“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” – Thomas Jefferson
1. The Left and the Right Define the Box Within We Are Trapped!
We must break out of the tyranny defined by the ideologies of left and right in our country to chart a new course for our People, communities and country for the next 250 years. We must do this whilst recognizing our leadership role in the world and reinvigorating the Jeffersonian ideals on which our country was founded.
“Experience hath (shown), that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson
“Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.” – Alexis de Tocqueville
2. Constitutional reform now!
Convene a constitutional convention: we must dare to re-imagine the republican foundations of our Federal and State governments and the relationship between the national and local interests of the People whilst always protecting the Bill of Rights (including the 2nd Amendment). States should follow the lead of the Federal government in re-imagining our governments from top-to-bottom.
3. Cherish the statesman. Forsake the political animal!
Two (2) representatives from each state/commonwealth in the union shall comprise the constitutional convention membership. Governors should appoint the ‘best and the brightest’ using their conscience, not their interest. Party affiliation is irrelevant. Ideology is irrelevant. Race, sex and creed are irrelevant.
“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” – Alexis de Tocqueville
4. A Republic, not a Democracy!
Halve the size of our political leadership in Federal and State government: one (1) senator from each state means fifty (50) senators; one (1) representative per 150,000 People means two hundred seventeen (217) congressional representatives. Representation in State governments should be similarly downsized, where appropriate.
5. End 365/24/7 Political Campaigns!
Extend the terms of elected representatives: four (4) year terms for representatives (four term limits); eight (8) year term for senators (two term limits); and, six (6) year term for the president/governors (two term limits). This will alleviate the need for constant campaigning/fundraising and allow our representatives to lead rather than follow.
6. End Gerrymandering
Representative districts should be convex in shape, defined by clear geographical and physical boundaries (natural and man-made) rather than gerrymandered to incorporate specific demographic populations to give advantage to one party over another at election time. There is nothing wrong with a diverse electorate and our leaders will be better for representing multiple points of view.
7. Referendum Prohibition
Establish an explicit constitutional prohibition against political referendum at the Federal and State level. Popular vote referendums lead to governmental anarchy and paralysis. California has been destroyed by the democracy of referendums, and Florida and other states are foolishly following close behind on this well-traveled path to destruction.
“Democracy leads to anarchy, which is mob rule.” – Plato
“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the People may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” – Thomas Jefferson
8. Prune the Overgrown Branches of Federalism!
Eliminate and/or consolidate the expansion of Executive Power. This means de-evolving ‘health and human’ services closer to the People served at the State level (education, housing, health) and the Federal government focusing on its core responsibilities to the People: war and peace, law and order, national defense and international commerce and relations.
“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the People under the pretense of taking care of them.” – Thomas Jefferson
9. Half the Size of the Federal Government!
Eliminate and/or consolidate more than 1,000 Federal agencies, many of them obsolete or redundant. Merge agencies with overlapping missions, de-evolve others to the State level, and eradicate those that are obsolete or irrelevant.
“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.” – Thomas Jefferson
10. Not Isolationism but Consolidate-ism!
Consolidate our forward assets/presence abroad by realigning to a core mission serving our strategic interests rather than the expansive application of military and economic power in all geographical spheres of the world. Reduce our military footprint in Europe (defend yourselves!). The Monroe Doctrine should take precedent: protecting and strengthening our sphere of influence and partnerships in the Americas.
11. Rationalize the Disposition of Our Military
Re-deploy our military bases (at home and aboard) to better serve our strategic interests rather than to serve the political and economy interests of a specific community or politicians.
12. Expand National Service
Require a minimum three (3) year period of service for all citizens between the ages of 18-21 in the US military, or alternatively in the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps. No exceptions.
13. Trust Bust “Too Big to Fail” Corporations
Corporations that are “too big to fail” are 21st century representations of anti-trust monopolies. These corporations should be regulated and, where necessary, broken apart in order to facilitate market competition. No private business should be eligible for a government protection ever. Innovate and compete or perish! Government protection perverts market dynamics.
14. Reform the Market
Ban quarterly reporting of return on profits, institute annual reporting within the context of 5-10 year business plan models. Short-term, tunnel vision obsession with profit (otherwise known as greed) perverts our markets. Regulate predatory lending and usury exploitation of consumers by banks. Further reform of bankruptcy laws to protect consumers (see #16 below regarding expanding credit).
15. State-by-State Universal Health Care
Establish a single payer, public health insurance program in each state (or regional plans amalgamating states for less populous regions of the union) and allow for cross-border competition of these public insurance plans. Adopt tort-reform to limit awards for malpractice lawsuits. Allow public-private partnerships (“pubvates”) between states and private insurance companies to meet the need for health care insurance.
16. Reform Social Security
Instigate social security reform to allow: 1) investment by Social Security Trust in low-interest yielding government bonds to facilitate expanded investment in our infrastructure; and, 2) private accounts (maximum: 50% of personal contributions) for citizens to invest in market at their own discretion (within certain limits to avoid excessive risk-taking). Allow personal contributions above minimums prescribed by law. Increased availability of monies in the market will provide a safety net for credit markets without perverting market dynamics. Increase the retirement age to more accurate reflect average lifespans in today’s world.
17. Decriminalize Human Vice
Constitutionally decriminalize, regulate and tax human vices such as gambling, narcotics and prostitution. Instead of spending billions of dollars to fight human nature in mock ‘wars’, allow individual choice on vice and generate billions to regulate and monitor such vices. Reserve the power to regulate, monitor and collect taxes for the states (a Federal top-off of the tax rate should be allowed). Lower the minimum drinking age to 18 years old (if you can vote, you can drink).
18. Cherish Innocent Life!
Adopt constitutional ban on abortion except for cases of protecting the life of the mother. Instigate adoption reform so it takes a maximum of twelve (12) month to adopt a child in this country. Allow single parent and homosexual partners to adopt abandoned children. Adopt more stringent guidelines for the application of the death penalty. The death penalty should be reserved for the “monsters of our nightmares”.
“Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.” – Alexis de Tocqueville
19. Constitutional Reserve of Powers
Further clarify the application of Federal power between the three co-equal branches of governments: legislative branch legislates; executive branch implements; and, judicial interprets. Limit some expansions of executive power (presidential decrees), limit legislative usurping of executive powers, and retard legislative branch forfeiting of power to the judicial branch.
20. Reform Libel Laws
Freedom of speech must be maintained but injured parties must have recourse to seek relief from the legal system for perversion of the truth, especially by those in the media. Freedom of speech is irrelevant when the truth has been destroyed.
“Educate and inform the whole mass of the People… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article was originally posted on the Metro Jacksonville online magazine discussion forum on January 20, 2010. It generated 0 comments, arguments, or discussion. I can only assume it was because either: 1) it was thought to be basic common sense; 2) so radical as to not warrant additional comment; or, 3) everyone just wants to argue and no one is really interested in solutions. I’m not sure. You decide. Mark David Major