Posted 5 years ago on Jan. 25, 2013, 12:04 p.m. EST by DSamms
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
Proposal for Direct Action
The following proposal is written as an argumentative brief. It should be read in its entirety, if it's to make any sense.
Boiled down it asks American citizens to make a yes or no decision based on what you think, and what you want to happen next. The question is:
Either support the twin-party political status quo and thus consent to all the bad acts you claim to hate and detest...
Reject their hate and war and poverty by voting to withdraw your consent to be governed under the Constitution in the next general election.
From a Constitutional perspective, we are experiencing a breakdown in representation, in trust, at the most basic level of governance -- our elected representatives no longer represent the voters whom elect them to office. However, whoever they do represent is not as important as the simple fact that they do not represent the vast majority of Americans who cannot afford large campaign donations and lobbyists.
This issue is fundamental to Constitutional self-governance which, according to the Declaration of Independence, is based solely on the principle that our government derives its "just powers from the consent of the governed".
The democratic aspect of our little constitutional republic is limited to popularly electing Representatives and Senators to Congress and electors in the Presidential election, as well as serving on juries (and grand juries) in criminal and civil matters. Notwithstanding the First Amendment's articulation of "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances", there is no other Constitutional means to assert democratic (that is to say direct citizen) control over our government.
The Constitution does not confer rights upon citizens, rather it merely articulates some of our inherent rights as contrasted with the limited powers, duties and responsibilities we delegate to the government it describes. Or, in other words, the Constitution is a formal agreement, a social contract, between Americans individually and collectively, about how we govern ourselves. As such, local elections serve to elect local and state citizens to Constitutionally described offices whom then constitute the actual and functional "government" which presides over our (we the people's) business.
Thus, each election not only constitutes a "new" government, but also conveys our consent, individually and collectively, to be governed under the Constitution by that government. Individually, voting for a candidate in an election conveys your consent to be governed by any candidate elected to office and, collectively, our consent legitimates the new government regardless of whom is elected.
But there can be no meaningful consent absent an equal ability to withhold our consent, to dissent... To say no, we do not agree.
If consent to be governed under the Constitution is implied, both individually and collectively, by voting for a candidate in an election for office, it follows that any American withholding their consent must do so explicitly in an election, insofar as voting is the only Constitutional means of determining the people's intent and will both individually and collectively. Moreover, it also follows that any American withholding their consent implicitly casts a vote against all candidates for office.
Individually this is political dissent in the only poll that counts -- our ballot box. Collectively it becomes American democracy -- an expression of our free will and political intent.
And its practical effect?
All Representatives are elected locally, in Congressional districts, and the entire House of Representatives stands for election every two years. By withdrawing our consent in a general election, a plurality of Americans can present a lame-duck Congress with an undeniable Constitutional crisis, if we keep the next House of Representatives from seating a quorum come January.
If the House cannot seat a quorum, Congress cannot conduct business. If Congress cannot conduct business, the US government will shut down.
Although there is no precedent, a Constitutionally logical course of action is that Congress immediately call an Article V convention. Thus, perhaps this ought be the direct Constitutional object of our dissent in a general election -- calling an Article V convention to propose amendments to the Constitution.
As far as linking our dissent at the polls with calling an Article V convention, what else can we do Constitutionally speaking? This is not a rhetorical question. Although shutting down the government in the short-term may be necessary, it does little to actually solve our problems in the long run.
An Article V convention is our means of amending the Constitution that neither Congress, Court or President can control or stop. Any amendment proposed by the convention must be ratified by a majority of voters in thirty-seven (3/4s) states. Because we elect all delegates to the convention and must ratify any amendment the convention proposes before it becomes Constitutional law, we democratically control the process.
This is our Constitutional, democratic and peaceful means of throwing off a corrupt political order, getting money out of politics, and ending this twin-party farce. The Democratic and Republican parties are run for and by the corporate and financial elite. Needless to say, this scares the hell out of them.
Their arguments against an Article V convention all boil down to its independence from government control and power to propose any amendment to the Constitution. But that is exactly what is required to get the job done -- independence and power -- and why Congress will never call one unless compelled to do so...
In Walker v. Congress, the Supreme Court held that Congress' continuing refusal to call an Article V convention was a political question and refused to rule, even though plaintiffs proved sufficient state applications requesting an Article V convention had been tendered and that Article V's plain language, "shall call", left no doubt that Congress refuses to fulfill its Constitutional duty.
Constitutionally, the only democratic way to compel politicians is in the voting booth, and the Supreme Court ruled this a political question...
We are the governed. All legitimate governance arises from our consent to be governed. We have the power to say no under our Constitution, to withdraw our consent to be governed by a corrupt political order.
If not, government of the people, for the people and by the people no longer exists, if ever it did. The republic has fallen and our Constitution is myth. We have no rights or liberty, only privileges easily revoked and votes worth nothing... Nothing beyond that which money can buy.
I cannot tell if Mitt would be better or worse than Obama. The significant policies would not change. That's what matters. Control of policy. And, no matter who you voted for, you didn't throw your vote away. It was counted. I voted for Jill. But there were no "good" choices in my congressional races.
A Georgetown U. professor called this the coin theory -- that the parties should be as alike as two sides of the same coin, so the people could throw the rascals out in any election, with the other party, without effecting or changing policy. That control of policy and political stability are the most prized elite possessions.
Yes, withdraw your consent to be governed by those who corrupt our government and economic system. Call an Article V convention. Publicly debate amendment proposals in the run-up to the election. Make twin party candidates compete with Constitutional philosophy and ideas. The cream will rise to the top -- proposals and proposers and debaters.
Ignite public imagination. Frame the issues, ask the question and let people educate themselves. Trust democracy. That's what everyone wants, isn't it? Direct democracy? A choice? This is it. Make it viral.
After the election, if we we prevail, we elect local delegates, our candidates -- debaters and proposers, in existing congressional districts, same as any general election, to the convention. They debate and propose amendments in public convention. Any amendments they propose must be ratified by popular vote in 3/4s of the states. Constitutional democracy in action. It's not perfect, but its possible. And its Constitutional, not anarchy.
Ask yourself this question:
As an American citizen, make a yes or no decision based on what you think, and what you want to happen next. The question is:
Either I support the twin-party political status quo and thus consent to all their bad acts I claim to hate and detest...
I Reject their hate and war and poverty by voting to withdraw my consent to be governed under the Constitution in the next general election.
Perhaps we can all agree, the people ought decide this question in the voting booth.