Yesterday I talked about the Declaration of Independence. Since we are in the 4th of July weekend, I thought we could talk about the Constitution. The summer issue of the magazine for Williamsburg had an interesting article by Mitchell Reiss on “An Exercise in Revisionism.” He invited his readers to make suggestions on how they might amend this country’s founding document.
As you might expect, many of the respondents wrote about the Electoral College. One respondent, for example, felt that it “obliterated the principle of one person, one vote.” Yet, another argued that our republic has been well served by it and has been protected from the problems that surface in a pure democracy.
And while we are talking about elections, some wanted to repeal the 17thAmendment that gave the voters the power to elect senators. They wanted to return to the time when senators would be elected by state legislatures.
Although the government has ruled that the 14th Amendment declares that all persons born in the US are citizens, some wanted to modify the current policy. At the very least they argued that citizenship should not be awarded automatically.
A few suggested that it might be time to eliminate the requirement that the president be a natural-born citizen. The argument is that “a naturalized citizen is just as much a US citizen as one born in the US.”
Many wanted additional constraints put on our elected officials. They called for a balanced budget amendment that would force members of Congress to explain how they would fund all their campaign promises. And nearly one-quarter of all the respondents called for term limits. One respondent argued that, “Term limits would bring the representatives of the people back to focusing on the job at hand as opposed to a constant striving for re-election.”
Some of these ideas have merit, but sadly won’t be implemented any time soon.