Americans Unready To Boil?
By Joel S. Hirschhorn
22 June, 2007
The frog-in-boiling water model
helps us understand political upheavals: how citizens wake up early
enough (or too late) to respond to social and economic oppression. Sometimes
the greed and arrogance of Ruling Classes makes them careless and social
waters heat too quickly. Sensing doom, alert citizen-frogs escape or
revolt. Or they stay complacent and boil. The Bush Administration has
turned the heat up on us, explaining why nearly 75 percent of Americans
believe their country is on the wrong track and 70 percent think the
economy is worsening.
Mexico is the richest Latin
American country but has extreme economic inequality, which measures
social temperature. Mexicans are jumping out of oppressive waters en
masse, right into the U.S., exacerbating our rising inequality. The
Chinese have learned to offset oppressive communist forces with materialistic
capitalism – like our affordable materialism keeps Americans distracted
and docile (with help from Chinese imports). In colonial America the
greedy British motivated our Revolutionary War, but with oppression
now coming from within, will Americans wait too long?
Some Americans keep warning
us – people like Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, Aaron Russo, Dennis
Kucinich, Lou Dobbs, Ralph Nader, Ron Paul, Bill Moyers, Jon Stewart,
and Keith Olbermann. They entertain complacent “frogs” and
preach to the choir of alert “frogs” that also know the
temperature is rising dangerously. Many of the former keep hoping that
putting better Democrats or Republicans in office will get us back on
the right track. Many of the latter are ready to jump to what our Constitution
offers us: an Article V convention.
And once you know that plutocratic
elites from both major parties have for decades opposed the Article
V convention to propose constitutional amendments, YOU should favor
what THEY oppose.
We frequently see a knee-jerk
fear reaction to an Article V convention. Such fear is misplaced and
baseless. Only the rich and powerful elites running and ruining our
nation should fear a convention.
It is fatalistic to fear
that a convention could make things worse by removing valued parts of
the Constitution or adding terrible things. Naturally, no one knows
with certainty what a convention might propose. But we do know with
certainty that whatever a convention proposes must satisfy the Constitution’s
rigorous ratification requirement. That two step process is part of
the genius of the Constitution. Recall that a convention is the alternative
to Congress proposing amendments. And what do Americans think of Congress?
A measly 23 percent view
Congress positively. Expecting Congress to enact really good laws, spend
our taxes wisely, and keep the president and executive branch agencies
from abusing us is like a joke on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It
is laugh-at-loud funny to put trust and faith in Congress. It matters
not whether Democrats or Republicans control Congress. Nearly all members
are under the thrall of moneyed interests. Congress is a national embarrassment.
Our misrepresentatives are partners in corruption, dishonesty and oppression.
Over decades they have allowed the presidency to accumulate imperial
powers. Do you really believe they are worth $165,200 a year, with generous
health and pension benefits?
Still, we live in a great
nation. But great nations rise and fall.
America is no longer close
to what it should be – or once was. It no longer fairly serves
and protects all Americans. Too many Americans are working poor, hungry,
homeless, poorly educated, imprisoned, debt-ridden, crime victims, facing
economic insecurity, nonvoters, and lacking health care.
What we have is a plutocracy
run by and for the Upper Class that sucks up a huge fraction of the
nation’s wealth. Lobbyists ensure that public policy increases
economic inequality and rewards corporate interests, even if it requires
preemptive wars like the Iraq fiasco, sanctions massive illegal immigration,
and sends good jobs overseas. That so many people escaping other nations
(with hot or boiling water) want to come to the USA should not blind
us to the creeping decline of our democracy and the heating of our social
How much worse does American
democracy have to get before public outrage demands what the Constitution’s
Framers gave us in case citizens lost confidence in the federal government?
Haven’t Americans lost enough trust to use what elites have fought
and feared? Can’t we trust ourselves to have a peaceful populist
rebellion through an Article V convention before we boil?
If America’s distracted
citizen-frogs stay glued to their large plasma TVs, SUVs, electronic
devices, and obese-friendly foods they may find themselves boiled. Our
constitutionally protected freedoms will be gone. George W. Bush has
shown how easily that is done. Our middle class will be gone. Our national
sovereignty will be gone – sold out through globalization chicanery.
For all but the rich, our quality of life and standard of living will
be gone. The Upper Class will be richer and happier in their opulent
gated McMansions and private entertainment and vacation spots, protected
and pampered by their private police and servants.
If Congress finally obeys
the Constitution some fear that convention delegates will be corrupted
through special interest money just like current politicians. That is
First, many Americans will
actively watch and influence how state legislatures select one-time
delegates. Second, the incredible novelty of the nation’s first
Article V convention will ensure intense coverage by domestic, foreign
and Internet media. Third, that novelty will also engage enormous numbers
of Americans – especially school and college students –
now rightfully turned off by our political system, ensuring citizen
oversight of delegates and the convention. Fourth, the only group working
for the first convention – Friends of the Article V Convention
– has committed itself to creating and ensuring strong oversight
of the convention process.
Imagine our first Article
V convention under intense scrutiny in today’s techno-media world.
It will be the ultimate reality show, enticing Americans to use their
brains over shopping and mindless entertainment. Conversations about
possible amendments will flourish. Surveys and polls will constantly
determine what Americans support and oppose. The convention will remind
Americans that citizenship requires civic engagement. Convention delegates
will know that they are being scrutinized. They will know that their
proposals must be ratified by three-fourths of the states. They will
be listening to US. In sum, we have more than enough safety nets to
prevent the convention harming our Constitution.
Why not dream about a restorative
convention with hundreds of smart, patriotic Americans as delegates?
We have enormous numbers of brilliant, wise and honest Americans –
just not in politics anymore. If we can trust the lives of people to
juries, we can trust carefully selected convention delegates to find
intelligent ways to improve our government and political system through
amendments. In the last part of the process, we can tell our state legislators
whether we want them to ratify specific proposed amendments.
Will the first convention
be mesmerizing and entertaining? Will it help educate and inform Americans
about our Constitution and government? Will it put Ruling Class elites
on notice that we the people are seriously pursuing governance we can
trust? Yes, yes and yes.
Should we wait until 95 percent of Americans think the nation is on
the wrong track? Until just 5 percent approve of Congress? Until we
belatedly find ourselves boiled? No, no and no.
Support the effort to get the nation’s first Article V convention,
especially if you sense our societal waters becoming hotter –
sometimes faster, as under Bush. Sign up at www.foavc.org. Don’t
let self-delusion and false hope in Republicans or Democrats blind you.
Let freedom ring. Make Thomas Jefferson proud.
Joel S. Hirschhorn
is the author of Delusional Democracy www.delusionaldemocracy.com
and a founder of Friends of the Article V Convention www.foavc.org.
This article responds to the hundreds of comments on his previous article
Americans Unready to Revolt, Despite Revolting Conditions that received
enormous attention, with over 100,000 readers.
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