Americans clearly are capable of being outraged. Missing, however, is a sustained, vibrant demand for deep reforms of our political and government system. You hear a lot about populist rage these days, especially connected to the AIG bonus debacle. But populist rage as a reflection of class conflict and anger about our economic meltdown does not necessarily make a political revolution. The saddest thing about Obama winning the presidency was that his change message drained what might have been sufficient national energy for true revolutionary political reforms.
With the Bush-corrosion of our Constitution and collapse of the economic system after it had been exploited by the rich and corrupt, what better time for revolution? Instead, we got a president with a glib tongue, a terrific smile and a deep commitment to the two-party plutocracy and corporate state. Obama is no populist, not even close. Nor is he a genuine reformer. At best, he is a master exploiter of populism.
Obama was and still is a master of masquerading as just a regular guy. Even now, after making more than $8 million from his books, and even before when his wife made a huge salary and he lived in a million dollar house, and he reaped the many benefits of an elite Harvard Law School ticket to success. Totally consistent with his plutocratic and elitist background he has packed his administration with the same Harvard, elitist and Wall Street crowd that pumped many millions of dollars into his campaign and did nothing to stop the mortgage crisis and economic meltdown.
He has shown absolutely no courage or interest in standing up to the status quo, earmark-driven, and corrupt Democratic leaders in the House and Senate who, in large measure, share blame for the nation’s economic crisis, especially its roots in the mortgage insanity and under-regulation of the financial sector that they nurtured. Obama should have rejected the spending bill with tons of pork earmarks. But in reality Obama has shown no taste for standing up for principles. He had no problem with a Treasury Secretary that was a blatant tax dodger. Almost on a daily basis there is news about decisions being made that resemble Bush policies. Rather than shunning signing statements when Congress sends him bills, so abused by Bush, Obama immediately issued his own one.
The spending of the nation’s debt-based wealth on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue with no end in sight, despite the painful economic meltdown and mind-boggling deficit spending. When it comes to the wars and domestic problems, he seeks success through massive spending rather than through structural and systemic reforms.
Here is the problem: All the venom aimed at AIG and its bonus-receiving employees served more as a distraction than a viable political strategy to reform our government. True, there has been terrible economic warfare by the rich and corrupt in government and the private sector that has savaged ordinary Americans. Our corrupt and dysfunctional government did not protect us. We need a Second American Revolution. We need deep structural reforms to make our current MISrepresentatives obsolete and return our government to us. For this to happen we must not let ourselves be deceived by lying politicians. We must recognize that voting and elections have NOT worked effectively. We must look to our Constitution for the legal path to revolution.
The Founders anticipated that Americans would eventually lose confidence in the federal government. They created a never-used option in Article V. Never used because Congress has refused to obey the Constitution and gotten away with violating it and their oath of office. That option is an Article V convention of state delegates that has the constitutional power to propose constitutional amendments, only amendments, no wholesale rewriting of the Constitution. The one and only requirement in Article V is that two-thirds of state legislatures must apply to Congress for a convention. In fact, there have been over 700 such state applications from all 50 states.
Why no Article V convention? Because Congress and virtually every politically powerful group on the left and right oppose and fear an Article V convention. Why? Because clearly such a convention which is outside the control of Congress, the President and the Supreme Court has the constitutional authority to discuss and propose amendments that could truly reform our government to remove corruption and make it much more equitable and effective for we the people. Where is the public outrage over Congress disobeying and disrespecting the Constitution? There is far less to fear from a convention than from maintaining the status quo two-party plutocracy.
If you believe in our Constitution, if you liked the change rhetoric of Obama, if you are furious about the economic meltdown, and if you see the need to seriously reform our government, then examine the materials at foavc.org and become a member of the nonpartisan Friends of the Article V Convention. Help make Congress obey the Constitution and give us the convention we have a constitutional right to have. If you see yourself as a patriot, dissident or activist, join our effort.
[Joel S. Hirschhorn is a co-founder of Friends of the Article V Convention; contact him through through www.delusionaldemocracy.com.]