First the good.
The other day I received an email from my son forwarding a call to support an amendment to the federal constitution.
The trail of that email showed that it had been sent to dozens of people, and the message itself contained a plea to forward it to twenty friends.
Being an ardent supporter of an Article V amendatory convention, I was delighted to see that kind of grass roots support for a constitutional amendment. It shows that people are starting to realize that we can’t fix the mess in Washington merely by throwing the bums out; we have to fix the system.
Now the bad news.
The email proposed what it called the 28th Amendment. Here is the text:
"Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States."
I can understand what the drafters of those words are trying to do. They see a Congress which has conferred lavish benefits on its members while, at the same time, enacting dubious entitlements for their constituents.
They see a Congress which has enacted a pension system for themselves which kicks in after only one two year term in office and lasts a lifetime.
They see a Congress which exempts its members from taxes imposed on everyone else, and they don’t like it.
So someone – the email does not tell us who – has composed the text of a 28th amendment, and sent it out on the Internet. It has a nice, punitive ring to it. That’ll fix ‘em. Make them subject themselves to Obamacare and see how they like it.
Problem is, we’re talking about a constitution here, folks. This isn’t the by-laws of a homeowners association. The language of a constitution has to be precise. It has to withstand the test of time and the challenges that very smart lawyers will present to very smart judges.
Did the drafter of the amendment really intend to stipulate that every American citizen would receive a salary equal to that of a Congressman?
Did they really intend that every citizen should have a staff and an office in Washington, D.C. and another one in their home state?
I don’t think so. But that is what their amendment would require.
Constitution writing is serious business. It should command the best brains, the most experience, and the steadiest hands and hearts.
We need constitutional reform in this country, and we need it badly. But it will not come without a groundswell of support from the Atlantic to the Pacific and beyond.
It will not come until the American people realize that there are no quick and easy fixes, no one shot, one time, one amendment band aid that we can rally around and force on the Washington establishment.
No, my friends, we need an Article V convention. We need to call together the best of the best, get the best ideas on the table and do the best job of drafting, so that our generation can say that we deserve a place in history along side of Mr. Washington, Mr. Madison and Mr. Hamilton.
Take a look at www.FOAVC.org. There you will see what I am talking about.