Tag Archive | "U.S. Constitution"

You Say You Want a Revolution

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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:


Term Limits

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.


Rewriting History

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The Constitution of the United States of America was composed after much consideration and strife with our mother country, England.   It was written to elucidate and safeguard the truths our founding fathers deemed self-evident; these were the rights granted to every man, woman, and child by the grace of God. In creating the Constitution, James Madison, Ben Franklin, and their worthy colleagues sought to craft a document that would stand the passage of time.


Although the document emphasized centralization (federalization) of our new government, it included provisions to safeguard the rights of the individual States and for the separation of Church and State: a condition that guaranteed American citizens the right to practice their religion without fear of persecution.  This freedom distinguished our nation from others and became a beacon of hope to those experiencing religious oppression in their own countries.


From the moment of our nation’s birth, George Washington and every successive leader has made reference to God in governing and protecting our land.  Religious symbols and terminology were always invoked in swearing parties into public office and demanding that witnesses speak the truth in courts of law.  Every denomination of our currency carries the words, “In God We Trust.”   These things echoed the underlying tenets of the Constitution:  that every citizen and lawmaker is held to a higher authority.


The Constitution was designed to be shaped, interpreted, and modified to protect our citizens against threats both within and without our borders.  Yet, our Founding Fathers could not have foreseen the magnitude of change we have experienced as a nation evolving over more than two hundred years.  Now, interpretation of the Constitution is left to the best or perhaps the most powerful (i.e., moneyed) legal minds in the nation, also known as the Supreme Court.  Their decisions are final.  The phrase “Who died and made you God?” is particularly apt, for God has ceased being the Higher Authority in this nation.  Indeed, He has ceased to be, because right or wrong, We the People have to live with the decisions handed down by the Supreme Court. 


Did our Founding Fathers gaze into a crystal ball when crafting the Constitution?  Could they have envisioned the issue of abortion when they sought to separate Church from State?  Did they prophesize the tug of war fought to display/not display religious symbols on public property?  Or, did they mean to simply guarantee religious freedom to our citizens?  You do not have to be a Supreme Court Judge to answer these questions.


In defending our country from its enemies, we find God being written out of our history. Although engraved onto the World War II National Memorial, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Pearl Harbor Day speech has been politically corrected.  Many current references to this speech eliminate FDR’s heartfelt words, “So help us God.”


Christ has been removed from Christmas, for Christmas has been amended to The Holiday Season, Happy Holidays, or Winter Break.  Religious symbols are verboten in governmental structures; prayer was banned in public schools in the early 1960’s.  All of this was done under the guise of separating Church from State.  So, how does religious freedom fit in a Godless country that still professes to be the greatest democracy in the world?


The Bible states that God set forth a set of laws by which man was compelled to live.  The Ten Commandments were handed down to Moses on two stone tablets.  Containing not a single amendment, they serve as the basis of our own laws (“Thou shalt not steal,” “Thou shalt not kill,” “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor,” etc.).  Whereas our legal system is convoluted and often confusing, God managed to cover all the bases with but Ten Commandments.  I guess that’s why we call Him God!


Do you want to continue to write God out of our history and ensure that he is omitted for future generations?  If not, contact your Congressman or Congresswoman to demand that God is re-instituted.  While you’re at it, say a prayer.  Ask God’s help to give our leaders the wisdom they need to lead us properly through a society that worships The Almighty Dollar instead of a truly Higher Authority. 

Raise Your Voice (America Gave You One)

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Let Your Voice Be Heard

 

When the twisted fiends felled the Twin Towers on 9/11, Internet chatter as well as direct messages seeping like toxic waste out of terrorist camps indicated that they’d accomplished more than they’d hoped for (they had not expected the total obliteration of both structures).  In their wildest and sickest dreams, the terrorists could not have anticipated  the fallout from the blackest day on American soil.

 

This fallout runs deeper than the subsequent crisis on Wall Street, our military’s hunt for Bin Laden in his rat holes, escalation of our forces in Iraq, and the current recession.  For the love of God — and if you don’t love God, then for the love of our country — please read my last statement again, carefully.  Let it go through you like slow ice.  What could possibly be worse than any or all of that?  The dismantling of our tenets underpinning our Constitution is the absolute worst that can happen — and it’s been happening, because in our fear and anger and apathy, we have allowed it to happen.

 

Viewed impartially, the Constitution is nothing more and nothing less than a soul pact.  It’s the pact that our forefathers made with each other, and with all future generations born upon this soil, and those immigrating to this soil to take the oath of citizenry.  It is an agreement that all men, women, and children are born into this world via something greater than themselves, with unalienable rights bestowed upon them by that God.  God is and must remain an essential part of our national equation because without a higher authority, to whom are we accountable as a nation?  And we must be accountable as a nation, to ourselves and to the Constitution.

 

The treatment of confirmed and self-proclaimed terrorists in Gitmo Bay, the Federal edict to try the terrorists in civil rather than military courts, the potentiality of a national healthcare system, jobs going overseas, corporate scum bailed out to the tune of billions on the blood, sweat, and tears of private citizens, the war in Iraq — all of this has plunged us into a socio-political and economic crisis more intense and even more trying that what we had endured in the ’60s’s — and that’s saying a lot. Our President’s acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize with one hand while escalating the war in Afghanistan with the other should not have stunned anyone.  It is perhaps the most glaring example of how torn our nation has become.

 

No matter the winds that buffet us at home and from abroad, we must hold tight to our freedoms as citizens, and honor — not just give lip service to — the principles upon which the Constitution is based.   There must be no double standards here, and since there are, we must work to rectify them.  The world still watches and waits to see what America does; what will we show them?

 

We will show them what we are made of.  We will show them what has kept us intact and what has strengthened us thus far.  This is not the first time that we’ve been tossed upon the churning waters of national flux; not the first time that our envelope was pushed to its limits.

 

Blood ran in our streets in the 1960′s, and for too long (even one day is too long).  Entire families were forever fractured over the long bloody war in Vietnam.  Women emerged as an inarguable and permanent factor in the work force.  Men walked on the moon for the first time in history.  Eastern theosophy rose slowly on America’s shores, illuminating the Golden Rule, as God knows, we needed illumination.  Three of our best and bravest were cut down before our eyes: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President Jack Kennedy, and his brother, U.S. Attorney General Bobby Kennedy.  They did not die in vain but rather, inspired and instituted legislation that solidified the canons stated in our Constitution, far beyond mere rhetoric. These three men and those who supported them strengthened the reality behind the concept that we are all of us in this together (“E pluribus Unum”: “Out of many, One”).

 

Like those who tossed the tea into the Boston Harbor more than two centuries ago, and those who marched on Washington and through local streets forty-plus years ago, you must exercise your rights under the Constitution in order to keep that Constitution alive.   If something troubles you — an elected leader, a corrupt or inhuman and inhumane organization –  speak out.  Now is not the time for burying your head in the sand; nor is it the time for indulging in self-pity.  And nothing that impacted the common good was ever gained through silence and indifference. Much, however, was gained through peaceful organization, the raising of communal voices, unmitigated pressure upon our elected leaders, and the passage of true and lasting change.

True Colors

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true-colors

As we enter the new millennium of the “audacity of hope,” one has to wonder if the current direction of government conforms to the promised future of this country.  It is the first time in the history of our country that government has taken over the financial system including mortgage lending, a major national enterprise in the form of an automobile company, and is in the process of taking over the health care system.  This truly is audacity in action.

 

Our President claims he is a Christian, but he insists he has a Muslim background and announces it to the world.  Biblical teachings say you cannot obey two masters, which leaves us wondering the master that President Obama obeys.

 

I guess we are receiving the answer to that question as we witness what he does and not what he says. Recently, the enemies of our country were released from internment at Guantanamo Bay Prison and sent to Bermuda at the taxpayers’ expense to live the life of Riley. Can anyone in this country explain to me how sworn enemies of our country get away without punishment for their actions?  How can we as Americans look in the eyes of families who have lost sons or daughters to men such as these?

 

The Founding Fathers created a constitutional government with three branches to insure that checks and balances can be achieved so one branch could not dictate to the other two.  It is the sworn duty of these branches to uphold that rule regardless of party affiliations.

 

History will record the actions that take place today and if we are a constitutional government or not.  Let’s hope our elected representatives adhere to the rules of a constitutional government and show their true colors.

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