Now that proposals to upgrade and strengthen our democracy are coming in, it’s time to explore HOW to implement proposals. There are three legal avenues available to we everyday Americans:

  • We can ask the President and Congress to pass better laws—and hope they do so. 
  • We can elect a new President and Congress—and hope they pass better laws. 
  • Or we can take the bull by the horns and upgrade the Constitution ourselves.

Understandably, many people prefer to leave the task to others—the President and the Congress—but that hasn’t produced the kind of upgrades most people seem to be interested in.

At the same time, the thought of amending the Constitution can seem like a Herculean task—even though it’s often not as hard and time consuming as many people think.

In matters of this importance, however, where We the People really do need to lay down some ground rules for our elected representatives, I believe it’s important that We the People step forward and upgrade our democracy by amending the Constitution ourselves.  I’m not convinced that continuing to rely on others is the most powerful or effective way to strengthen our democracy for the following reasons.

1. Lack of Trust – The vast majority of Americans already disapprove of Congress (71%)[1], don’t believe members of Congress to tell the truth (65%)[2], and are convinced members of Congress are more committed to special interests, lobbyists and financial donors than to protecting their constituents (66%).[3]  I don’t think it makes sense to rely on a system that is held in such low esteem.

2. Lack of Results – Second, there is little or no evidence that Congress is committed to successfully addressing the critical issues that are most important to most Americans i.e. taking the money out of politics, requiring the truth, managing the budget, providing affordable health care, etc. So it also seems imprudent to me to entrust our future to a system with this track record.

3. Lack of Reliability – Third, we should not rely on Congress. Whatever Congress passes this year, Congress can revoke next year. Thus “Whatever Congress giveth, Congress can taketh away.”

4. Strengthening the American Democratic Muscle – Finally, when We the People don’t regularly exercise our democratic muscles, our democratic muscles become weaker and our democracy becomes subject to abuse. If We the People upgraded the process so that We the People could come together every year or so and explore possible upgrades to our democracy—with trustworthy information and free from special interests—I’m convinced we could make an enormous difference in the long-term health of our democracy—both for ourselves and for future generations.

Yes, there are some issues with our current amendment process—and I‘ll address them soon—so stay tuned!  Send me your thoughts!!  Thanks!!     

Blair Henry, Co-Founder

[1] Washington Post-ABC News poll
This Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted by telephone February 4-8, 2010, among a random national sample of 1,004 adults including users of both conventional and cellular phones. The results from the full survey have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, Pa.

[2] The Harris Poll. July 7-10, 2006.

[3] Diageo/Hotline Poll conducted by Financial Dynamics. Jan. 12-15, 2006.
If given a choice, which of the following groups of people do you think your member of Congress would be most likely to put first? If you absolutely had to choose one, which would it be?”  Special Interests-21%; Lobbyists-18%; Political Party Leaders-14%; Donors-13%; Constituents-12%.