment. It allowed me to be discharged from the prison system in March of 2008. At this point, I need to speak about what these experiences taught me about my mother. In the last years of my incarceration, I spoke to my mother about how things in my attitude that had changed. Shortly after I got out, we had a face to face where I spoke about those changes again.
The look I got from her was priceless. It was “I have heard all this before. I will believe it when I see”. She had every right to see it that way. She was accustomed to my relentless efforts to manipulate her. My treatment in prison helped me see that my mother had been as much a victim of my father as we all had been. In the same way my ex-wife had been a victim of me. The difference is that my mother, like my ex-wife focused on her duty to take care of the household to the best of her ability. She did not always handle herself well. But this is where she demonstrated her willingness to own her attitude and behavior. She admitted to me that her biggest mistake had been to hold on to the marriage for as long as she did. Now I am tasked with taking care of her. I cannot think of a better way to honor her sacrifices for us.