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.