kestrel

kestrel
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2022-01-21 15:34:22 (UTC)

Prompt 148: Writing the US Constitution

148. You've been transported back in time to the drafting of the U.S. Constitution. What advice would you have to give the drafters? Would they listen to you? Why or why not?
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Easily the most terrible strike against the authors of the USA Constitution is the inclusion of slavery as a legitimate practice. The fact this country was built on racism, colonization, and imperialism is the explanation, but it can never be excused. Although the technology to brutalize and oppress wasn't as prevalent as it is today, the attitude that, "white folks are better" has lasted all this time. There's no excuse for this except for the fact that it was written and set as the law when the US was created.

Would all those landholders have considered anything remotely different? It's doubtful. It was a cultural push left over from Europe's colonialist surge into Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas. They were just acting on what they knew as a "successful" strategy to gaining more territory and economic power.

I imagine drafting the formative document(s) for any brand spankin' new nation would be a daunting task. It would be easier today, as we have plenty of examples and history - beyond feudal Europe and the Classical Greek era. I mean, the US established its independence from Britain even before the French Revolution, so most of the concept of liberal democracy wasn't even around when Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were doing their heavy lifting.

I kind of leapt on the racist origins of the US. Would that be all that I'd change at the outset? Maybe I'd consider a modification of the electoral college, and also implement some form of absolute runoff voting. For example, each legal adult votes. The voter allocates 3 points to the candidate they want to win, followed by 2 points to their second choice, and 1 point to their third.

I also saw a method of vote-amplification (for lack of a better term) by providing each voter with 100 points. For the candidate they like the most, they can increase the votes for that candidate by adding more of their points to that candidate. For example, 1 vote costs 1 point. Then two votes for a single candidate costs 15 points. Three votes for a candidate costs 45 points, and finally four votes costs 100 points. If you liked more than a single candidate, you could split your points between them and hypothetically provide each with three votes. You'd even have 10 points left over for a third candidate, or you could leave your non-allocated points unused. It was something like that.

Anyhow, the electoral college was an inelegant, short-sighted solution to their "equal representation" dilemma. We've seen this in recent years with the Republican method of electoral college abuse.

I don't think I'd want to be rid of the 2nd Amendment. However, I think it would be of utmost importance to include wording that requires that the strictest interpretations of the Constitution and its Amendments be adhered to. As time has gone on, lawyers have been able to pry apart the protections afforded by the Constitution so that loopholes abound for the elite and abuses are now permitted by law.

The founders were also hung up on Property as a personal concept. This isn't on its face a terrible thing, but as time has passed its weakness has been made more obvious. More power should have been removed from the States. By obligating the Federal government to more assertively safeguard the Commons, this does not mean that individual liberty is ignored. However, it does mean that things like Federal sovereignty in matters of national defense and public health are prioritized over State's rights. Personally, I feel the sting of the elites exploiting State's rights to prevent the elimination of COVID as a case against State's rights. Corporations used their lawyers to abuse this, and it worked. COVID didn't have to become endemic, but now it has, and just for the sake of corporate profits.

I'd also weaken the Executive branch, in particular with regards to Police powers. I think I mentioned in a previous entry how there needs to be some Federal investigative branch to oversee the abuse of Executive powers, like a Federal Ombudsman's Office, or Federal Office of Inspectors General. When there's no body independent of Executive and Judicial oversight, then no Internal Affairs office is impartial and then the branches of government they oversee are open to abuse.

...Sounds like I'd have a lot to advise the Founding Fathers of, after all. At this point however, it's easy to speculate but difficult to conclude who would be open to such considerations. They were mostly a bunch of greedy white guys out to escape from under the thumb of Great Britain. Beyond that, they were flying mostly blind, and were unable to see into the future and how their lofty ideals would later be abused and cause the dissolution of their country. They wouldn't have known their novel American Experiment would result in a near total failure.


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