Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: '05
Join Date: Aug 2009
Bi Partisan Action
(Trying to get a national conversation started. Figured I'd drop it here. If you're pressed for time and not interested in the rational, there is one thing you can do to change the current system towards the end.)
The 28th Amendment
Do you remember your 10th grade American history text book? The cover was battered and torn and it was probably ten years out of date. The crinkled, glossy pages were already decorated with the scribbled notes and highlighter marks of its previous owners, as well as a few moustaches and that one crude sketch in the margin of page 138. Do you remember the chapter titles and subheadings that you would skim if you hadn’t done the reading but wanted a chance at the inevitable pop quiz? The chapter titles were always big and bold, naming major eras and important wars, with subheadings of information in a smaller size font. Then there were the small captions on the side in italics, telling a fun fact or some other, mostly irrelevant, detail.
Of course you remember this book. Whether it was called “History of America” or “Civics and You!” we all had one. And at some point or another, we all scanned the bold headings to get the gist of whatever pivotal moment in history we were about to be tested on.
So the question today is this: what will be the gist of the next few months of our history? Will it be written in an unimportant caption off to the side in italics that only the teacher-pleasers read? Or will it be a chapter title? Bold, definitive.
Will it be
“The first of many American loan defaults occurred in 2013 after Congress ‘shutdown’ the government and was unable to reach a compromise.”
The 28th Amendment to the Constitution
Those are our choices. This is the moment we decide. And I want a new chapter, dammit.
Many other moments in recent past have already faded into italics. Faded are the once belligerently loud, patchouli soaked bongo drums of “Occupy Wall Street,” and even the Tea Party has been relegated to the sort of scritchy, high-pitched whining of the know-it-all in the back of the classroom. But this moment cannot fade because it is unlike any other.
The frustration of today is bi-partisan. News anchors from every network complain about the ‘disconnect’ of congressmen and women, about the endless ‘bureaucracy’ that ties up millions of hours of manpower and tax dollars. They all sigh at the tantrum throwing, political posturing that brought us to this deadlock in the first place and, by the end of every broadcast, we all yearn for a voice to shout into the backseat, “You two stop bickering or I turn this car around and NOBODY gets ice cream!”
We have all had enough of morons using the internet as an anonymous, blunt, instrument with which to destroy ‘the other side’ by piling insults on top of baseless accusations. And while we may never (and should never) agree on specific policies, or the exact allocation of monies, we can all agree that somehow the system is broken.
So it is time to let go of the ranting. Time to (please!) let go of the memes of various political leaders with snarky out-of-context wordbytes. It is time to use the internet as the incredible resource it is do one simple thing. It is time to write our own title in bold, CAPS LOCK letters in the history books.
So here’s how we do that. Ready? Because this is on you. One. Simple. Thing.
We propose Amendment 28 which puts a cap on the number of terms a congressman or woman can serve, and removes other benefits that make it a ‘career’ instead of a ‘public service.’
Stop there. How, you ask, could we ever get the members of congress agree to tank their own careers and forfeit their pensions?
Well, luckily, there’s this beautiful little part of our current constitution that lets us bypass FEDERAL congress when proposing an amendment. It’s called a constitutional convention, or an amendments convention, and it allows STATE legislatures to propose an amendment if two thirds of the states support it (in this case, apparently, two thirds of 50 is 34...). Then, of course, the ratification process involves getting just four more states to approve it.
Remember your history textbooks? This is the biggest check and balance that our much referenced ‘founding fathers’ created, yet it is the one least used.
In fact, this ‘one simple thing’ has never been accomplished before. Not one amendment to the constitution has been added using this method. Probably because before now, each state was an island unto itself: unable or unwilling to coordinate that closely with each other across the abyss of state lines and cultural differences.
Thanks to Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and associates, however, that isolation has been irrevocably (if sometimes obnoxiously) blasted away. We can, and do, communicate all the time with anyone anywhere in the country. We can organize rallies with complete strangers. We can ALL call our state congressmen and women without even leaving the comfort of our breakroom (where most of us are reading this little rant on a phone).
This is not a perfect solution, but it is the perfect beginning to a finding a solution.
So here’s what you can do, right now, if you are SICK of the deadlock and EMBARRASSED by the ineptitude of our current government.:
Call or email your STATE congressman or woman with the following request:
“I would like to see a 28th amendment to the constitution be proposed, using an amendments convention, which will limit the number of terms a Federal congressman or woman can serve. Also, I feel it is important to remove any monetary reimbursement beyond a reasonable salary paid during time in office. Other benefits such as health insurance and pension should come from their own private employment and not the taxpayers. I do not want anymore ‘career’ Senators or Representatives.
I believe that the position should be citizen serving, not self serving.”
This is action we can take. This is action we MUST take. Do not let this moment be another italicized caption on the side of a page in the history books.
We need a bold, new, chapter.
By: Lindsay DeFrates