During the first Reagan administration, there was a pundit-driven propaganda campaign favoring a new Constitutional convention. Many conservatives, and even a few lefties (including Gore Vidal) supported the idea. I found the notion horrifying. It was easy to guess the kind of people who might attend such a convention. Jeane Kirkpatrick, David Stockman and Pat Buchanan rewriting the fundamental laws of the land? No thanks.
Today's attendees might well be even worse. (Frankly, I'd much prefer Pat Buchanan to, say, Michelle Bachmann.) And yet we are entering times when such a revolutionary step might become thinkable.
So let's start thinking about it. How would you reframe the most basic laws governing the United States?
One particularly thorny issue concerns freedom of speech. I like the mad jumble of widely varying opinion available on the internet, where you can find far-rightists, far leftists and everything in between. But in other media, money rules, which means that the spectrum of permitted opinion usually runs from right to righter. Freedom of the press belongs to the guy who owns a press, as the old axiom has it. How do we fix that situation?
Should we have a unicameral legislature? Greater direct democracy? A division of duties between a head of government and a head of state who represents the nation at ceremonial occasions? Should corporations continue to be seen as persons? Should Supreme Court Justices continue to be appointed for life? (Thirty years ago, most conservatives would have screamed "NO!" Now, not so much.) How should elections be financed? Should there be an electoral college? Should health care be part of the Constitution? Should the Constitution recognize a distinction between finance capital and industrial capital?
How would you run the zoo?