How America May Become a Truly Good Example to the World
(Originally published in July 2006 -- This Edition 10-16-2015)
How will the government be reformed so that it is actually of the people, by the people, and for the people; so that it promotes the general welfare, uses the common wealth for the common good, and ensures domestic tranquility by establishing equal rights, equal opportunities, and real justice for all the people?
After all, partisan politics and the corrupt, divisive contest for the throne has proven to be a failure, and there are many articles in this message here on this site explaining how and why. For the fact is that President Franklin D. Roosevelt once saved America from the rich forces of greed and self-interest. He made America and its middle class great, and his New Deal ultimately produced widespread prosperity. But, as soon as enough Americans forgot the lessons of history those deceptive forces began taking back control of government, and during the last three decades their propaganda has nearly wiped out the great legacy of Roosevelt and his New Deal. That's why America is now more of a Plutocracy than a Democracy, and it is why Mammon rules.
So. This is to say that it is time to take the the words written by America's Founders to heart, because they not only provided a brilliant vision, amazing for its time. They provided us with a tool in Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution so that we can legally, peacefully and comprehensively alter and reform our government, which they knew we would need to do.
“Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men. Therefore the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity and happiness require.” -- John Adams, 1776
In 1776 Adams' thoughts about the most important things were resonant with Thomas Jefferson's, and Jefferson wrote the following in the original American Declaration of Independence:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness; that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." -- Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence, 1776
That is as true now as it was in 1776, and we, the people, should take it to heart because our government has steadily become destructive regarding our civil liberties, rights and opportunities, while enabling a small "upper" class of incredibly wealthy people to profit far beyond what is reasonable or fair, at our expense, at the expense of our nation, at the expense of the infrastructure, and at the expense of our earth environment.
Thomas Jefferson feared this would happen. In fact, he wrote: “The end of Democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.”
Jefferson was quite right. The U.S. Government has become what the Founders wanted to free the people from -- a plutocratic "religious" military industrial empire ruled by a rich, proud, militant few who believe they must rule the world by forces of arms to "serve God and Country," when in fact they serve themselves and "Mammon."
Therefore, it is our right and duty to alter and reform our government, and The 21st Century Declaration of Independence suggests how we may do that. You may scroll down to view that. The following sections that lead to it are merely introductory information explaining exactly why we need it.
The updated modern version of the original Declaration of Independence not only expands our rights but also improves the political process so that we are no longer divided and polarized, so that money no longer drives the political process, and so that we can finally establish government that will actually be of, by and for the people and serve the interests of all the people.
This article suggests how and why Americans should do that and how we can do that, legally and peacefully, using provisions provided in the U.S. Constitution.
Additionally, in many ways this message is applicable to all nations and the idea behind it is based on the United Nations International Bill of Rights, which most nations, including the U.S., simply ignore!
That's why this message targets America, because even though it has one of the highest rates of child poverty and is morally corrupt due to corrupt leadership in the public, private and religious sectors, it is still materially the strongest and most influential nation in the world, and, when it is reformed, it can then be a leading good example to the world.
As it is, America is not a united Democratic Republic. It is not a real Democracy. It is a bitterly divided Plutocracy and Oligarchy consisting to two main ruling factions (partisan political parties) which compete for power in a winner-take-all political system.
In this system the wealthiest few have all the power because the system is driven by money. Wealthy Republicans and Libertarians fund their politician-candidates and their Political Action Committees (PACs) and political foundations, and wealthy Democrats fund theirs. Being among the wealthiest one percent of the American population, they provide about 80 percent of the funding for all political candidates. And thus the wealthiest few, regardless of their party affiliation, are the big winners, because all elected politicians, Republican and Democrat alike, are beholden to those who provide most of the funding for their campaigns and commercial television ads.
That has produced the unfair, inequitable, polarizing political economic system we have, and that's why the great majority of us keep getting worse off financially as the rich keep getting richer and richer.
That is why The 21st Century Declaration of Independence declares that government should exist not merely by the consent of the governed, but also by our own initiative, free choice and equal opportunity to determine who represents us at the highest levels of government.
We do not need to accept the status quo in which the deck is stacked against us, and we do not need to perpetuate partisan politics and the divisive contest for the throne. For as it is, we the people really do not have free choice and equal opportunity to choose who represents us. We are merely presented with choices from which we must choose.
In the present political process the basic choices we have are limited to candidates from the organized partisan political parties that divide us. If we vote we have practically no choice but to take sides, be pitted against each other, and buy into the divisive, polarizing battle for the throne of power, and we the people cannot win because the system ensures that the wealthiest few will win.
That is why even with a Democrat in the White House since January 2009, most Americans are still suffering as much or more than they were in December 2008 -- partly because of nasty Republican and Libertarian obstructionism, granted, but partly because most Democrats have deserted the great democratic values and principles of leaders like Thomas Jefferson and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Consequently, the problem is that the priority of the bosses of both major parties is to serve the interests of the wealthiest few and their corporations, banks and financial institutions, and the hard reality is that their policies and actions are to their benefit and at our expense.
Understanding the reasons for that is now crucial, because as the most fair-minded and reasonable economists have finally recognized, America’s current economic and financial woes were about more than three decades in the making, and it was Reaganomics and Reaganism that got America into this trouble.
Then it got worse under the Bush presidency because it was Reaganism "on steroids," and, like Republicans, Corporate Democrats since then have done little to serve the interests of the great vast majority, preferring to serve the interests of Wall Street and the greediest of the wealthiest few who bankroll and bribe all politicians.
Today many Billionaires and Multi-Billionaires understand that they must convince the American public that they are rich and successful because they are good, beneficent people who do good works that benefit the whole nation and world. That's why they and their corporations and banks have launched public relations campaigns on television, being very aware that growing numbers of Americans have grown utterly disgusted with all the greed, corruption, profiteering, and horrible unfairness that has infected America during the last several decades.
Many of those Billionaires claim, as Ronald Reagan did, that government is the problem, that government must simply get out of their way, and that we can trust successful rich people to do the right thing for the benefit of all. But time after time history has proven that they do the opposite when left to their own devices.
The actual problem is the greed and corruption that runs rampant without proper government regulation and oversight, and the problem is made even worse when government is ruled and controlled by politician puppets who serve the interests of the greediest of the wealthiest few, at the expense of the great majority, at the expense of the infrastructure, and at the expense of the environment. That is the truth that Americans need to face.
The declaration of human rights in the second sentence of the original U.S. Declaration of Independence written in 1776 was inspired by the writings of Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson. And in that Declaration the majority of the Founders pledged their lives and fortunes, and they risked their lives by signing it.
Their distaste for British Royal Monarchy and Anglican State Theocracy and their desire for fairness and social justice was summed up in the writings of Thomas Jefferson, especially in his writings about religious freedom and separation of church and state.
See, most of the Founders were men of faith in the Deity or the "Creator" and "Nature's God," as they put it, and they realized there can be no freedom of religion unless government respects all religions. They purposely used generic terms for God in official documents and avoided using religious names or terms specific to any particular religion.
Some of them were Christians, of course. However, most of them were highly educated "Enlightenment" thinkers. Some were Freemasons, many were Deists, and most agreed with Deist thought. That is, they believed in the Deity and the Creator, but they realized how and why official church canon, doctrines, dogma, superstitions, myths and creeds had caused so much trouble and so much suffering and bloodshed in the name of Christianity during the preceding 14 centuries. And in their letters and writings they expressed that very clearly.
They wanted government to honor universal spiritual values. But, unfortunately, Jefferson's and Madison’s dream of a Democratic Republic has not been fulfilled because even though the politicians who benefit from the present political-economic system steadfastly claim they want liberty and justice for all, their actions belie their words.
Many have been at fault along the way, and there is enough blame to go around. But it has especially been the Reaganites who simply ignored the lessons of history, just as they ignored the Golden Rule. They proudly and militantly fight to gain and maintain political power, and they simply ignore that the wise Solomon said pride and arrogance go before a fall. They ignore that Jesus of Nazareth said that a house divided against itself cannot stand, that the rich put themselves in spiritual jeopardy, that the poor are blessed, and that the humble and meek shall inherit the earth.
The updated Declaration you will read below recognizes that we cannot fix the problems unless all Americans realize what the roots of the problems are.
America has been pushed far backward and our national spiritual growth has been severely stunted because the American "democratic process" (partisan politics) became tainted by greed and lust for money and the corruption that it causes. It has enabled deceptive people driven by greed and self-interest to gain the power of government (or manipulate it by deceptive, obstructionist tactics) by claiming, as Ronald Reagan did, that "government is the problem and not the solution."
The irony, and the reality, is that they actually make government the problem rather than a solution.
They not only ignore the lessons of history, they even deny it and try to sell a revisionist idea of history. They deny that good government should promote the general welfare, and they have failed to ensure justice for all the people, maintain the infrastructure, provide sufficient regulation and oversight of companies, banks, lending institutions and corporations, protect the environment, and provide proper quality public education, safety, security and protection for all the people.
Why are they in denial, and why have they failed? Because their agenda is self-serving. They focus on ensuring that their corporations, companies, industries, banks and lending institutions have free rein to operate without government regulation and oversight, even though that has proven to be detrimental to the public and the environment.
They focus on lowering their own tax liability and providing themselves and their businesses and corporations with tax breaks, tax loopholes, subsidies, and other “welfare for the rich.” Thus they cause government to shirk its responsibilities, operate with insufficient revenue and face huge deficits, simply because their main goal is to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
That's the truth, and the state of the nation and economy is clear proof of that.
Even though they can well afford to pay their fair share of taxes, those who are driven by greed and self-interest claim they and their big businesses, corporations, banks and financial institutions “cannot afford to pay more” (even though they pay very little now but can well afford to pay their fair share). Instead, they fight for even more tax cuts, along with more cuts in moral, compassionate, humanitarian human services.
The cruel irony is that many of them claim to be moral Christians, and they insist that our leaders must be Christians (as they define the term). However, many of their words and deeds reveal that they are the opposite of true Christians.
The forces of greed and self-interest have ignored the Constitution and even the core teachings of Jesus. They have simply thumped their bible as they waved the flag to gain political power, and since 1982 they have managed to gain political power in local school boards, city government, state legislatures, and Congress. They have even pushed the U.S. Supreme Court to favor and entitle the wealthiest few at our expense, and they want to destroy the wall of separation between church and state, twisting the words of the Constitution, and ignoring and distorting the intent of the Founders.
They have accomplished all that by making many Americans forget or ignore what once made America great, and what once made its "middle class" large and great -- Roosevelt's New Deal -- and Reaganism has practically ruined that.
That is not to say that there is anything wrong with being wealthy, because many of the wealthy are good people and deserving of their wealth. However, some are not, which is painfully obvious. And we should prevent the greedy, selfish, corrupt ones from being able to rake in so much more money than they need, at our expense. They claim it's fair, and they fight dirty when anyone says it's not fair. That’s why they hate and slander their opponents today, just as their counterparts hated and slandered the great President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s and ‘40s for the same reasons.
Today, Reaganites still fight against all that which is democratically ideal, fair and equitable. And, to do that they have no choice but to be misleading and deceptive. They even use "push-button" words like "socialism" and "government takeover" to mislead, incite and rouse gullible people against progressive reformers.
Republicans and Libertarians and "Tea Party" members have been and are using the same tactics that were used back in the 1950s when "McCarthyism" and "Red-Baiting" was what right-wing demagogues resorted to, along with slander and deception, to appeal to people’s emotions, prejudices and fears.
President Obama has not learned how to deal with his malicious enemies, either foreign or domestic. He has either been threatened or he has simply surrendered to Republican intimidation. He has permitted cuts in needed human services while demanding little or no increased revenue to reduce the debt. He has catered to Wall Street and the big banks and corporations. He apparently doesn’t realize that he needs to give a speech like President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Inaugural Address in order to establish sufficient reforms, regulations and wage and price controls, and demand that corporations and the wealthiest few pay their fair share of taxes.
No partisan politician can or will fix the main problems, so Americans need to make a much greater choice — a choice that will bring much greater, lasting change, which will enable us to progress forward more united.
Divided we will continue to fall, and if we perpetuate this partisan political-economic system and its built-in conflict and division we will fall further because a people divided against themselves cannot work together in common purpose to achieve common goals for the common good.
We, the people, are going to have to fix it, because even the Democrats who promised great change have not produced much. After all, they they too benefit from the status quo and live luxuriously, so it is simply naive to think they are very motivated to produce the changes, reforms and regulations we really need.
Therefore, the only way we can and will save our nation, be truly united, and establish government that is of, by, and for the people, is to utilize the tools the Founders gave us to reform, alter, and improve the whole political-economic system as well as reconsider America's role in the world.
While any nation has the right to defend itself, the U.S. is the only nation maintaining regional multi-service military commands in all parts of the world. It is now a global religious military industrial empire. The U.S. Military accounts for 46.5 percent of the world’s total spending on military with a $680 Billion annual budget for war, and in 2011 the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex was involved in 3,019 contracts between the Pentagon and its military contractors, and those contracts amounted to more than $269.8 Billion.
Of course, Americans have been conditioned to regard their military role as totally beneficent and good, but while that is true in part, it is in part ostensible rationale. And Americans need to know why.
The U.S. position as "Policeman to the World" (from which it is falling) was accomplished in a process initiated in the nineteenth century by the imperialist notion of "Manifest Destiny." It expanded significantly being victorious in winning World War II, and it expanded again under Reaganism. Then global dominance was carried to the extreme during the reign of George W. Bush, which took Reaganism to the extreme with The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) calling for global religious military industrial domination. And it was all concocted to appear not only "patriotic." It is also disguised under a hypocritical cloak of religiosity, which was and still is driven by misguided "Christian" Dominionism.
Unfortunately, President Obama has done little or nothing about that, perhaps fearing the clout of the "Christian Right" (which is neither Christian nor right). Consequently, America has been and still is falling is because it serves not God, but Mammon.
Thus Washington, D.C. is a "piece of Babylon," ruled by a Plutocracy of the wealthiest few and fueled by money accumulated by greed and self-interest. That is why we must really reform our government so that it is actually of, by and for the people, so that it is truly representative, so that it will protect us from those who are essentially robbing us, so that it will prevent lawmakers and policy makers from being bribed by the wealthiest few and their large corporations and lobbyists, and so that it will protect us from theocratic hypocrites.
To turn the tables on the hypocrites who claim to serve God and Country, other articles on the site map show how they ignore the core teachings of Jesus as well as the intent of the Founders of America, and they reveal how and why the former wall of separation between church and state has been so badly eroded since 1982, to the point where it was practically torn down in 2008 during the presidential campaigns when being a Christian became a de facto litmus test for becoming president (which violates Article 6 of the Constitution).
Since 1982 the Reaganites have deceived you (and probably even themselves), because they use the very same ostensible, misleading, self-serving rationale that has been used for the last 16 centuries by rich "Christian" emperors, kings, heads of state and their very wealthy loyalist supporters to gain personal power, wealth and domain at the expense of others.
For centuries people claiming to be Christians have lived by the sword, gun and bomb and killed many innocent peoples all over the world to gain and maintain such material power, wealth and domain, plunder natural resources and try to rule the world, while ostensibly claiming it was their"divine right and duty" and all in the name of "civilizing the heathen and saving souls." And even today it’s the same old story.
That is not to say that all Christians have been wrong and harmful. In fact, most Christians are good and conscientious. They understand and abide by the Golden Rule, like the good and conscientious people of other faiths who abide by the universal divine imperative, and thus they are the "sheep of the good shepherd." However, not all who claim to serve God actually do. As Jesus said, not all who say "Lord, Lord" know the Lord God, the Great Spirit-Parent in heaven.
Therefore, Americans should progress forward now, toward the day when all human beings, all nations, all religions, all races and all cultures are respected equally, and enjoy truly equal rights under the laws of our lands and our world.
Otherwise, if we allow Theocrats to keep trying to rule, and if we perpetuate this partisan political-economic system, it would keep the partisan political pendulum swinging. It would perpetuate the partisan political conflict, division, polarization and instability, and it would perpetuate the corruption that it inevitably produces.
Even though evil can masquerade as good in the public eye or be cowardly and sneaky in its murderous ways, and even though it has been and still is very powerful in its ability to denigrate or even kill those who would deny it power to rule over the people, we can overcome it.
We can ensure that people driven by greed, self-interest and self-righteousness are not able to gain power again, because there is a way that we can finally prevent the wrong people from dividing us and ruling over us ever again -- a way that will enable us to peacefully establish good, representative government that serves all the people.
These truths should be self-evident: that all human beings are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are the rights to: life; liberty; equal rights; equal opportunity; justice; public safety; universal health care; complete public education from preschool-child care to post-graduate school; fair and adequate compensation for your labor; adequate social security income for those in need of it, so that no one suffers from hunger, poverty, or homelessness; freedom of religion, with freedom from theocratic imposition of religion into government by any particular religion or religious sect(s); and real freedom in the pursuit of happiness.
We do not have any of those rights or freedoms now. In fact, our rights and freedoms have been diminishing, and there is no politician in our country right now who will establish the rights we want and need.
Therefore, to establish and secure our God-given universal rights, even while ensuring that government is secular with a wall of separation between religion and government, the people should adopt a revised and updated Declaration of Independence to re-state and expand our rights, and then demand that we establish and adopt new constitutional amendments that will ensure those rights.
The precedents for progress, improvement and advancement are clear. The 13th Amendment written in 1865 officially outlawed slavery and involuntary servitude, and did so by repealing Article 4 of the Constitution (which Southern leaders had insisted upon in 1787 when the Constitution was written, which required that slaves that escaped to another state be returned to the owner in the state from which they escaped).
Now we the people need to repeal, revise or replace certain other articles and amendments, and/or establish new amendments, particularly to put an end to rule by the power of money and an end to the presidential form of monarchy. We need to do this because government can and should be of, by and for the people, and by the absolute free choice of the people, which we do not have now. We are faced with a choice between competitive candidates who seek power of the highest office and the "throne" of a presidential monarchy.
Now it is time to take advantage of the tools which the Founding Fathers created for us to advance and progress forward, instead of continuing to be pushed backward.
Our Way To Liberation and Empowerment
Thomas Jefferson wrote: "I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times."
That is so true, which is why Americans should be aware that Article 5 of the Constitution of the United States stipulates that new amendments may be proposed either by two-thirds of both houses of Congress, or by a national convention assembled at the request of the legislatures of at least two-thirds of the states. The amendments must then be ratified either by approval of the legislatures of three-fourths of the states, or by ratifying conventions held in three-fourths of the states. Congress has discretion as to which method of ratification should be used. (See the separate article on An Article 5 Convention for details.)
Critics claim we could never make that happen, considering that most politicians in Congress and in state legislatures would object, as things are now. After all, regardless of which side of the political isle they are on, they still enjoy the benefits of political office, the financial support, the favors, gifts and bribes from lobbyists, the great income, and the great retirement income and benefits. Therefore, they would be against any amendments to the Constitution that would comprehensively reform and alter the U.S. Government.
However, politicians do what is politically expedient to get re-elected, and if it became clearly evident that a clear majority of Americans clearly wanted a Constitutional Convention, they would be forced to comply. And if a clear majority wanted the specific things outlined in The 21st Century Declaration of Independence, politicians and legislators would not be able to ignore the people’s desire. They would fear being tossed out of office if they did not comply with the people's wishes.
So. Ultimately the power is with the people, even though as it is now most of the people have successfully been duped and fooled into thinking that they are powerless and helpless and therefore need to follow and support a conquering political "hero" who will fight for them. That’s what keeps the whole partisan political system and the contest for the throne going.
Here’s the truth: Even though our political system is deeply flawed and needs reform, our government still operates with the consent of the governed, and if enough people demand something, politicians will do what the people want. Politicians act out of political expediency. So our task is to show them what would be politically expedient, which is to obey the will of the people.
Now granted, as is explained in the article on Civil Disobedience, it is possible and perhaps probable that we may have to resort to that, if legal means are not sufficient to influence legislators. Let us hope that legal means are successful. But whatever means are necessary, we need to express our will and demonstrate our desires and wishes. We need to form a grass roots populist movement to rally around this idea and plan and make it clearly known what our demands are -- and that is up to you. You must act to alter and reform our government and make it a true Democracy of, by and for the people.
The People's Campaign For Reformation also discusses a strategy we can use, but we actually have many options to voice our demands and make them known. For example, we can take action either though a petition process to create citizen's initiatives and establish state ballot measures so that the people can officially register their demands. We can also voice our demands in peaceful public assembly in open parks and in other appropriate public spaces, obtaining permits if needed, and standing proudly (without wearing hoods or masks).
Ultimately, however, whether it's using the citizen's initiative process or the write-in ballot or public demonstration or all of them and more (such as email and social media), we the people can persist until our numbers are so great that state and federal legislators recognize and acknowledge our power and meet our demands so that we can finally establish the kind of government we want and need.
This has become a necessity, which is why in recent years a growing number of constitutional scholars have been calling for a Constitutional Convention. And there are several organizations working to establish new amendments to the U.S. Constitution utilizing Article 5 provisions. Some have made some progress in producing interest in a new proposed 28th Amendment. However, they are focused mostly on ending corporate “personhood” and establishing a publicly funded election process in order to end the massive influence money has on the present election process.
They hope, as this Initiative does, to draw so much media attention that no state or federal Legislator would dare to oppose amendments that the vast majority of people want. However, while such organizations are calling for Amendments to the Constitution, their focus is more narrow and confined to one or few issues, and that is not enough. What we need is a comprehensive overhaul, reformation, updating, revision, and expansion of the U.S. Constitution.
Hope in a conquering hero has proven to be fruitless, because America had one in President Franklin D. Roosevelt. But it wasn't very long before Reaganism began to dismantle and destroy the great legacy of Roosevelt's New Deal. Therefore we should keep in mind that the Founding Fathers of the nation wrote Article 5 because they recognized the importance of providing this means by which we, the people, could initiate amendments to change and/or clarify and/or update the Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land. Even in the earlier Declaration of Independence they declared that it is the right and duty of the people to alter and reform our government, or even institute new government.
When enough people get the message and make their demands known, the ruling "class" will weigh their options and consider the possible consequences. They will consider what could happen if they continue the tactics they have been using, such as dirty partisan political attacks and slander, half-truths, misleading propaganda, and deception. And at that point they will also consider that the people are wise to them. They will consider how still using those tactics may backfire due to a more knowledgeable and informed public, and they will probably realize that it would be better to go along to get along.
As Theodore Roosevelt said: “We are not attacking the corporations, but endeavoring to do away with any evil in them. We are not hostile to them; we are merely determined that they shall be so handled as to subserve the public good. We draw the line against misconduct, not against wealth.”
The author of this work is not against banks or corporations or capitalism, but like Thomas Jefferson and Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt, he recognizes that they must be required to pay their fair share of taxes according to their ability to pay, and they must be properly and sufficiently regulated and kept honest with sufficient government oversight in order to prevent malfeasance and misconduct, and to protect and serve the public good.
Beyond all that, you should also know that many politicians in the past have favored a Constitutional Convention, including such notables as Republican Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
In his first inaugural address, March 4, 1861, Lincoln said: "This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it." And Lincoln added that "to me the convention mode seems preferable, in that it allows amendments to originate with the people themselves, instead of only permitting them to take or reject propositions originated by others..."
President Dwight D. Eisenhower also supported an Article 5 Convention saying: "Through their state legislatures and without regard to the federal government, the people can demand a convention to propose amendments that can and will reverse any trends they see as fatal to true representative government."
Therefore, in America we advocate a Constitutional Convention, and we advocate this New Declaration of Independence, which is an edited and revised update of Thomas Jefferson's work.
The 21st Century Declaration of Independence
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all human beings are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are the rights to: life; liberty; equal rights; equal opportunity; justice; safety; complete public education from universal preschool-child care to post-graduate school and parenting education; adequate paid parental leave to nurture and bond with newborn infants; fair and adequate compensation for our labor; fair collective bargaining and binding arbitration to settle disputes between labor and management; expanded Medicare to provide comprehensive universal public health care; adequate Social Security retirement income if needed, and adequate Social Security income for the unemployed, the disabled and the elderly, so that no one suffers from hunger, poverty, or homelessness; real freedom of religion, respecting all religions and preventing theocratic domination by any particular religion; and real freedom in the pursuit of happiness.
We declare that to secure such human rights, governments may be instituted among peoples, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes obstructive to or destructive of these ends, it is the right and duty of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new or reformed government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to protect the people, ensure that all the people enjoy those equal opportunities and equal rights, and ensure that the common wealth is used for the common good.
Now granted, governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes. Therefore, the people have been more willing to suffer, while abuses and offenses seemed bearable, than to free themselves by abolishing the government to which they are accustomed. However, when a long series of deceptions, offenses, betrayals, and abuses of power, invariably pursuing the interests and the favor of the wealthiest few at the expense of the many, creates conditions which reduce the majority to subservient, dispensable subjects, it is the absolute right and duty of the people to throw off such government, to institute new or better government, and to provide new safeguards for their future security, equality, prosperity, and well being.
Such has been the patient sufferance of the majority of the people; and such is now the necessity to alter their system of government. The history of this government is a history of repeated deceptions, offenses, betrayals, injustices, failings, injuries, and abuses of power, resulting in the establishment and perpetuation of an unjust, corrupt, inequitable, divisive political-economic system and society in which a wealthy, privileged few disproportionately enjoy the fruits of the labor of the majority, while the lot of the majority diminishes and growing numbers of good, hard working people are reduced to conditions of poverty, to the extent that tens of millions of innocent children in this nation suffer from its devastating effects.
Furthermore, since this inequitable political-economic system of government functions by a money-driven, partisan political contest for sovereign presidential power and congressional dominance, the people are repeatedly divided and polarized by a foolish and juvenile partisan rivalry for the throne and chambers of political power. The wealthy and powerful from the right and the left fight among themselves to maintain and even gain more wealth and more power, soliciting support not only from their wealthy peers but from the average people who generate that wealth and power but cannot sufficiently benefit from it themselves. Thus the wealthy few keep the people divided and weak, unable to stand united because they are misled and pulled in opposite directions.
Therefore, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this nation, it is now solemnly declared that We the People shall:
1) Take all peaceful, legal political action necessary to convince legislators in the federal and state governments that they must call for and convene an Article 5 Constitutional Convention, with this Declaration as an action item agenda;
2) Revise, alter, amend, update and improve the U.S. Constitution utilizing provisions in Article 5 to put an end to partisan politics and the money-driven, winner-take-all competition for the presidential throne and control of Congress;
3) Put an end to the presidential form of monarchy, so that executive power shall no longer be held by a chief executive but instead be better used by an executive council of equals, elected directly by citizen voters trusted to make good choices;
4) Provide all the people of voting age with equal choice and equal opportunity to freely choose, nominate and elect, by signed secret write-in ballot, an executive council of six men and six women who will replace the chief executive and serve to represent us in administering the executive branch of our government;
5) Ensure that the executive council shall have equal voice and equal decision-making power, but may choose a peer facilitator and spokesperson if they choose; that their decisions shall be by consensus or by two thirds majority vote when not unanimous, and that all council members will be at all times available to hold meetings through electronic conferences wherever they may be in the world;
6) Establish a new and reasonable electoral method for the election of members of Congress to eliminate primary elections and put an end to partisan political attacks; require candidates to simply express their personal views and opinions as respectful peers and clearly explain how they intend to be public servants and real representatives of all the people they are supposed to represent;
7) Ensure that the same or similar electoral process and system will be used for the election of state governors and state legislators, and for city mayors and city councils;
8) Prevent the rule of money by ensuring that political advocacy during the campaign and electoral process shall be confined to brief, positive, free public service messages and/or voters’ pamphlets provided by each state, and that the official advocacy period shall be no longer than three months prior to elections;
9) Allow political endorsements to be made in non-commercial, free forums by advocates recommending candidates, but ensure that regardless of such endorsements the people shall have free choice to name and nominate by write-in ballot whoever they want to represent them, and that the six men and six women who receive the most votes and accept the call to serve shall be elected to the executive council;
10) Prevent the rule of money by also ensuring that there shall be no paid commercial political advertisements, and put safeguards in place to prevent wealthy individuals or wealthy interest groups from being able to use money or any other sort of means to influence the political advocacy process, the electoral process, the legislative process, or the judicial process;
11) Prohibit lobbying and all other efforts by special interest groups to influence or bribe political candidates, political leaders, legislators, law makers, policy makers or the judiciary;
12 Ensure that all congressional representatives of the people keep in touch with their constituents by holding regular local "town hall" meetings and other events during which constituents may ask questions and offer suggestions;
13) Ensure that our government protects our religious freedom, prevents theocratic imposition by any religion or religious group, builds a solid Jeffersonian wall of separation between government and religion, and ensures that government respects all legitimate religions;
14) Address environmental problems by eliminating carbon emissions and enabling non-polluting energy industries to replace the fossil fuel industry as soon as is reasonably possible, and reform the agricultural, forest products and sea food industries so that they no longer poison our water and earth, clear-cut our forests, or deplete and damage the oceans;
15) Acknowledge that the days of military empires shall end; recognize that the military might of individual nations may be reduced if we pool our military resources into the United Nations Peace Keeping Force; so that such a United Force may stop and prevent any rogue nations or any rogue groups or militias from violating International Laws and Resolutions;
16) Expand Medicare to create a non-profit National Public Health Care System covering all the people in the nation, and encourage all hospitals, health care providers and pharmaceutical companies to become non-profit parts of the system;
17) Expand Social Security Retirement Insurance so that it provides adequate retirement income to all who need it, and also provide adequate Disability Insurance income for those unable to work, so that everyone can live with financial security and no one suffers from hunger, poverty, or homelessness;
18) Provide complete public education from universal preschool-child care to college to post-graduate school, and include mandatory comprehensive parenting education in both high school and college;
19) Provide sixty days of paid parental leave so that parents may nurture and bond with newborn infants;
20) Ensure that all employers provide fair and adequate compensation for all employees’ labor; establish a minimum wage sufficient for average necessary living expenses, with commonly established cost of living adjustments; and ensure provisions for fair collective bargaining and binding arbitration to settle disputes between employers and employees;
21) Ensure that all working citizens pay their fair share of taxes according to a progressive income tax; and that those in the lowest tax bracket pay no more than five percent while those in the highest bracket pay no less than sixty percent of their total income in taxes, and ensure they cannot avoid their tax liability with any tax loopholes, shelters, deductions, or any other means;
22) Ensure that all corporations, banks, financial institutions and other businesses and industries pay their fair share of taxes according to a progressive business and corporate income tax, based on income and profit margins;
23) Ensure that freedom of speech and freedom of the press shall be protected and censorship shall be prohibited, within reason, so that:
a) All information and news media shall print, publish and broadcast the essential, relevant truth and nothing but the truth when reporting the news, offer opinion only when clearly identified as such, and lose the right to operate if it is proven that they commit slander, mislead or deceive the public, or violate the public trust;
b) Journalists will fulfill their responsibilities and honor an ethical code, be truthful and unbiased, and inform the public regarding the inner workings of both the public and private sectors to keep government politicians and private corporation executives honest;
c) Investigative Journalists will more deeply investigate the operations of government, corporations, banks, lending institutions, industry and all other institutions to keep them honest and ethical, expose them whey they are not (and be free to do so); and
d) Strive to ensure that what is broadcast on the air or published on the Internet is truthful, and when wrongdoing or falsehoods are alleged, investigations by reliable, independent fact-checkers contracted by the public sector may bring charges if warranted, thus helping to stop and prevent false, slanderous and harmful claims, hateful and inciting speech, fraudulent solicitations and content, and malfeasance.
It is also solemnly declared that the government thus produced shall have full power to levy taxes fairly and equitably (according to ability to pay, without any loopholes or shelters and without any deductions for charitable donations or other contributions); provide for the common defense; keep the peace; contract alliances; regulate commerce and the economy to ensure equity, fairness and stability; promote the general welfare; provide for the health care and public education of all the people; use the common wealth to serve the common good; be good stewards of our environment; protect the environment, correct the mistakes and clean up the mess that greed, corruption and folly have created; and do all other acts and things which independent states have the right and the duty to do.
For the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we the people mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.
May Nature's Universal God truly bless our nation. May it abide by the new covenant with God and finally become known in truth as the land of the free and the home of the brave, under God the Spirit of Divinity only, and may all nations in the world follow suit and be liberated.
NOTE: This would replace partisan politics and the divisive competition for the throne, which merely perpetuates corruption, conflict and division. Moreover, it would ensure that Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court would initially be appointed not by a partisan president, but by a non-partisan Executive Council of peers who will ensure fairness.
It would likely establish a government that would promote the general welfare of the states, as the U.S. Constitution requires, and use the common wealth for the common good.
But above all, it would cure our main problem — because after all, as Jesus of Nazareth said, and as Abraham Lincoln quoted, a house divided against itself cannot stand.
Thanks to Article 5 in the U.S. Constitution Americans are able to legally and peacefully liberate and empower themselves. And even though the people of other nations in the world may need to take a different route on their way toward their liberation and empowerment, the message suggests that the first steps toward the liberation and empowerment of Americans are:
1) Present a vision of why there should be a reformation of both government and religion, and how we can accomplish that (which is what the message does);
2) Wage grassroots local education campaigns to expose the hypocritical forces of greed and self-interest, and to inform or remind people of what the actual intent of America's Founders and the actual intent of Jesus of Nazareth and other great spiritual teachers really were, which was to establish a peaceful, prosperous, happy, tranquil society and nation that will use the common wealth for the common good;
3) Take political action in a variety of ways, gradually, first in your circle of friends and then more widely, including but not limited to using word of mouth, email, social media, Internet discussion forums and other ways to spread the word; then utilize the petition processes to create citizen's initiatives to establish state ballot measures so that the people can officially register their desires and demands; and voice your desires and demands in town hall meetings and in peaceful public assembly in open parks and in other appropriate public spaces, obtaining permits if needed;
4) Take such political action to sufficiently inform, encourage and motivate enough people to be able to convince enough state and federal legislators of the need and inevitability of bringing about an Article 5 Constitutional Convention to adopt The 21st Century Declaration of Independence (or a revised or better version of it, if one is created and preferred).
Those steps we can take to bring about a legal and peaceful reformation of government. (A Reformation of Religion is a different and private matter, and it will probably happen very gradually as the clergy of religions get the message and realize the extent to which their teachings have failed to emphasize the Universal Divine Imperative or Golden Rule.)
If enough people join together in this effort --- which is not to exalt any individual "great leader" but instead to liberate and empower the people with government of, by and for the people --- then state and federal legislators will recognize and acknowledge the will of the people and meet our demands so that we can finally establish the kind of government we want and need.
Keep in mind that the above Declaration is a proposal, and a suggestion — a framework for a Constitutional Convention to work with, to refine, clarify and qualify according to the will of the people as may be expressed in opinion polls and in their demonstrations, citizens initiatives, and state ballot measures.
For more information suggestions, recommendations and proposals, see the following articles: