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Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2021 2:30 p.m. PST

We're massively over due for a rewrite of the Constitution.

The above statement was posted on another thread. I found it to be somewhat offensive as well as ill-informed. Unfortunately, nothing was added to the above statement as either recommendations or to support that statement

The US Constitution as a governing document has no other that is equal to it in organization, foresight, common sense and the ability to form a working government.

However, I thought that a discussion of the above statement might be 'enlightening.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2021 2:48 p.m. PST

We care massively overdue for politicians to read & follow the Constitution that they have taken an oath to uphold.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2021 2:54 p.m. PST

We do have an amending process that can alter "what you don't like".
The process can even repeal a previous amendment.
The amending process is long and involved, and is designed to ensure that the Constitution is not changed frivolously.
The "slavery amendments", the 13th, 14th and 15th, had to be done while the Confederacy was AWOL. grin
There are those who wish to steamroller over, and ignore the 2nd Amendment. Your solution is simple. Repeal it. Good luck with that.

Many things that people find "wrong" with the process is not due to the constitution itself, but the rules that the House and Senate themselves have adopted to do business. The Filibuster, for example, is not in the Constitution. It's a Senate rule.

I'm not too fond of how a majority of one elderly unelected judge can decide what is constitutional. The Death Watch before each presidential election is rather unseemly, but that's an artifact of the constitutional lifetime appointment. Again, that's something that can be "solved" with an amendment. So can term limits, but both are politically unlikely.

I am definitely NOT a fan of the "living document" approach. What it boils down to is that modern times have rendered the "parts you don't like" unreasonable. Again, that's what the amending process is for. In fact, that's what the great majority of amendments did.

I'll probably be back. grin

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2021 2:58 p.m. PST

A great deal of how solid the Constitution is, is due to the determination of the immediately following generations to follow and defend it.
There are even stories of heated tavern discussions of what certain clauses meant. It's a tribute to the education back then that an average educated citizen could follow and comment.

Personal logo enfant perdus Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2021 3:50 p.m. PST

That's an excellent answer John, even the parts I don't completely jibe with.

Term limits are already part of the Constitution. They're called elections. My experience is that people want to limit the tenure of someone else's Representative or Senator while reelecting their own ad infinitum. To those honest few whose (valid) point is that incumbency's financial advantage makes reelection too easy, I say term limits is not the answer. The solution is an amendment to distinguish between money and freedom of expression.

rustymusket Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2021 4:05 p.m. PST

IMHO a re-write of the US Constitution would just give us a new politically-derived document to argue over. As John says, amending is part of the document. The writers knew it was not perfect and even that they, the "Founding Fathers",should not be considered as prophets or the final word.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2021 4:09 p.m. PST

I'm in agreement with the OFM, pretty much. The House and Senate have largely abdicated power (especially the power of the purse, which now is a continuiing resolution joke) and let the Pres and the courts tackle the controversial issues.

14Bore10 Oct 2021 4:25 p.m. PST

How about just following the original to the letter?

Stryderg10 Oct 2021 4:31 p.m. PST

They've also abused the term "oversight" into oblivion. They are supposed to do things, not create bureaucracies to do things and then stonewall the "overseers".

In my most humble opinion, those that want to rewrite the constitution mistakenly think they can do it better.

torokchar Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2021 4:35 p.m. PST

One day – maybe sooner than you think, it will read: All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

Oddball10 Oct 2021 5:03 p.m. PST

It was a nice try, seemed to work for awhile.

I believe I will live out the rest of my days in the Pax Americana, and I will enjoy all the benefits, but I have no hope for those in 40-50 years.

Broken system that can't be fixed.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2021 5:06 p.m. PST

No re-write. In this political climate, it would mean the end for us. We are awash in unethical conduct, greed and dirty politics unlike any previous era, abetted by technology and lies. Oaths mean nothing. Good faith and intentions are no longer the standard.

We can at least trust the Constitution. And it already has the amendment mechanism. It freaks me out to even think about any of our current elected officials "re-writing" this.

Legionarius10 Oct 2021 5:35 p.m. PST

Back to wargaming?

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2021 6:10 p.m. PST

Oddball, maybe. I think the Republic is doomed but we might continue on as an empire disguised as a democracy.

martin goddard Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Oct 2021 6:32 p.m. PST

I would personally prefer less politics on TMP.
Others obviously disagree.
It slips in quite often these days.
No one ever changes their mind.
Folk still carry on shouting though.
There are lots of political forums out there members could join in order to express their opinions?.
Just a release valve for frustration I suppose?


Extrabio1947 Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2021 6:42 p.m. PST

Martin, I completely agree.

But apparently, threads such as this one can be somehow linked to wargaming via the "Six Degrees of Separation" theory, however tenuously.

I'm seriously thinking about leaving this site and joining an overtly political forum in hopes occasional wargaming topics will pop up.

Au pas de Charge10 Oct 2021 6:53 p.m. PST

We're massively over due for a rewrite of the Constitution.

The above statement was posted on another thread. I found it to be somewhat offensive as well as ill-informed.

Undoubtedly, the person who made this statement is the sort one generally sets the dogs on…a grey, faceless cog without scruples!

Unfortunately, nothing was added to the above statement as either recommendations or to support that statement

Well, if you think you hate it now, just wait until you actually do hear the reasons.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2021 7:20 p.m. PST

Go ahead. I am very interested in the 'reasons' which is why I posted the OP.

The Constitution is seven articles and 27 amendments and takes less than half an hour to read.

And it can be amended. There is no political document, from any country, superior to it.

Buck21510 Oct 2021 7:26 p.m. PST

Any re-write of the U.S. Constitution would be so overly burdened with lawyer-speak and bureaucratize it would be unwieldy and nonsensical. As written now, it is easy to read and understand. The Founding Fathers (even those who were lawyers and not farmers) deliberately used simple words and language so that anybody could understand what ideas and rules were being espoused in the document. The Constitution is fine as it is, and if it needs amending, there is a method for that, as well.

Raynman Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2021 8:25 p.m. PST

The OFM is correct.

I think what is mightily needed in this country is a good old "French Revolution" affair. Bring back the guillotine and set it up in the National Mall. Televise the beheadings on Pay per View. Use the money to pay off some of the deficit.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2021 8:41 p.m. PST

As long as it's Pay Per View.

Lest it be political, lots will be drawn. That makes it fair.

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2021 9:23 p.m. PST

There was a comment about going back to the original constitution. I hope that was to mean as fully amended as I don't think we want to go back to counting some people as whole and some as 3/5. Except for not giving women equal rights, the amendment process has worked about as well as it could possibly be.

noggin2nog11 Oct 2021 12:02 a.m. PST

It won't be long until Archie Mountbatten-Windsor is the President; then you can all rejoin the UK, have a constitutional monarch and regard the Magna Carta as the great document that needs ammending.
(What would you think to having a relative of the King/Queen as President)

Oddball11 Oct 2021 5:43 a.m. PST

Doc mcb,

Last kicks of a dying system. I agree the facade of "democracy" will be the cover for an oligarchy ruled empire.

Personally I believe this has already begun and shows no sign of slowing. Bread (entitlements) and Circus (NFL – National Felons League) anyone?

What did Thomas Jefferson say (I'm still allowed to mention him, right? He hasn't yet been completely banned as an evil person from the 18th century for not having 21st century views I believe):

From time to time the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

Living the good life in the days of the Pax Americana.

Oddball11 Oct 2021 5:46 a.m. PST

When I talk with "highly educated" people, often with "ivy league" backgrounds and hear their views on our society and culture I like to work this line into the conversation.

"You've made me understand the causes and results of the French Revolution more clearly".

Almost none understand the statement. You can almost and sometimes do see the false hubris in their faces as they believe their views are so "educational".

Kevin C Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 6:13 a.m. PST

Maybe its just "massively overdue" time that our politicians start following the Constitution. So that I do not step outside the rules, I will leave it at that.

Cerdic11 Oct 2021 8:16 a.m. PST

As an outsider, the US constitution still mostly seems to be a reasonable set of governmental principles.

Maybe your politicians could do with a reminder about the "we the people" bit from time to time!

Brechy, maybe being offended is a touch unnecessary. After all, everyone is entitled to an opinion! Free speech and all that…

HMS Exeter11 Oct 2021 8:20 a.m. PST


IIRC, I saw something on the telly. where a genealogist traced Obama back to some medieval Irish king.

We're all mongrels.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 8:39 a.m. PST

…everyone is entitled to an opinion!

Absolutely correct…However, everyone is not entitled to their own facts.

advocate11 Oct 2021 8:43 a.m. PST

Pass the tea and scones. I'm enjoying this.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 8:56 a.m. PST

Oddball, that is awesome! I shall steal that from you.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 9:06 a.m. PST

"There was a comment about going back to the original constitution. I hope that was to mean as fully amended as I don't think we want to go back to counting some people as whole and some as 3/5. Except for not giving women equal rights, the amendment process has worked about as well as it could possibly be."

Points of order: The 3/5ths "compromise" was not what the anti-Constitutionalists claim it was. The persons referred to were people who were not taxed. In other words, they paid no taxes to the Federal government, and therefore could have no representation ("no taxation without representation" works both ways— no representation without paying taxes). Only Indians who were not citizens of any of the States (and thus of the United States), but had their own government systems, are mentioned with any specificity regarding race— and note that this phrase is not universal to Indians (in modern parlance "Native Americans"). There were citizens who were also racially "Indians" in the USA at the time. As fully taxed "persons," they were also fully counted for representation. Slaves at the time, who could indeed be of any race (though white slaves were very, very rare), were prohibited from voting in certain states, but that prohibition was not within the Constitution at all— the determination of voting status at the time was entirely up to the individual states. The Northern states, where slaves were not widespread, wisely argued that the Southern states could "game the system" by counting slaves in their census and thus have more representation while denying those slaves the opportunity to vote, or paying taxes into the federal system based on those slaves, thus placing an unfair tax burden on other states' citizens while gaining an unbalanced level of power over the Northern states based on a population which itself would have no representation. It was basically a statement: "Fine. You want to count people you don't allow to vote? You can't. If you want to count your numbers, then free those numbers and require them to pay taxes and allow them to vote." It was a not-very-subtle suggestion that slavery was and should be on-the-way-out. The North actually wanted NO such persons to be counted for representation; the 3/5ths Compromise was to appease both sides so as to get all the states to agree to the Constitution. It was a penalty on the Southern states, but one their representatives at the Convention could (begrudgingly) accept. But the incentive was there— "free ‘em, and they count as full persons, and your representation will go up."

Also, on the note about equal rights for women: The Constitution, as originally written, makes no distinction among the sexes at all. The Founders very specifically rejected terms like "man" or "men"— even those were often used generically at the time for all humans, male or female. Instead, the Constitution uses the gender-neutral terms "person," "persons" and "people." Where the male pronoun "he" or "his" appear, these are also actually gender neutral, as the English language has no third-person gender-neutral pronoun applicable to people— so the words "he" and "his" were understood in legal documents to apply to men or women equally. In essence, the US Constitution itself treated men and women as the same— and in fact, in some states well prior to the 19th Amendment women could indeed vote, and did. (Montana elected the first woman to Congress in 1916– Rep. Jeannette Rankin, who introduced the legislation that would eventually be 19th Amendment. If the Constitution had prohibited women from voting, she would never have been elected nor admitted to Congress in the first place.) But again, the determination of voting status was left to the states. The 19th amendment simply plugged that loophole.

In all other instances, the language is quite clear— the powers and rights of the people apply to women as equally as men (and vice versa)— and I dare say there is no serious contention on that point today. The ERA was not nor ever will be a necessary addition or complication to a document which is already quite clear on the point, if read with any understanding. The problem with adding too specific and explicit language to the Constitution is that it can imply that where other languages is NOT explicit that implied rights or powers therefore don't exist. That's a dangerous precedent to set, and not the purpose of the Constitution, which is to establish a "ground floor" upon which our society can stand, and from which we may argue, debate, discuss and enact such laws and rules as we feel are necessary at a given time— laws and rules which may be altered in the future, if the need for them fades away or subsequent generations change their opinions.
The Constitution is not "law" so much as it is a guarantor of law— it essentially puts forth, in John Adam's prescient term, that the US is and shall be "a nation of laws, not men." From it and within it, each generation has the freedom to determine what shall be its rules for living together as a common society— but that they may not simply do so with the will of mass, public whim, but only in forms that respect the freedoms of the minority— even if that minority is just one soul. But it is up to us, alive in our now, to work out the details for our generation, and hopefully act as wise guides for generations to come.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 9:25 a.m. PST

Parzival, your analysis of the "3/5 compromise" is spot on.
It does NOT say that a Black person is 3/5 of a human, but try to explain that to an outraged anti-constitution person. They don't want to listen.
All they say (shout?) is that "my" constitution says… To hell with the context, what it actually says, and the reality that it was to put a check on the power of slave owners.

Leaf fan11 Oct 2021 9:53 a.m. PST

Jefferson , the main author of the Constitution, believed strongly in both amendments for and changing the actual Constitution, if and when necessary

"Whatever be the Constitution, great care must be taken to provide a mode of amendment when experience or change of circumstances shall have manifested that any part of it is unadapted to the good of the nation. In some of our States it requires a new authority from the whole people, acting by their representatives, chosen for this express purpose, and assembled in convention. This is found too difficult for remedying the imperfections which experience develops from time to time in an organization of the first impression. A greater facility of ammendment is certainly requisite to maintain it in a course of action accommodated to the times and changes through which we are ever passing." --Thomas Jefferson to A. Coray, 1823. ME 15:488

"Time and changes in the condition and constitution of society may require occasional and corresponding modifications." --Thomas Jefferson to Edward Livingston, 1825. ME 16:113

"Nothing is more likely than that [the] enumeration of powers is defective. This is the ordinary case of all human works. Let us then go on perfecting it by adding by way of amendment to the Constitution those powers which time and trial show are still wanting." --Thomas Jefferson to Wilson Nicholas, 1803. ME 10:419

"Though we may say with confidence, that the worst of the American constitutions is better than the best which ever existed before in any other country, and that they are wonderfully perfect for a first essay, yet every human essay must have defects. It will remain, therefore, to those now coming on the stage of public affairs, to perfect what has been so well begun by those going off it." --Thomas Jefferson to T. M. Randolph, Jr., 1787. ME 6:165

"We must be contented to travel on towards perfection, step by step. We must be contented with the ground which [the new] Constitution will gain for us, and hope that a favorable moment will come for correcting what is amiss in it." --Thomas Jefferson to the Count de Moustier, 1788. ME 7:13

Trajanus11 Oct 2021 9:59 a.m. PST

Many things that people find "wrong" with the process is not due to the constitution itself, but the rules that the House and Senate themselves have adopted to do business. The Filibuster, for example, is not in the Constitution. It's a Senate rule.

This is a strong point OFM. Politicians concept of what is or is not covered be the Constitution varies with the issue in hand and the point they wish to make. Quite often as a pro or con on exactly the same point depending on the wind direction.

House and Senate rules are often a joke, introduced on a purely partisan basis, that then acquire the Kudos of a permanent Article.

The filibuster is one such, particularly after acquiring a cover all in terms of 60/40 voting. Now a narrow Senate majority means little or nothing in terms of the representation of the National Vote.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 10:28 a.m. PST

Wipe out the Filibuster "rule" and see how much the Majority likes it when they become the Minority. grin
I actually like it, to a degree. It limits how much mischief Congress gets done.

BTW, "Cloture" used to require 66 votes to stop debate. Then a compromise limited it to 60.

Back in the Good Old Days, a Senator had to actually take the floor and speak against a bill. Or, read the Encyclopedia about wombats. None of this nonsense of simply declaring that you can't get 60 votes! Kids today. Don't want to do the hard work.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 10:56 a.m. PST

Jefferson , the main author of the Constitution, believed strongly in both amendments for and changing the actual Constitution, if and when necessary

Jefferson was not the 'main author' of the Constitution. In point of fact, he was not a member of the Constitutional Convention. He was in France as ambassador. So, he didn't write it. In point of fact he originally was against it as it not only named a chief executive, it gave that chief executive appropriate powers.

Madison along with Hamilton and John Jay were the 'authors' of the US constitution. Madison was responsible for the Bill or Rights.

Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence with help from Franklin and John Adams.

Personal logo enfant perdus Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 11:17 a.m. PST

Fun fact: the Supremacy Clause was proposed by Luther Martin, a strong opponent of a powerful central government. He meant it as a poison pill, assuming that both Anti-Federalists and luke-warm Federalists would be repulsed by the idea and, ideally, derail the process of writing a new Constitution. It passed unanimously and Martin would eventually walk out of the Convention and work strenuously against ratification.

Politicians have always been politicians, including the sainted Founders. It also is an amusing example when one argues the Framers' Intent.

Perris070711 Oct 2021 11:33 a.m. PST

Well. This has been interesting! Quite a good read. Thanks for both enlightening and entertaining.

Oddball11 Oct 2021 12:17 p.m. PST

Cut Leaf Fan some slack on who wrote what for foundation of the States, he's Canadian.

Canadians really didn't want any part of what was going on to the south.

They threw back 3 or maybe 4 major US invasions in 2 different wars.

If that doesn't say "Leave me out of it" I don't know what does.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 12:50 p.m. PST

By the way, and again despite the claims of anti-Constitutionalists, the Constitution has no statement whatsoever regarding race, save for the reference to "Indians," which was not so much a racial term but a political one— the Indians in question being legally citizens of different governments which were recognized as nations separate from the United States, even if contained within its borders. It could well have said "Frenchmen" or "Dutchmen" if there had been large independent governing bodies of such within the claimed territories of the United States.
There is otherwise no distinction offered among any race, white, black, asian, or any other.
There were, by the way, numerous free black citizens in the United States at the time of the AWI, who held voting privileges identical to their white neighbors. George Washington had black citizens voting for him to be President as well as white ones. (And here's a kicker for y'all— in 1860 there were black slaveowners in the South with voting privileges the same as white men— and they voted for secession, too. They were rare, but they existed, and were very wealthy. And yes, they were just as horrible to their slaves as anyone else; in some cases, notoriously worse.)

I'm not saying there wasn't racism present when the Constitution was written, or that the various Founders didn't hold racist views; there was, and many did. But it was neither ubiquitous nor universal, and was not actually in what they voted for as the law of the land! And of course, the only passage that the anti-Constitutionalist point to as racist— the 3/5s passage— was repealed a hundred and fifty years ago via the amendment process, rendering their illogical claim even more empty.

Trajanus11 Oct 2021 2:24 p.m. PST

"Wipe out the Filibuster "rule" and see how much the Majority likes it when they become the Minority."

Well they would have to suck it up wouldn't they. It wouldn't be any worse than now, where you can win a General Election. Have a majority in both The House and Senate and still have the Senate Minority mess you around because they are not Minority enough!

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 4:10 p.m. PST

" because they are not Minority enough!"

Meaning one doesn't like the idea that such things are in place to cool the jets of Mob Rule (in either direction, I might add).

The majority isn't always right, and often it is wrong. If we can't learn that from history, we aren't learning.

But I contend that as things are currently done, the distance between the elected representatives and the people has grown too great. The things that the majority in Congress want often differ greatly to the things the majority of the citizens want (as repeatedly shows up in polling). And I say that without singling out one party or POV over any other.

Now, we are not supposed to have Mob Rule— else there would be no need for a bicameral Congress. The Senate was supposed to be the deliberative body that put the brakes on the rash immediacy of the House— the saucer in which the hot tea of legislation cools, as someone once said.
The Senate is also supposed to be the body which represents the long-term interests of the individual States, as the House is supposed to be the representative of the Popular Will, and the President is supposed to represent both (the origin of the Electoral College, and in fact the very reason for it). Unfortunately, we've lost that element— the Senators are no longer answerable to the legislatures and governors of the various states, and instead have become increasingly representative of the population centers of the states, and not the states themselves. This is dangerous, because it places too much power in the urban areas, and weakens the absolutely necessary power of the rural areas— a very dangerous thing indeed, for it is not the urban areas which provide the populace with food. But I digress…

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 4:14 p.m. PST

Of the four major pieces of the US government, only ONE -- the House -- was directly elected by the people. And was given the power of the purse and impeachment, the two biggest powers for controlling the others. Of course the House, as a big committee, is also the one that has the hardest time ACTING, USING its power.

The other three were either elected indirectly -- Pres by EC and Senate by state legislatures -- or not elected at all (courts).

That is a good indicator of the degree to which the Founders wanted democracy. They didn't, much. "Your People, sir, is a great beast!" Hamilton to Jefferson

One might suggest that our present difficulties stem from introducing more democracy into the system than its designers thought prudent?

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 4:28 p.m. PST

As the Senate was supposed to be the brake on the hotheads in the House, the Filibuster is the brake on the hotheads in the Senate. It's not in the Constitution, though. It's a fortuitous rule that was started for racist reasons. Not all Filibusters are Jimmy Stewart noble, though. Far from it. But I would just love to see it done, for real. Who doesn't want to see 84 year old Grassley, or 83 year old Feinstein filibustering on the floor for 15 hours, not allowed to take a break? That would certainly work out to self imposed term limits.

((I could say something like Pelosi is the extra constitutional brake on AOC, but I won't. That would be political. grin))

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 4:30 p.m. PST

It looks like doc fears Democracy. Look at the mess we have when the People get to vote!

Zephyr111 Oct 2021 9:11 p.m. PST

If I could go back in time and tell the Founders one thing to put in the Constitution, it would be:

"Congress shall pass no law that exempts itself from the law it passes for the People"


Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 10:01 p.m. PST

One of the processes for passing amendments starts in the individual States, and essentially involves shoving it down Congress's throat.
Unfortunately it involves the extremely dangerous "convention of the states".

"Mister Newt's" incoming class might have done it, but they got too caught up in the perks of being Congress things.

Trajanus12 Oct 2021 1:27 a.m. PST

It maybe more noticeable, as there are less Members of the Senate than the House but it strikes me that over time, Senators have become more interested in being Senators than anything else.

Re-Election is everything.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2021 5:37 a.m. PST

Of the four major pieces of the US government…

There are only three-the three branches of government are executive, legislative, and judicial.

The House and the Senate together are the Congress, the legislative branch of government.

I guess I'm not surprised that you didn't know this.

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