July 23, 2011
Our country is like a house that needs some serious repairs. Of course, what we really need is a national day of repentance, but then you’d first have to convince everybody that we do things that need to be repented of; and we’re probably not ready for that yet.
Meanwhile, here we offer a few quick fixes—the equivalent of installing new windows, or patching a hole in the roof—that just might keep us going until we come to our senses and repent. Some will require Constitutional amendments; but even that will be easier than admitting we’ve been wrong about a lot of major things and getting the whole mess turned around.
First, members of the House of Representatives are to be chosen by a lottery held in each Congressional district. No more Congressional elections—make service in the House like jury duty. If your name comes up, off you go to Capitol Hill for two years.
This innovation would preserve our republican form of government, save billions of dollars in campaign costs every two years, and ensure that the House actually represents the American people rather than well-heeled special interests. It will get rid of uncrowned kings like Barney Frank. Hey, you can’t get more representative than choosing the members by a lottery! And to those who worry that the quality of our representation will go down—phooey! How much worse can we do than to elect members who ram through 2,000-page bills without reading them, and think the island of Guam might tip over if we station any more Marines on it? (No exaggeration—see this link.)
Second, repeal the 17th Amendment which made U.S. Senators elected by popular vote. Go back to the old way, under which senators were chosen by their home state legislatures as representatives of those states. Since the amendment, senators have become Congressmen-at-large representing nationwide special interests such as unions. The only connection they retain with their home states is to line up hugely expensive pork-barrel projects—and that’s hardly a service to the country, is it?
It would also be a good idea to require one senator from each party, chosen by lot, to retire at the end of each Congress. That would rid us of some of the living fossils on the Hill.
Third, for every new law Congress passes, require them to repeal an old one. Think of it as legislative clutter control. At first they’ll duck the hard choices by eliminating archaic, innocuous, irrelevant laws that should have been cleared off the books years ago. But eventually they’ll run out of buggy-whip safety laws and have to start repealing some that still stink up our lives. If they want to keep on making new laws, someday they’ll have to get around to repealing ObamaCare.
Fourth, for every dollar Congress spends, require them to cut a dollar somewhere else. This would soon do away with such costly inanities as federally-funded cowboy poetry contests and studies of the sex lives of aardvarks. It will also guarantee that the federal budget doesn’t grow anymore. Imagine how delightful it will be to watch them trying to choose between funding the president’s travel and entertainment budget and keeping the Department of Education running.
Fifth, international treaties of any kind must be approved by both houses of Congress, not just the Senate. For as long as the United Nations continues to exist—which is to say, for as long as the United States keeps funding it—we really have to make it harder for our pap-brained leaders to entangle us in treaties. We don’t want the UN coming in and telling us that kids can sue their parents for not buying them new cell phones. And we have to make it impossible for our leaders to rope us into any treaty involving the imaginary threat of Global Warming.
Sixth, require federal judges and Supreme Court justices, all members of Congress, the president, and all heads of executive departments of the government, to copy out the Constitution word by word. By “copy” we mean by hand, on paper. This is to be a continuous activity which must be completed at least once a year throughout the individual’s term of office.
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For one thing, this ought to cure the massive ignorance of the Constitution so flagrantly displayed by so many of our judges and officials. It will also consume some of the time they currently devote to plotting mischief. The idea, by the way, is inspired by the Bible. When the children of Israel decide to have a king, the Lord instructed Moses, the king “when he sitteth upon the throne… shall write him a copy of this law [the Bible]… and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them…” (Deuteronomy 17:18-20)
The United States Constitution is by no means on a par with the Pentateuch, but too many people would complain if we required our leaders to show respect to God’s laws. So for the time being, let’s see if we can get them to respect man’s. That would be a step in the right direction.
There you have it—six field dressings for our badly wounded nation. That the wounds are self-inflicted is something that will have to be discussed another time.
� 2011 Lee Duigon - All Rights Reserved
Lee Duigon, a contributing editor with the Chalcedon Foundation, is a former newspaper reporter and editor, small businessman, teacher, and horror novelist. He has been married to his wife, Patricia, for 34 years. See his new fantasy/adventure novels, Bell Mountain and The Cellar Beneath the Cellar, available on www.amazon.com