Civil rights, Constitution, Democracy, economy, history, Liberty, News, opinion, Philosophy, Politics

A Proposal for a New Bill of Rights

In a continually evolving democratic republic there often comes a point when innovations in technology, law, philosophy, economics and culture compel us to reexamine the foundational documents and systems that make us who we are as a nation and as a society. That is not to say that by proposing changes to the Constitution or to our national laws we are admitting an inherent flaw in the original crafting of our nation by the various founders. On the contrary, it is a testament to the enduring power and brilliance of the original ideas and documents formulated by these men that we can take their creation and build upon it to create a more free, just, and fair society. The pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness cannot be achieved through inertia or inaction. We must forge forward using the past as a prologue to our new endeavors while not denying that there has been a monumental amount of progress made in areas of thought and technology that could have scarcely been imagined by the founders of our national system. The United States and its founding philosophy were born out of the heady and imaginative Enlightenment era. Voltaire, Rousseau, Locke, Diderot and many others influenced how our founders thought about law and governmental procedures as well as philosophy and theology. We must acknowledge this debt we owe to the geniuses of this era without trapping ourselves in a mute and inactive reverence of the past.

It is time to improve the processes that will help aid in our pursuit of a more prosperous and humane nation. Our nation is still a place where many can achieve their wildest dreams and achieve what few others in the world could ever hope to imagine. That being said there are major fissures forming in our national edifice. The free market that has been in the past a wonderful, albeit imperfect, system for allowing for the growth of prosperity and expression by the citizens of this nation has now begun to reek havoc on our very system of government. Once coupled with strong and progressive minded federal government that believed in national civil investment and national improvement the unregulated market has now become the chief architect of our national atrophy. The government has largely abdicated its responsibility as the protector of the commonwealth and welfare if its people and as a firm yet fair hold against the amoral potential of unregulated market forces. An entire political party is now devoted to the wholesale dismantling of the entire Federal system envisioned by our founders and crafted and honed by decades of protest, war, civil action, community organizing and intellectual striving. The founding was not the end of our national democratic republican experiment, it was an auspicious but limited beginning. We cannot read the minds of those men and women who shaped our original national character, nor should we try, but we can learn from their ideas, successes and especially from their mistakes.

The past decade has taught us a painful but essential lesson about our nation and ourselves as a people. Our military power has proven to be no longer a guarantee of our success and influence on the international stage. Our ability to reinvent and revitalize ourselves and our national institutions has waned as inequality in the areas of income, liberty and essential human decency has reached a level that is no longer tenable if we wish to continue to be respected as a nation of freedom and modernity. When many working class men and woman can no longer hope to feed, house, or keep healthy care of a family without submitting to a job market that dehumanizes and devalues workers, there is something wrong with our national system and our collective sense of right and wrong. The color of our skin, along with our sexual orientation, health, age and gender still have much more to say about about our individual and societal destinies then does the inestimably rich content of our character. This is not what our founders envisioned for us. This is not where we are supposed to be as a society.

It is in the spirit of those founders along with people who made up the civil war generation, the labor rights movement, the woman’s rights movement and the various Civil Rights movements of the 20th century, that we take up once more the torch of liberty and attempt to light our way forward into a more perfect union. We have come to realize through centuries of tragic and profound exploration and experimentation that there is no one answer to our national woes. There is no perfect philosophical solution to human problems, no matter how much we wish the opposite were true. Too many have suffered and died throughout history in the pursuit of perfect systems of governance and societal progress. We are not a perfectible species, but we are an improvable one.

Below are a few proposals I have come up with in an effort to improve our systems and laws from within. These do not aim to overturn the established Constitutional order as we now understand it. They merely seek to recognize our progress in the area of essential human rights and to codify in law the enlightened pursuit of societal betterment and governmental maintenance. We are not a people who will accept the continual erosion of our national systems and ideals. We are a people who innovate, invent, imagine and at our best inspire others to better themselves. It is in that spirit that I introduce these draft proposals of Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America.

Amendment 28 Proposal: No citizen or permanent legal resident shall be denied the right to vote in the United States.

Amendment 29 Proposal: No worker in the United States shall be denied the right to unionize or otherwise organize to petition and        protest for their rights as workers.

Amendment 30 Proposal: All Amendments to the United States Constitution shall be construed as applying fully to the various states and shall supercede any and all laws that may be in opposition to the principles enshrined in the Constitution and its Amendments

Amendment 31 Proposal: The right to complete personal discretion in matters of life, death, and health shall not be abridged or constrained by the Federal Government or by the various states.

Amendment 32 Proposal: The right to healthcare is absolute and the Congress shall pass laws or statutes that respect this fact. Healthcare is not the exclusive or primary province of the for profit free market.

Amendment 33 Proposal: No Corporation or non-individual non-government entity shall be considered a “person” in regards to rights derived from this constitution and the bill of rights thereof. The rights of a citizen of the United States shall be considered to supersede any rights claimed by a corporation, union, political organization or any other non-individual non-government entity.

Amendment 34 Proposal: The United States hereby declares that it will abide by every article of the Geneva Conventions Governing the conduct of War and the treatment of the victims and participants thereof in every military action it undertakes, and also hereby ratifies the treaty creating the International Criminal Court and subjects itself to its jurisdiction

Amendment 35 Proposal: The people do not have the right to bear arms. The bearing of arms shall be considered a privilege. Federal, State, and Local jurisdiction shall have the right and responsibility to prohibit, limit, or abridge this privilege as seems appropriate.

Amendment 36 Proposal: Every worker in the United States shall be guaranteed a living wage that shall be adjusted for inflation and economic growth and the prices of basic goods.

Amendment 37 Proposal: The citizens of Puerto Rico, The Federal District of Columbia, The US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Somoa  and all other United States territories shall enjoy all the rights afforded to citzens of the United States as outlined in the Constitution and  its Amendments

Amendment 38 Proposal: The death penalty and mandatory minimum sentences shall be abolished as examples of cruel and unusual punishment.

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11 thoughts on “A Proposal for a New Bill of Rights

    • nme16 says:

      Again thank you so much for your kind words. I had hoped that some people would respond positively to these ideas I have had for quite some time. I will be looking in on your blog [s] in the future as well 🙂

  1. Sir, or madam,

    Excellent post, well reasoned and presented…. I have a few comments, if I may….

    It has long been a delusion in human society that morality can be enforced, or induced at all, by legislation. This is, as proven time and time again throughout thousands of years of human history, an idea that is doomed to fail, every time it is attempted. That is not speculation, or guesswork. Look it up…..

    Therefore it is my suggestion that you forget #35, in favor of the Second Amendment already in place; this concept is based on a false assumption, and making a flat statement of what (YOU believe) my rights are, or should be, is not acceptable to me as a citizen of this republic, or as a human being responsible for my own actions .Bearing arms is not a privilege, nor will I, and most likely at least 150 million, or more, other people in this country, accept that idea for a moment, a fact that should be obvious to any one with practical understanding of reality. I do not, nor will I ever believe that Federal, State, or Local jurisdiction have either the right, nor the authority to say differently, and I doubt seriously that there are very many in this country who do believe that. I reject utterly the statement that they, or you, or anyone else, has the right to decide for me what I will or will not own, or keep, or use in my defense. After guns, free speech would be the next to go….any bets?

    That, my friend, is a fact of life, and of human nature. We only have those rights we can defend…. and this is merely another doomed attempt to legislate morality into human nature. Violence exists. Period. Get used to it, because you are not going to remove it from people’s core nature, or from reality, any more than attempting to remove guns will stop crime, or killing, or the tendency toward violence that is part of the nature of Man. Better to understand the impulse, and work toward educating people in how to cope with that part of themselves constructively, rather than destructively…..

    The rest of your amendments are perfectly in alignment with what I believe is needed to improve the conditions of inequality and elitism so prevalent in today’s society, and would receive my full support.

    To be honest, up to recently, I never owned, or saw a need to own a gun. As one who has followed the Warrior’s Path since my early teens (and probably before; I was raised on army posts from birth to age 10), a long-time student of martial arts, and the theories of war, I learned how to deal with violence in many ways, with many techniques, a large number of which I had to apply in my work for years, physically controlling out-of-control psychotic mental patients, without hurting them, or getting hurt. I got pretty good at it, especially in recognizing it before it manifested fully, and diverting it. I am very familiar with violence, in a great many of its guises. So, I can generally deal with whatever physical violence may occur in my immediate vicinity.

    Now, however, I’m not as fast as I once was, nor as well-conditioned; I’m better at foresight, it comes with age. And I can forsee a time when I could conceivably need the equalizing factor of a weapon like gun, in order to live up to my standard of handling events without injury, as far as I can…..so, I’m probably going to buy one or two… because of that, and even more, because of insane (sorry, don’t mean to flame; but, it isn’t fully sane to attempt to change human nature) talk such as this, of watching society willingly slip on their slave collars… it is NOT going to happen in my world….

    If anyone, or anyone’s brother, or anyone else, tries to take away the Second Amendment rights I now have, well, I can only say, good luck with that….. and bring lots of friends…you’ll need them….

    Oh, and I’d keep in mind…. those folks like the police in Sanford, Florida who were complicit in covering up the murder there, aren’t going to disarm themselves, now are they?…. How far will you trust them to behave with honor, and respect for YOUR rights? Get real…..and I don’t mean that disrespectfully, but in hope that you will open your eyes to what is plainly there to see….

    • nme16 says:

      I appreciate your comments and your concern and I do not take any offense at all. It is rare to get such a well thought out and reasoned opinion and response to my work. I disagree obviously about the 2nd Amendment, but as I hope you can see (and if you look at another post I wrote on my blog about the topic of gun laws) I am willing to negotiate on that topic. I do not see the issue as one of human violence per se so much as a right or lack thereof to an instrument of violence. Banning personal nuclear weapon use or ballistic missile use or ownership does not “try to change human nature” in any way, just restricting the means that violent people will have to inflict that violence on others. Again thank you very much for your response and I hope you continue to read!

  2. nme16… Have no fear, I’ll be back… it’s rare to find an example of such willingness to maintain dialogue, without shutting off discussion due to disagreement on certain points of argument (which is NOT a dirty word)… While I agree with your comment re: nuclear weaponry, etc, ie. WMD’s, I do have a reservation regarding that, and appreciate your willingness to discuss the merits of another view. A lot.

    I will indeed make time to go read your other post on this subject; I spotted that when I read this, and had intended to do so anyway, so…. afterward, I’m sure I’ll have a comment or two; I’m hard to shut up once I have my teeth in an issue… At that time I’ll go into the fallacy I see in your reasoning re: weapons and the right to own or keep them vs. human nature. A short hint of that discussion may be inferred from the query, “who decides which weapons, and which rights?”

    Again, a great pleasure to read such a well reasoned article, and my kudos and congratulations on the other amendments you propose. As I said, I would support all of them….

    Take care, and Blessed Be…. 🙂 And keep your ammo dry……

    • nme16 says:

      HA! Maybe I will just call you when I need a well armed comrade in ideas and arms should things go to shit lol. Again I really appreciate your willingness to agree to disagree and I cannot wait to dialogue on other issues

      • At the risk of being misunderstood, (not likely in this case, I think…)…. ditto…. 🙂 No Limbaugh intended, other than sardonically….

  3. Came here to read this after seeing the link on The ObamaCrat.com, and I’m glad I did. There’s a lot of food for thought in your post. It brings to mind the whole concept of the Constitution as a living document, which is something that is debated whenever there is discussion of judicial activism (as we are currently seeing in the Supreme Court’s consideration of the ACA). I understand the fears many people have about allowing the courts to play too fast and loose with the principles outlined in the Constitution, and there is the possibility of some real harm being done in such a situation. But, despite that, there is a real need to recognize the issues and scenarios that exist in modern American society, and to acknowledge that a document written over 200 years ago can’t possibly address them all in a meaningful way. It’s tough to find the balance between respecting the Constitution and keeping it relevant, effective and fair as times change. But your post is very well-presented and I enjoyed reading it.

    • nme16 says:

      This is a wonderful and well written and thought out response. I am constantly inspired by all the people who read my work and bring their own ideas to the table. I was prompted to finally write these ideas down because of the ACA case in front of the court in all honesty. I am glad you appreciated my concern for our constitution and nation. I will check out your blog!

      • Glad that you’ve stopped by my blog, and I appreciate your feedback! I will be following your posts from now on, and I will take a look at your previous work too. Looks like I have a lot of interesting stuff to catch up on here! Take care – Chris (a.k.a. DoubleyooTeeEff)

  4. Pingback: Precious moments of subtle grandeur….. | gigoid

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