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Proposing Constitutional Amendments

Warning! This is going to be a long read on a couple of serious topics, but there are areas that you can skip over, so stick around and read what I think the majority of Americans are saying, or don't. I leave it to you.

When I started into computer programming, I encountered an axiom that I will paraphrase here: "Whenever you try to build a smarter mousetrap, Nature will try to create a smarter mouse." Nowadays, a similar statement might come out as "Artificial intelligence is no match for real stupidity."

"Though his mind is not for rent, don't put him down as arrogant. His reserve, a quiet defense riding out the day's events."

The Framers of the Constitution were intelligent men; of that, there is no doubt in my mind. Everything that they created went against ALL of the political thought of that time. They created this nation out of whole cloth and, for all of its petty foibles and eccentricities, it has withstood the test of time. But they also knew that they couldn't anticipate everything, so they left us a mechanism to update our core governing document to address those areas that they couldn't foresee.

Now I don't want to get off on a rant here but constitutional amendments are not something to be proposed on a whim based on the vagaries of public opinion. In point of fact, the single amendment that was so ratified (the 18th Amendment) was later repealed (the 21st Amendment). However, there appears to be enough popular support for an attempt, at a minimum, to propose two constitutional amendments: one to revise the Electoral College, and one to set term limits for Congress members.

"No, his mind is not for rent to any god or government. Always hopeful, yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent, but change is."

Regarding the modification of the Electoral College, as I've outlined before, 48 of our 50 states currently subscribe to a "winner-take-all" method of electoral vote distribution where the presidential candidate who secures the largest count of votes within a state is awarded ALL of that state's electoral votes. This method disenfranchises that portion of a state's population whose political ideals may run contrary to those of the majority. Here in Texas, that means that anyone who does not vote Republican can, as my Gunny used to say, "go pack sand." Unfortunately, under the current terms of Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution, individual state legislatures have the sovereignty to determine for themselves the distribution of their electoral votes as they see fit. As a result, unless a majority of the states suddenly decide to address the disenfranchisement of the minority of their citizens within their own legislatures, this topic becomes a redundant one.

On the subject of Congressional officer term limits, it seems to me that the arguments advocating the introduction of presidential term limits that led to the 22nd Amendment seems to serve here just as well as they did in 1947, primarily concerns regarding the potential issue surrounding congressional officers serving an unlimited number of terms. There are probably additional, lesser-known concerns but it seems to me that the longer a congressional officer has served, the farther they are removed from the actual needs of their constituency. Of course, since I have never served in a political office, I can only presume this based on external observations.

So, I offer the following text as two Constitutional Amendments in language that has been adapted from existing or previous legislation.

Modification of the Electoral College: states are to present electors that are representative of each congressional district within their state.

"Section 1. Each State shall appoint a number of electors equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which that State may be entitled in Congress; but no Senator or Representative, or person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

"Section 2. One presidential Elector shall be chosen from each of that State's congressional districts, plus two at large.

"Section 3. The presidential Electors at large shall cast their ballots for the presidential and vice-presidential candidate who received the largest count of votes within their State. The presidential Electors of each congressional district shall cast their ballots for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates who received the largest count of votes within their respective congressional districts. 

"Section 4. This Article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-quarters of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by Congress."

Congressional Officer Term Limits: two terms for Senators and five terms for Representatives.

"Section 1. No person shall be elected to the office of Senator more than twice, consecutively or non-consecutively, and no person who has held the office of Senator, or acted as Senator for more than three years of a term to which another was elected Senator, shall be elected to the office of Senator more than once; but this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of Senator, or acting as Senator during the term which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of Senator, or acting as Senator, during the remainder of such term.

"Section 2. No person shall be elected to the office of Representative more than twice, consecutively or non-consecutively, and no person who has held the office of Representative, or acted as Representative for more than one year of a term to which another was elected Representative, shall be elected to the office of Representative more than once; but this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of Representative, or acting as Representative when this Article was submitted to the States by Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of Representative, or acting as Representative during the remainder of such term.

"Section 3. This Article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by Congress."

"What you say about his company is what you say about society."

Now, if by some freak chance you are reading this article and know someone who is a member of Congress, or are, in fact, a member of Congress, I'd like to address you directly. If you have the stones to stand up for what many Americans are convinced is actually "the will of the people" (and not just to the political parties to which you are beholden), I invite you to propose either or both of these amendments to Congress during the current legislative session. I realize that neither of these issues is likely to be of any interest to you personally, or would be of any interest to your colleagues in Congress, but they are frequent topics of discussion among my friends and colleagues across the political spectrum. 

Personally, I anticipate that you believe your time and efforts are better spent on issues of a less incendiary nature, but I also think it unwise to pursue any course of action on these issues without at least attempting to broach them using the standard protocols. I also believe that these proposals tread a centrist path that ameliorates any extreme position on these issues. Neither of them advocate or provide any advantage to any single group EXCEPT to the people of the United States.

"The world is, the world is, love and life are deep, maybe as his eyes are wide."

Now, for anyone else who might be puzzled as to I would provide this text to anyone and everyone who wants it, I'll give two reasons. First, I think that they deserve to be heard and acted upon, and second, I really don't care who gets credit for proposing these amendments. They are, in my opinion, the best ideas for the whole of the United States and the American people.

I apologize for the length of this article, but thanks for reading it and feel free to pass it along to anyone that you think might also derive some benefit from it.

 

Committee to Elect Darren Hamilton
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