I don’t care if members of Congress are Democrat, Republican, Independent , Liberal, Conservative, Progressive or whatever. The self-serving must stop.
March 14, 2010 — I received another viral e-mail this morning, one asking me to forward the same message on to at least twenty people. Perhaps you have received a copy of it yourself. It embodies a sentiment commonly expressed by persons who are opposed to health care reform. The message reads as follows:
“For too long we’ve been complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that
- Congress members can retire with the same pay after only 1 term.
- They don’t pay into Social Security.
- They specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (i.e. being exempt from fear of prosecution for sexual harassment).
Congress’s latest game is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform Bill being considered. This isn’t logical. We don’t have an elite that’s above the law.
I don’t care if members of Congress are Dem., Rep., Ind. , Lib., Con., Prog. or whatever. The self-serving must stop. The proposed 28th Amendment to the US Constitution (below) would do that. This is an idea whose time has come.
Proposed 28th Amendment to the US Constitution: Congress shall make no law applying to citizens of the USA that does not apply equally to Senators & Representatives; and Congress shall make no law that applies to Senators & Representatives that does not apply equally to citizens of the USA.
This is fair, to the point & non-partisan. The only ones who would be against it are members of the Congress!”
Sound reasonable? Sure it does. As Sara Palin, playing to the pent-up resentment of Tea Partiers, would say, “You betcha.” And, on the surface, I agree with the concept. But the author is wrong. More than just members of Congress would be against it. I am against it. I am against it as a priority at this time because it is unreasonable to expect Congress to ever consider even debating such an amendment? Read what Snopes.com has to say about it. The URL is http://www.snopes.com/politics/medical/28thamendment.asp.
It sounds good, much like the idea of term limits for Congress sounds good, but it’s nothing that the Congress of the United States would ever consider, many members thereof truly being self-serving as the author of the message has pointed out. So, the only way this, kind of common sense proposal for a Constitutional amendment can ever become law is by way of the grassroots alternative to amendments, a national convention such as is provided by Article V of the Constitution. But amending the Constitution this way is very, very difficult. In fact, it’s never happened. Congress has proposed amendments to the Constitution on several occasions, at least in part, because of the threat of an Article V convention. Rather than risk such a convention taking control of the amendment process away from it, Congress acted pre-emptively to propose the amendments instead. At least four amendments (the Seventeenth, Twenty-First, Twenty-Second, and Twenty-Fifth Amendments) have been identified as being proposed by Congress at least partly in response to the threat of an Article V convention.
So, argue about this first, Congress exempting themselves from laws and voting raises for themselves, and health care reform will never happen, nor would anything else in the public interest. Which, by the way, is exactly what the health insurance industry and Republicans, for purely political purposes, want. Looked at in the full light of day, this is just another salvo from the right aimed at sinking President Obama’s agenda for change.
Maybe if the Tea Party and the new Coffee Party combine their growing voices to lobby enough state legislatures, things like this will someday come to pass. But don’t hold your breath. In the mean time, let’s not inhibit progressives’ efforts to pass laws that will benefit all/most Americans, laws that will help to prevent the wholesale takeover of our One Nation Under God by corporate profit interests.
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