The opening salvo of John Lennon’s Revolution – the B-side of The Beatles’ Hey Jude single released in August 1968 – seems oddly apropos to the world 42 years after its release. In 1968, media coverage of the Tet Offensive spurred protests against the Vietnam War across the globe – notably, at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and at the American embassy in London’s Grosvenor Square. In Poland, students and intellectuals protested against their Communist form of government. And, in France, student occupation protests spawned a general strike by labor unions that nearly toppled President Charles de Gaulle’s government and brought the nation to the brink of civil war.
Today, we witness a similar contagion spreading revolutionary ideals in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and even Saudi Arabia seem ripe locales for revolutionary activity. Even in the western world, notably the United States, discontent with government – created, in part, by the near meltdown of our economic system – has invaded the public consciousness and enhanced popular acceptance of change.
The election of Barack Obama, our first President of African-American descent, was considered by many the embodiment of change coming to America. Yet many among those who supported him have since become dissatisfied with his lack of progress on promised changes. Indeed, I am certain that President Obama has learned, as have others before him, that world events, political realities, and our very system of government frequently thwart an ambitious agenda for change.
Since our own American Revolution and ratification of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, change has been slow in coming. In fact, since adoption of the Bill of Rights in 1791, there have only been 17 Amendments to the Constitution ratified – one of which repeals an Amendment previously ratified, and, in the last 40 years, only two.
With all of that said, I recently received in my email a proposal for the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution entitled “Congressional Reform Act of 2011.” Its stipulations are as follows:
Each elected member of Congress may serve a total of 12 years only according to one of the following scenarios:
Two 6-year Senate terms
Six 2-year House terms
One 6-year Senate term and three 2-year House terms
No Tenure/No Pension
A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay, pension, or compensation of any kind as a result of his/her tenure in Congress once he/she leaves office.
Congressional Participation (past, present & future) in Social Security
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund will, upon ratification of this Amendment, move to the Social Security system. All future Congressional retirement funds will flow into the Social Security system, and former members of Congress participate with the American people in receipt of Social Security benefits upon retirement. Members of Congress can purchase their own retirement plans, just as other Americans do.
Congressional Pay Raises
Members of Congress will no longer vote themselves pay raises. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or 3%.
Congressional Health Insurance Coverage
The current Congressional healthcare system will be abolished upon ratification of this Amendment. Members of Congress will participate in the same healthcare system as the American people.
Congress must abide by all laws they impose on the American people
Members of Congress may not exclude themselves from any laws passed by Congress and signed into law by the President.
Existing Contract/Agreements with Current and Former Members of Congress
All contracts, pensions, healthcare insurance coverage, and any other agreements with past and present Members of Congress are void effective the 1st day of January the year following ratification of this Amendment.
The email instructed me to pass this along to 20 or more people in my address book. I thought that publicizing it on my website would be a better option.
Given the current discontent of the American people with Congress, I think that this Amendment or one substantially similar to it might just have a chance at ratification. If you would support such an Amendment, send the link to this page to all of your family, friends, and acquaintances.