THE DEMOCRACY AMENDMENTS
- Should the U.S. Constitution be amended to make changes to the process by which we select our elected leaders and to give our representatives more incentive to properly represent us?
Answer: Yes. Voters are upset! Americans of all ideologies have lost confidence in our election process, and Congress’ and the federal government’s ability to properly serve its citizens. We founded our country over this very issue of improper representation.
- Why did you write The Democracy Amendments?
Answer: Most other proposals are too narrowly focused to correct the multiple problems that exist.
- Couldn’t Congress enact many of these proposals by passing new laws?
Answer: Yes, and the best opportunity to do so, began with commencement of the 117th session of Congress on January 3rd, 2021 when the For the People Act was introduced in the House as HR1 and in the Senate as S1. If passed and signed into law by the President, it would be a huge step forward, though not perfect. But legislation to reform and strengthen the way we structure and finance our political system that is comprehensive enough to provide real equality for all American citizens in the way we elect our political leaders and that delivers equality of representation for the public interests of all Americans hasn’t happened for the 40+ years I’ve been watching, and that’s for good reason. It’s not in Congress’ interest to reform our political process to give all citizens more choice and control over how our political process serves us. Members of Congress and their benefactors, and their political party benefit from prioritizing their interests above ours.
- Couldn’t citizens get Congress to propose such a comprehensive 28th Amendment to our U.S. Constitution and send it to the states for ratification?
Answer: Not likely. Again, it’s not in Congress’ interest. If they do anything, they’d most likely propose certain less critical changes that, if enacted, would benefit their interests, but not our broad citizen interests. Doing so would allow them to say: okay, we’ve now dealt with that. Let’s move on, thus putting off real reform efforts for perhaps another decade or two.
- Why did our founding fathers provide a second way to amend the U.S. Constitution when Congress won’t?
Answer: Because they were convinced that some day, if Congress was the problem, and it was collectively acting to prioritize its interests above the interests of all American citizens, Congress would never act to properly reform itself.
- If the institution of Congress is corrupted, does that mean each of our Senators and Representatives are also corrupt?
Answer: No. With few exceptions, we elect good people to go to Washington to represent us. But once there, they exist within a political system that provides them with strong incentive to prioritize the interests of others above our own. It’s a system problem.
- If Congress won’t act, how is it possible for we citizens to amend our Constitution?
Answer: Our Founding Fathers provided a second way, in Article V of the U.S. Constitution, for us to act when Congress won’t. Through our state legislatures, we citizens can initiate a constitutional convention to propose needed amendments that will go into effect once ratified by 38 states.
- Aren’t there risks in convening an Article V convention?
Answer: Sure, there are both risks and rewards. We must weigh the risks against the rewards we all receive from correcting our broken political system.
- Wouldn’t overturning Citizens United and chasing the “big money” out of politics solve the problem?
Answer: No. Although the Citizens United decision allowed even more money from wealthy sources to influence political outcomes, the problems addressed by The Democracy Amendments have existed for decades, long before the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in 2010 made these problems even worse.
- How would senators, representatives, political parties, and broadcasters view enacting The Democracy Amendments?
Answer: Many/most will resist it. It’s not in their interest to have The Democracy Amendments enacted. The present system benefits them and their interests, but not ours. But it’s very much is in our citizen interests to enact them. Whose interests should our political system benefit, their narrower interests, or our broad interests?
- What can I do as just one individual?
Answer: Plenty. Don’t wait for others. Here are some suggestions.
- Press your political representatives to fix the entire problem, not just a part.
- Press for state legislatures to call for a constitutional convention to propose The Democracy Amendments, or something similarly broad.
- Question why organizations you belong to are trying to get Congress to fix the problem when it’s not in Congress’ interest to fix a process that currently benefits them.
- Press your advocacy organizations to instead work with state legislatures to call for a constitutional convention where much broader constitutional repair is likely.
- Call out organizations you belong to that are trying to fix only a part of the problem, i.e. “big money,” without more broadly fixing the underlying problem of improper representation.
- Find and support organizations advocating to broadly fix the problem.
- Withdraw, or threaten to withdraw, your support from organizations focusing only on a piece or two of the problem.
- Reach out to others with different ideological views. Work to identify solutions that serve interests you have in common.