As the health care reform debate rages on, with false charges and counter-charges being hurled across the political aisle, one has to wonder if anyone still remembers the force behind the most magnificent and dynamic governing document ever written by humans: the US Constitution. No other document has so inspired the cause of liberty, freedom, and organized representative government as this living document. And at the core of its dynamic longevity is the ability to amend it as the passage of time and the changes of history demand, as contained in Article 5.
The US Constitution was adopted in 1787, but the first ten amendments, known collectively as the Bill of Rights, were not adopted until four years later in 1791. Since then, a total of twenty-seven amendments have been adopted, the last occurring as late as 1992. Interestingly, amendment #27 was proposed as a part of the Bill of Rights in 1789, but did not finally get ratified and adopted until 1992 for a total of 74003 days from proposal to adoption.
An example of a another long-languishing proposed constitutional amendment is the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Originally proposed in 1923, it has stalled with 35 of the necessary 38 states’ approval since the 1970’s. This simple amendment, which simply states “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex”, is just too radical for some, it seems.
It’s hard to understand how such a straightforward and totally fair amendment can go 86 years without achieving adoption in a nation that claims it stands for “liberty and justice for all” in its national anthem, but then, this is America, where people can find a way to put a human on the moon while concurrently spending huge amounts of money on a useless war in Southeast Asia when that money could have been better spent finding a cure for cancer.
In that light, there are many possible proposed amendments that would change all that if adopted. The following are just a sample:
A. Truth in Elected Representation Amendment: No elected official can knowingly speak or write falsehoods to any US constituents about any proposed or passed legislation, or about any elected official of the US, or state, or local governments, without first prefacing his/her remarks as a “practice audition” for “Saturday Night Live”, “The Daily Show”, or any future replacement thereof. Those elected officials that are proved by a special investigation to have passed on lies without the aforementioned preface will be forced to walk from Washington DC to New York City along the median of Interstate 95 (I-95) in daylight, backwards, naked.
B. Minimum KSA (Intellect) Requirement of candidates for Elected Office: No person seeking elected office in the US or any state or town can be sworn in as an elected official until and unless this person has passed a comprehensive minimum knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA) exam. In this exam, the candidate must be able to demonstrate KSAs in the following areas: basic math (e.g, does two plus two ever equal three? If so, when and how?), general governmental knowledge (e.g, where does tax money REALLY come from?), and current affairs (e.g., who in congress is currently having an affair?). If the candidate cannot pass this exam, he/she cannot be sworn into office. In this event, his/her opponent will take office after passing the exam. However, if this candidate also fails the exam, another election will be conducted for a total of three elections. If, at this point, no candidate can pass the exam, the geographical locale being represented by these candidates will annexed by the closest state or town and populated by farm animals.
C. “Rescue the Taxpayers” Amendment (also known as “Hedge Your Bets” Amendment and/or “Get a Grip” Amendment): No bill, duly passed by the congress and signed into law by the president, can be implemented or put into effect unless it contains the following written provision in full: This law will be evaluated for process, effectiveness, efficiency, cost/benefit, accomplishment of intended goals, waste, fraud and abuse on a continuing basis, with minimum evaluations accomplished in the following time frames after passage: three months, six months, one year, three years and every alternate year thereafter, for the life of the law. If at any point, the law is determined to be off-process, ineffective, inefficient, without benefit for cost, not accomplishing its intended goals, wasteful, fraudulent, or abusive, it will be summarily voided out of existence. If it is further determined that the original authors of the law in question knew in advance that any of the aforementioned characteristics were inherent when they wrote it, they will be forced to direct traffic at the busiest traffic intersection in Washington DC during rush hour in a rainstorm, for one hundred rainstorms, backwards, naked.
These proposed constitutional amendments, if adopted, would certainly streamline our governmental processes and probably save enough taxpayer money to fund 100% health care for all, develop a cure for both cancer and terminal stupidity, eliminate our income tax, and pay off the national debt. They would also make the USA the most effective organization in the history of the planet.
But alas, this stuff is just fantasy borne of a slow news week. It just ain’t gonna happen…
After all, we can’t even adopt the ERA for equal justice for all under the law. Right?