Did I get your attention? Today I want to talk about things changing over time—specifically the need for the Constitution to be amended to fit the reality of life today versus when it was written in 1787.
Shortly after the signing of the Constitution, the first census of the United States counted 3,929,214 citizens. These individuals traveled by horse & buggy (if they could afford it). They communicated by snail mail (if they were literate). On average, they lived to the (not yet ripe) age of 36. People owned other people as property. Suffice it to say that life was different back then. The Constitution was an elegant document that fit those times.
As of the 2018 census, the United States is now home to 328.16 million citizens. We travel by jet (or high-speed tunnel train if Elon Musk succeeds). The internet, for better or worse, allows us to access any information in an instant. We can expect to live to 78 years old on average. Life is very different now and we need a Constitution suited to these times.
The idea of amending constitutions at regular intervals dates back to Thomas Jefferson. In a famous letter, he wrote that we should “provide in our constitution for its revision at stated periods.” “[E]ach generation” should have the “solemn opportunity” to update the constitution “every nineteen or twenty years,” thus allowing it to “be handed on, with periodical repairs, from generation to generation, to the end of time.”
I feel strongly that it’s time to make significant changes to the Constitution. The Electoral College is obsolete. In too many cases, a person’s vote isn’t meaningful. A simple thing would be to go to a popular vote or possibly break up the electoral votes proportionately by the number of people voting for a candidate. That way, every vote would count. You can play with the numbers, but here is my concept:
Winner of 75% of the electoral votes gets all electoral votes. 70% of the popular vote gets 90% of the electoral votes. And so on:
- 65% of the electoral votes get 80%
- 60% of the electoral votes get 70%
- Etc. etc.
The idea that a Supreme Court Justice can sit on the Court for half a century is ludicrous. Supreme Court Justices should serve 15-20 years and be out. If a Supreme Court Justice seat becomes available, the person who is president at the time the Justice joined the Court should get to nominate a new Justice, even if (s)he is not in office. We need to avoid the types of games played when a vacancy came up during Obama’s administration.
Presidents should serve one six-year term and be gone. They should not be campaigning while in office and should focus on making the country a better place for all its citizens.
Senators should serve two terms and be gone. Members of the House of Representatives should serve three four-year terms and also be gone.
Presidential pardons should have to be approved by both houses. If the houses are controlled by the same party, the opposition party leader in the Senate has to approve.
You don’t have to do the changes my way, but it’s important that these things get dealt with soon. It’s important that the system works for all people and not just the wealthy.