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The Constitutional Apocalypse


#1

The Constitutional Apocalypse

Les Leopold

As Trump vilifies the press, the courts, immigrants, Muslims, Democrats, protestors and anyone who disagrees with him, it isn’t hard to imagine a modern day Mussolini... or worse. But, an even greater threat lies in the Republican’s march towards full control of state government. If they get there, they will have the frightening power to amend the Constitution into their own authoritarian image... or Ayn Rand’s.


#2

Ending the separation of church and state would basically mean the end the United States, even if the country retained its name, which actually makes less and sense as the we West Coast states and most of the Northeast states are less and less united with the states in between. I think the country would not hold together if such constitutional changes were made that are suggested here Eventually the West Coast states and the Northeast states and perhaps Minnesota and Illinois would find a way to merge with Canada, making the merged country a super economic powerhouse, and the rest of the states would probably degenerate into a highly religious third rate power, perhaps on par with Mexico.


#3

"How did we get here?" This section is a great improvement over Leopold's screed last week in which he seemed to blame all progressives who didn't appreciate the DNC's tactics or Hillary as a candidate. There are at least 2 posters here on Common Dreams who spout the same message daily, and who receive very few "Likes" for their efforts.

Mr. Leopold understates the possibilities of a Constitutional Convention, however. The last time the states convened was to "Improve" the Articles of Confederation. History shows that the Articles were totally thrown out and a completely new Constitution was enacted. Imagine that 38 or more Republican controlled states called for a Convention. Why would any of us think they wouldn't completely scrap our Constitution and start afresh with their own ideas.

That scenario scares me to death!


#4

When you consider that theocrat Pence is a heartbeat away from the Oval Office, its not hard to imagine the GOP "completely scrapping our Constitution and starting afresh". Just as the 1979 Iran revolution turned that nation into a theocracy ruled by radical Islam, the US would become a theocracy ruled by radical Christianity, with a tight church/state unity 180 degrees from the current separation of church and state.

In a nutshell...the US would become a neofeudal nation where the 1% own everything and the 99% own nothing.


#5

He's right of course. The people have the real power to change the system but it can't be only within the confines of the Dems like Bernie so hopes it will be. We really must join all the different groups under one banner to fight for the policies Les lists above. Ego's have to go and the leaders of these groups need to meet and join each other so that these protests have a direction and demands. I fully agree with this article.


#6

The professional pundits' everpresent advice >>> "We should...!"

Yeah we should, gee thanks. Here's my "We should...".

We should stop the republicans from taking over our democracy!

Um? Did my stating the obvious help any? I kind of think it didn't help all that much.

Lots of commenters like to make such pronouncements both professional and amateur. They say "We should..." and tell others what magically should be done. Yet did they elect the people's candidate when they had the chance? No, we ended up with the right wing billionaire bankers candidate instead.

With the characteristic aplomb of all professional pundits, the "We should..." crowd apologizes and then explains where their advice (back when) got it wrong and proceeds to inform us of what "We should..." do now without ever missing a stride.

Meanwhile... our country is undergoing an actual coup. We can hardly believe it and so the professional pundits all search for "official advice" - examples from the past that worked out and various safe suggestions that maintain not disrupt. Maintain not disrupt!

Deep down inside we all hope for more. The massive women's march erupted from what was really only a minimal amount of organizing. It marched from the heart and word of mouth was what had gotten it organized.

Now that is a - we should/we did. Stress on the We part. People marched because they felt it and wanted to be part of it. It was raw enthusiasm not slow planning that carried that day. People organized themselves. Anybody old enough to remember how that used to happen back in the sixties? That is the difference between "We do..." and "We should do..."! And I helped get the word out as an organizer of marches but we knew (those who organized) that it was word of mouth that made marchers come out.

All these leaders who didn't lead back when Bernie needed their help. They got on their pedestals and pontificated their objectivity ( and offered their bid towards being picked up by the moderate mainstream media etc.) about how they could be critical of the progressive candidate too. We needed organizers though instead.

Sure they came around though it was late in the game. So many are rubbing the grit from their eyes wondering at how they had become so totally mesmerized by Hillary, as if she qualified as a progressive simply because she was a woman. A woman who got paid $200,000 a speech from bankers and Wall St.

Does it sound like this reader is leery of the professional progressive pundit's prophesying as to what "We should..." do one more time?

How about these progressive pundits stop telling us what we should do because they can't really tell us what to do if you know what I mean! How about these pundits focus on taking down the republican stranglehold on democracy before it becomes solidified into fascism? Yeah gerrymandering and outright corruption and right wing agendas that restrict freedom and increase surveillance and all the rest.

Pundits unite!!! Get out there and DO something besides telling us what we should do.

"You should..."


#7

" So many are rubbing the grit from their eyes wondering at how they had become so totally mesmerized by Hillary, as if she qualified as a progressive simply because she was a woman. A woman who got paid $200,000 a speech from bankers and Wall St. "

Bingo! in my book in terms of general topic. The economic manipulations sold as "trade" going back to the first clinton and NAFTA ran the auto-erotics of full fledged corporatism up the flag pole to see how much of reality could be muddied. The answer? Tons, baby!! Too damn much! It has been a 4th-down pile-on and the mud is beginning to dry and crumble. "So many are rubbing the grit from their eyes"... yuppers, we're headed for economic eye flushing that will be much, much less painful if folks make clearing their vision a regular practice.


#8

We the People must give the large majority of Americans a political party whom they can identify with, whole heartedly.

A party free of corrupt politicians dedicated to putting all People of this country, the Planet that sustains us, and Peace here at home and all around the world, before Profits from any and all corporations.

I suggest we call this new party, 'The 99%.'

The 1% are doing just fine. Let the thousands of them belong to the Deceitful Democrats and the Wrecking Ball Republicans.

The other 200 million of us will then 'Make America Sane Again.'


#9

Just think, we might have continual exposure to an English translation of Mein Kampf in place of the United States Constitution with its Bill of Rights. The illegal, unconstitutional and misnamed Patriot Act will be upgraded to really have some teeth in it. Bush's no-bid KBR Concentration Camps will start receiving "guests."
* Then the US Fourth Reich will finally step out in its long quest for "Full Spectrum Domination" of the world through military and financial means. The PNAC will have won.
* On the other hand, perhaps the four hundred million Americans will awaken and take back what has been stolen by that gang of six and their five hundred accomplices, tear up that Patriot Act and the numerous other ruinous acts that have piggy-backed on it, get rid of the sock puppets in the government and elect actual representatives of We the People to serve as Congressmen and Senators. The Constitution could be put back, intact and functioning, in the Halls of Government.
* Finally, perhaps there could be an international tribunal such as the Nuremberg Tribunal, and "our" string of fascists could finally face justice.
;-})


#10

May I suggest Citizens Untied/United against the Juggernaut, the Tyranny, the Lies. Founded by William Kenney, Revolutionary, Soldier. Yes, a fantastical vision, Citizens Untied, I would call it a third (world political) party, a cannabis voting block, antipode to the Tea Party.
* citizenuntiedblog — Citizens Un-tied


#11

The author mentioned a lot of great things we can stand for.

But he left out the wars and out of control Pentagon spending.

That's a serious omission, or at least I hope it is an accidental omission.


#12

" defeated Clinton in the Democratic strongholds of Wisconsin,..." That statement bothered me quite a bit. If anything, Wisconsin has turned into a republican stronghold. I sure do not have any good explanation for why republicans control Washington and most states. My simple mind is not able to process this scenario.


#13

Constitutional rights are interpreted by the Supreme Court. Those interpretations can (and do) change with the times.

On Sen. Sanders -- it's complicated. Sanders dropped his former advocacy for democratic socialism during his campaign, essentially disappearing those who are worse off then minimum wage workers. The poor, and those who get why this is a critically important issue, noticed. Democratic socialism does include a legitimate system of welfare aid.

Those who aren't on the right wing were successfully split apart in the 1990s, middle class vs. poor, workers vs. the jobless. The past eight years confirmed that this split is permanent.


#14

"Hillary Clinton took $225,000 per speech from Goldman Sachs not because she was corrupt.."
Makes one wonder what you mean by 'corrupt". If Clinton was unaware that Wall St expected her to do its bidding -and screw the working stiff- she is worse than corrupt, she's brain dead. But she understood and she has taken part, a leading part, in the biggest shift of income and wealth from the American people to the tiny elite to which she aspires to be a part, in the history of humanity.
It is time that those who support the Democrats stopped voting for those like Clinton who pretend to be an opposition but throw one game after another, for reward. These guys make the BlackSox look clean and the Cities of the Plain strongholds of virtue.
And there are still commentators blaming Putin for the election loss: they should be celebrating the fact that workers in the rust belt finally lost patience with the parasites in the DNC.


#15

Mostly a sound analysis and call to action, but marred by three glaring omissions:

  1. Occupy was crushed by Obama working with the FBI and local police to infiltrate and literally crush its encampments, a thuggish, fascist tactic which should have turned all progressives against Obama.

  2. Bernie Sanders' chance for the nomination was sabotaged, as the leaks of Podesta's emails showed, by the DNC who still care more about their corporate and Wall St. funders than about the 99%.

  3. The Pentagon budget consumes 54% of the discretionary budget, and total militarist/imperialist spending is now more than one trillion dollars a year when the nuclear weapons part of the Energy Dept., budget, the military part of NASA's budget, the 17 intelligence agencies, and the DHS are included. This bloated imperial spending makes it impossible for a true safety net to exist in the U.S. Excluding the money and lives wasted on the global U.S. empire is another form of silo thinking.which limits progressive strategy. No true progressive supports imperialism, so it's about time we demanded an end to the empire of 800+ military bases in more than 80 nations, Specials Ops in more than 130 nations, drone assassinations, overthrows of elected governments, support for oppressive governments such as Saudi Arabia and Israel, and the current wars on seven Muslim countries. Those wasted, destructive spending priorities should be ended and those funds used here at home to build a bigger and better social safety net and transition to a sustainable, fossil-free and nuclear-free society and economy.


#16

Weird. I appreciated the analysis and especially the outline of ways to coalesce disparate progressive "silo" groups into a movement. You complain about pundits; so instead, enumerate your own ideas as to how we can become a force to be truly reckoned with


#17

Good article. Must have read my comment yesterday.:>)

I should point out how Mussolini and his corporatism were widely admited among the ruling elite at the time and some of FDR economic policies, like the NRA to name one, was inspired by him. Roosevelt himself called Mussolini “admirable” and professed that he was “deeply impressed by what he has accomplished.” Mussolini in kind returned the compliment. Churchill joined the party as well.

Regrettably, the War Against Fascism like so many other Wars Against Whatever ( drugs, cancer, crime, terror,,etc) , proved in the end to be a victory for fascism (whatever). Orwellian isnt it?


#18

Eliminating the exclusion of non progressives is the first step.


#19

As Endless War seeks no victory, other than Perpetuation of Money Influx into Profiteer's pockets, so does the Dem Party leadership seek no victory, other than the constant inflow of Campaign Money into THEIR pockets.


#20

There's a lot of good in this article. We're going to need an expert cat herder with tons of funding to gell all of this spontaneous activism into a determined, united social movement-- one with a simple message and a broad platform of reforms. We need a people's Gandhi in the worst way. Bernie showed us that the right message resonates. His defeat showed us that the DNC does not represent the interests of We the People.

We have awakened to a nightmare, and now it is time to realize that we can consciously control our actions in our dream state. We all sense that things have gradually gone horribly wrong in our country, that we have lost our way. We, and I'm not just talking about the left wing, need to really stop and consider what our society really is all about, and what common citizenship really means.

Trump has awakened millions of individual slumbering giants, and the big machine will chew us up each in our individual turns. I don't know who will lead us, but we have to be mentally prepared to get on board when that leadership with a genuinely progressive and inclusive platform emerges.

I don't know if there is a political solution to the corruption that has taken hold of our governing bodies. I have very sincere doubts that we can overhaul our system without bloodshed. However, we have to keep trying to be reasonable. We have to keep trying to use the tools that our colonial forefathers bequeathed us. We have to exercise our franchise.

In fact, we actually do need a Constitutional convention, but the 1% seem poised to beat us to the punch. We have to take stock of what kind of world our children will enter in a few short years, and we have to really stop and think about what it means to be a citizen of our great nation. It surely isn't hyper-individualism. It isn't every man for himself. Nobody gets everything they want, and everyone is going to have to pay their fair share. We have to share our common resources and we have to make painful sacrifices, indeed make uncomfortable lifestyle changes, for the good of the whole.

There's a lot of individual issues that will challenge us in the 21st Century, (and, personally speaking, with all due deference to the author, I think climate change, and how respond to it, will ultimately prove to be THE defining issue of our times. How we respond to it as individuals will reflect our values as a complex society.) We have to think very carefully about how to address the myriad complicated, and interwoven problems that we face today. One thing's for damned sure: Trump hasn't got the right answers. The establishment 1% aren't interested in changing the game-- except to solidify their profits and holdings.

In theory, this government was formed to serve and preserve the interests of We the People. In actuality, rich white men initially designed it to serve their own interests, but they left room for the rest of us to grow, prosper, and build a great nation together. We live in a different time in history with some of the same, but many different issues than were present in 1776. The issues we face today are much larger, and much more dangerous than they were 250 years ago. The current threat to our entire system of governance is a clear and present danger to us all-- that means the whole world, not just Americans. We have to look at what social programs work, and what ideas clearly don't, and we have to move forward, together, into a better future-- or our children won't have a country, or a world to inherit. Those are the stakes at hand.