What I think we need

us-constitution-pdf-logoI frequently see “What we should really do is…” memes, and talk about related things. Some of my most popular posts are related to ‘culture war’ issues like Duck Dynasty and Cliven Bundy. Still, what I think we really need as a people has little to do with these issues directly. That’s because I think they are symptoms of a deeper problem, of certain deficiencies in our laws and oversights in our Constitution which, with 235 years of hindsight, we ought to fix. They aren’t immediately obvious, so they aren’t controversial. They don’t get people juiced up and don’t Rock The Vote, but I think they can really help. Here they are:

Amendment XXVIII (28) [Truth in Politics]

Section 1.

Freedom of speech shall not protect false statements by the President, Vice President, Congressmen, Senators, or any other official appointed or elected within any branch of government or any candidate for such office, for statements made in the public interest or in the course of a campaign to be elected to those positions, except where there is a risk of substantial harm for doing so or substantial risk of revealing state secrets. Issue campaigns; lobbying efforts on behalf of or directed toward public officials or the public as a whole; and support for news media shall be public and transparent; all donations shall be registered with an appropriate body and be in plain view of the public, and be made in a manner that it is clear and unambiguous.

Section 2.

All campaigns for office within the Federal government shall only be funded by the Federal government; no private donations of any kind shall be allowed. The funds for such campaigns shall be divided equally among the Executive and Legislative branch, then equally among the Senate and House of Representatives. Equal funding shall then be given to all candidates for office within the Legislative Branch as are registered by that state’s laws, and who appear on the ballot for office within that state. Candidates must appear on the ballot of a number of states such that the total population of those states is a majority of the national population, or the collective electoral votes is a majority of all electoral votes, in order to receive this funding when they are a candidate for a position within the Executive Branch.

Amendment XXIX (29) [Representative government]

Section 1.

Each candidate for President shall be entitled to choose a number of electors in each state equivalent to the percentage of voters within that state who cast ballots in favor of that candidate.

Section 2.

The House of Representatives shall be drawn from districts that shall themselves be composed of either a whole municipality or a contiguous collection of whole counties. The former shall be used for all municipalities where the population exceeds that state’s number of representatives divided by its whole population. The latter method shall be applied such that their total population is as near as possible to the number of representatives in that state divided by its whole population. When the former is used, an electoral method allowing for multiple winners of a single election shall be used, and applied in a manner that faithfully represents the wishes of as many voters as possible. These districts shall be redrawn by the foregoing rules on a decennial basis, pursuant to the results of the Census.

Amendment XXX (30) [Constraining government abuses]

Section 1.

State secrets shall, when alleged at trial as a defense for the actions of a government actor and as requested by the presiding judge, be revealed by the government to the judge in private, to the extent they are relevant to the events of the trial. If the judge does not meet the qualifications for such, then the case shall be either moved to a more appropriate body if possible, or declared a mistrial. In the case of a jury trial, the judge shall instruct the jury on the disposition and applicability of such secrets if so ordered.

Section 2.

The laws, rights, and procedures within this Constitution shall not be amended or restricted during wartime except through explicit declaration by Congress, and only within and in furtherance of that declared war. Congress may further only declare war against an established nation; all other actions shall be police actions, and shall thereby respect the laws of the nations they occur within if those nations are not subject to a declared war with the United States. When it is reasonable to do so, the rights and protections of the Constitution shall be afforded to all persons interacting with the Federal government, regardless of citizenship status, place of residence or any intrinsic factor.