The 28th Amendment: We the people are faced with a government that is gridlocked and incapable of governing. No matter who we elect, no matter how inspirational the ideas, no laws will be passed, no problems will be resolved, nothing will get done. No one believes any longer in the possibility of compromise and good governance. Our political system has deteriorated into a system of legalized bribery and extortion. Lincoln famously observed that Republics do not last, often they break apart under the stress of factionalism. Our Republic is in the process of breaking apart due to factionalism, political dis-function, and economic inequality. We are declaring by our presence here today that it is our intent to publish a list of common sense reforms and laws to rally around the greatest number of supporters to fix this sad state of affairs. These reforms and laws are the basis of a political movement of civil disobedience and public action against our government. Voting by itself will not fix the problems that confront us. We do not intend to destroy this system, but to achieve reform and break three decades of gridlock we intend to bring this government to its knees by our refusal to participate or cooperate. We publically reject all violence against persons and property. We declare our movement as peaceful, but do not mistake our intent, we will bring this system to its knees, to the very brink if necessary, in order to reform and preserve our Democratic Republic. This movement will march in protest, it will engage in work stoppages, in sick outs, it will obstruct the wheels of the machinery of government in order to save that government from itself. We will support and vote for like-minded politicians who formally agree to support our platform of reforms. Finally, we will engage in a boycott, a tax revolt, to force our government to conform to our will, our just cause. All domestic political reforms herein are designed in hope of stopping a collapse of faith in our public institutions, and breathing new life into our dying Democracy. We feel that a divide and conquer strategy has been used against all Americans and with that in mind we have crafted reforms that bring together both liberal and conservative voters to solve some of the problems that confront us, and to enshrine an amendment to the Constitution that forever ends our current system of legalized bribery and extortion that is killing our Democracy. The 28th Amendment will mandate public funding for all federal and state elections, and in doing so will permanently remove money as a negative influence on lawmakers.
The Platform consists of a constitutional amendments and over a dozen laws. The Constitutional Amendment provides for the public funding of elections, gun ownership rights, gay rights, and revoking birthright citizenship. The platform of reforms are centered upon Tea Party inspired VAT tax, Black Lives Matter civil rights reforms, free junior college, Occupy Wall Street reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act, a $15/hr. Minimum Wage, one year government service at 18, a women’s health initiative, internet users bill of rights, fair and just immigration reform, employment upon demand, a national energy plan, and a national industrial and trade policy to put America back to work.
The amendment and platform function as the basis for our mass protests. We will vote for these reforms, but we will also engage in civil disobedience. The US constitution that is purposefully vague designated a state that evolves and is self-correcting. The Constitution is referred to as a living document because it evolves and is reinterpreted by each new generation. In the beginning there were no political parties as we know them, nor any mention of them in the founding document. Running for office was a no holds barred anything goes endeavor that featured the Founding Fathers engaged in negative campaign tactics that might make even modern practitioners of the art blush. The current state of political parties and the legislative process finds a deadlock that ensures little or nothing will get done. The term banana republic comes to mind with their examples of ossification, corruption and dis-function. This cannot be the future our founders had in mind. Our institutions are in a crisis that no one seems to be able to answer. It is time again for the Constitution to evolve.
“Mankind is born free and everywhere he is in chains.” The rise of transnational corporations, international financial institutions, and other supranational entities dwarf our public institutions in their wealth, political power, and unchecked influence upon our lives. It has been repeatedly stated by many social scientists for over a generation that transnational institutions would increasingly control our lives, and that eventually governments would become no more than a fig leaf for lending legitimacy to their larger designs. In an age of repeated epic financial fraud and collapse, and wars without end, we increasingly realize we are no longer in control of our own destiny. African American and Hispanic working class people have seen all the economic gains of the last generation wiped out in 2008 in the wake of the largest financial fraud in history. Economic social justice has been set back twenty years. The destruction of the working class in America has led to at least half a million deaths by middle aged white Americans, most of these deaths by suicide. This mass die off is without precedent in the entire world and is similar to the demographic catastrophe of HIV. It is clear that this economic violence is just the beginning. The standard American model of a robust middle class has largely given way or is in the process of giving way to a South American model of a few fabulously wealthy families and a population mostly composed of low wage “slaves”. It is clear under these new circumstances that a Republic cannot prevail and that authoritarian government is the default setting for the future. A system of such inequality and basic unfairness can only be sustained by violence, the kind practiced by a police state upon its own people, similar to regimes in the south. This probably includes the widespread use of torture and death squads to intimidate the masses. If the exact form of the South American model is not used here, it can be sure that some approximation of it will come to pass. This awful model is very widespread across the face of the earth, and has been for a very long time. The US has historically been seen by the rest of the world as a bulwark against the triumph of this onerous model that moves humanity towards a perpetual state of despair without hope of deliverance. Even those who condemn US foreign policy in strident terms, often inquire with their next breath about the possibility of obtaining a visa to live and work here. As Lincoln observed, we truly are the last best hope of the human race. We did not conceive, nor originate this system that brings hope; we have inherited it from those who came before us. It did not come cheap, for often they purchased it at the cost of their lives.
I have come here not to castigate the current generation, nor to praise it, but merely to map out a manner of keeping what we have been given. It is difficult to know where to turn or how to answer questions that seem to have no easy answers. In the words of the poet, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.”
Our institutions and leaders do not seem up to the task for reasons that are not entirely their fault. The fault is not in our stars dear friends, but within ourselves. We have participated in the divisions and mistakes that are leading us down a path to decay and collapse. Happily since we are largely the cause of our own problems in life, then by definition we are also the answer to the problems seemingly without solutions. Democracy was enshrined on the plains of Marathon in a desperate battle between the independent city states of Greece and the super power empire that marched to deliver their destruction and submission. The shared sacrifice of the wealthy land owners and the poorer citizenry sealed a bargain, and without that social compact of shared sacrifice this is not a system of government that can long endure. The social compact has been broken and it must be renewed.
The corrupting influence of money upon the political process was acknowledged and dealt with 100 years ago. The Progressive Movement curtailed the worst abuses of the Gilded Age, and set in motion the zenith of American power and influence on the world stage in what came to be known as the American Century. No person or nation is completely selfless and without fault, but the defeat of Fascism and Communism cannot be argued away. We have saved the world on more than one occasion, so let us on this hopeful new day go to the trouble of saving ourselves. There is nothing new under the sun. The historian tells us how great nations and empires rise and fall, it is no great mystery. Simplified and condensed, the elite take the opportunity to garner the lions’ share of resources within their society for themselves. The term used is rent seeking behavior. The Ottoman Empire decayed because the administrators of the realm changed the rules to allow their children to inherit their power and wealth. The French kings sold off the rights to tax the citizenry to an aristocracy that made themselves immune from taxation, and slowly bled the populace dry. To put the problem in modern terms, no one can resist the power to print money. Political power confers the right of financial entities to violate the basic tenants of fairness and common sense in order to make vast sums of money in schemes that are eventually bound to fail. The term “Casino Capitalism” is appropriate. Political power purchased with the wealth earned in this manner allows them to ignore the laws and rules we all play by. These institutions become much wealthier; they then use that wealth to purchase more political power that in turn leads to increased wealth. It is a feedback loop that seems to have no end; however everything must end, witness the Ottoman Empire and the French Aristocracy.
Blame your representatives all you want for this deplorable state of affairs, it is mostly our fault. The first step towards solving a problem is to admit it exists. Next one must accept responsibility for the problem. Finally, we the people must take the necessary steps to solve the problem. Our political system has evolved into a system of legalized bribery and extortion. The fault is our own, as is the responsibility to correct the error. We are now going to do more than vote. Voting in the election will not reform the system. We are going to create a platform of various reforms that will unite us together in sufficient numbers to change our entire political culture. To succeed we must do more than vote, we must engage in protest, civil disobedience, and economic boycott.
The 28th Amendment will publically fund all state and federal elections, not to exceed a reasonable number of candidates per office. Elections will not exceed one year. All public officials who solicit or accept bribes shall be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Current legislative and other favors for the understanding or accomplishment of future employment shall be adjudicated as bribery. All public business shall be transacted transparently on publically funded property using means paid for by the tax payer. These same communications and transactions of public business shall be made part of the public record within 12 years. Willful evasion of transparency and comprehensive record keeping will constitute a violation of law.
Gun Ownership Rights Amendment: The Second Amendment is open to interpretation and is thus tenuous in its provisions. The original language refers to a militia since there was no standing army. It is only a matter of time before the current legal interpretation is changed and current gun ownership rights are curtailed. This Amendment to the Constitution shall codify for all time that adult citizens shall enjoy the right of firearm ownership. A gun safety test and written test shall be given, not to exceed the rigors of the standard automobile license written and driving test. A state ID will be issued. Persons who wish to own present day legal military rifles may do so, but must pay a standard yearly fee, not to exceed the standard cost of the weapon. All persons who have completed US military training and service are exempt from paying said fee. All gun sales and thefts shall be reported. Cities with a population over 100,000 persons shall prohibit the carrying of firearms of any kind, and may prohibit all firearm ownership, subject to a felony not to exceed five years for the first offense.
Approximately one out of every 25 people are not born heterosexual. They are born with a different sexual orientation. Throughout history these people have been forced into the shadows and persecuted. The United States of America at the behest of our citizens wishes to recognize these individuals as human beings created in the image of God, deserving of mercy, compassion, and above all, freedom. Gay Americans are our family members, our neighbors and co-workers, and our friends.
Gay Rights: All citizens are due equal protection under the law, including all persons of differing sexual orientations. This shall include freedom from employment discrimination, as well as housing, education, and all aspects of public and private life. Sexual relations between consenting adults shall not be criminalized. (This shall not be construed to include acts of violence that involve serious injury or death).
The primary responsibility of any government is to the safety and wellbeing of its citizens. It is in the interest of the United States and its citizens to control our borders and to confer citizenship as a privilege and a precious commodity that shall not be conferred lightly. If US citizenship is a thing that is given out for free, then eventually it will have no value. To this end we declare ourselves intent upon putting a premium on US citizenship. Under English Common Law native born children of parents, either invading the country or who were enemies of the country, were not natural born subjects because the birth lacked allegiance and obedience to the sovereign.
Birthright Citizenship Amendment: Birthright Citizenship is revoked: All persons born to American citizens are naturalized citizens. All persons born in the US to persons who are not American citizens are not automatically naturalized citizens. Citizenship is a right and a precious commodity that shall not be conferred without cause and due process.
Many people in the US wish to deport all of the nearly 12 million persons here illegally. This mass expulsion is not going to happen. The Alhambra Decree in 1492, by the king Ferdinand of Spain, ordering the expulsion of Jews from Spain was a cruel act and a detriment to Spanish culture and society. In 1972, Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, ordered the expulsion of his country's Asian minority, in effect the wholesale ethnic cleansing of Indians, giving them 90 days to leave Uganda. The loss of 1% of the population that represented 20% of the economy was an economic disaster. The United States of America will not follow in the footsteps of European kings and African dictators. We declare a determination to maintain the dynamic contributions from immigration while maintaining our quality of life and cultural identity to avoid Balkanization into separate societies.
The Southern border and other points of entry shall be secured against illegal entry. All persons here illegally shall register online within six months to be considered for naturalization. All persons here illegally for more than ten years who have learned English, established a credible work history, and have shown a willingness to assimilate into American life shall be naturalized within two years. A national registry shall be created to establish legal citizenship and all employers shall determine legality in good faith. Failure to do so incurs a heavy fine and jail time for repeat offenses. All minors here illegally who have completed five or more years in the school system shall receive citizenship pending relevant issues related to criminal activity. All said minors who have since reached legal age shall be granted citizenship under the same caveat, that they are not involved in a criminal organization, are not a habitual criminal, and are not a ward of the state, meaning they have a work history, are financially self-supporting and are not dependent upon the welfare state for subsistence.
It is vitally important to the security of the state and its citizens that a large racial underclass of poor disenfranchised and alienated people shall not be created. This process is known as Balkanization and is a danger to a free society. Cultural assimilation, intermarriage, education, and upward social mobility are the keys to avoiding the creation of separate societies that may at some point conflict. These four aspects shall be encouraged and observed wherever possible in US policy pertaining to immigration. Future immigration policy shall be predicated upon entry of people with a necessary cross section of educational attainment and job skills. In order to create a tight job market and raise wages it will be necessary to discourage and preclude entry of unskilled and semi-skilled workers.
In summation, The 28th Amendment is the shortest route to regaining balance within the political system, and thereby changing the emphasis to the public good. The Amendment secures the rights of gun ownership for all time while protecting the lives of city dwellers and police forces from being under constant threat due to widespread firearm possession and use. Gay citizens are forever afforded equal rights and protect under law within the Constitution. Birthright citizenship law is reformed and brought into line with the laws of the other major developed nations as part of a just and fair immigration initiative. There are no radical revisions. The 28th Amendment will lead to future reforms in the interests of the people and not those of the oligarchy. The other reform proposals are online for all who wish to read them in more detail. Our labor has value, our lives have value. We refuse to be low wage slaves, we demand social and economic justice. We demand that this country and its leaders live out the words and promises of its founding principles, live out these high ideals in concrete deeds and laws. We are here together to take back control over our lives and our destiny.
Marshall Gregory Thomas