Opinion

Amending the U.S. Constitution to Protect our Republic

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Posted: Nov 15, 2018 2:35 PM
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Amending the U.S. Constitution to Protect our Republic

The time has come for a new Amendment to be added to the U.S. Constitution in order to protect our Republic from an unrecognized yet significant rising danger. If we don't do so (and soon), we may one day experience our own version of a Caesarean dictatorship.  Ancient Rome was a republic as well...for centuries in fact...before the Caesars subverted it into a bloodline monarchy.  As unlikely as this risk may seem in America today, our increasing political polarization may be foreshadowing something ominous.  And if such did transpire, it would come with political assassinations and our own unique versions of Caligula, Nero, and Commodus.

We certainly don't want such a future for our children and grandchildren.  By adopting a simple but profound preventative measure now, we can protect our Republic for centuries to come. 

Let me explain the nature of this pressing issue:

For the first 175 years of our Republic since George Washington's 1789 inauguration, the risk of a bloodline monarchy was minimal.  The presidencies of John Adams and son John Quincy Adams were the only small hint of danger that went unrepeated until the modern era.  However, since the 1960s, we have witnessed an alarming rise in the inclination toward embracing family political dynasties.  This rise coincides directly with the invention and proliferation of television, mobile phones, and the Internet.  Mass-media now projects everywhere non-stop, creating a near-insurmountable name-advantage for political incumbents.  It's one thing when we are talking about an incumbency advantage for 535 members of Congress who are relentlessly jockeying against each other for influence.  It's quite another matter when we are talking about the President, an office of one and America’s head of state.  

This incumbency name-advantage is magnified a billion-fold at the presidential level – thus the reason the same family names keep re-appearing on our presidential tickets.

The first political dynasty to surface in this mass-media era was John F. Kennedy and brothers Robert and Ted, followed by George H. W. Bush and sons George and Jeb, followed by Bill Clinton and wife Hillary.  The Kennedy, Bush, and Clinton families are all still vying for dynastic power.  An Obama dynasty may be in the offing as well – there is already talk of Michelle Obama running in 2020.  Likewise, a Trump dynasty may be imminent – and many believe this one would shatter the Republic.  Ivanka 2024?

America has gone from effectively no family political dynasties over its first 175 years...to perhaps five vying for power today.  This strangely echoes Ancient Rome near the end of its republic, when powerful families led by Caesar (Julius), Pompey, Crassus, Antony, Lepidus and Caesar (Augustus) were competing for power. 

Furthermore, America's fascination with the British Monarchy continues to grow – an ironic trend, considering that the American Revolution was fought to escape this same monarchy.  It would seem that, deep down, many Americans want a monarchy of their own – perhaps as a reality show of sorts to watch.  The media ratings for Prince Harry's recent royal wedding support this suspicion.

Make no mistake, America’s flirtation with dynastic family rule is a slippery first step toward monarchy, and, potentially, dictatorship.  Did our Founding Fathers envision a bloodline monarchy in America?  Dynastic family rule?  A Juan Peron and Evita Peron couples-style of leadership?

Certainly not.  This is why we need to add an additional guardrail to our Constitution.  And there is precedent for doing so – Amendment XXII was adopted in response to President Franklin Roosevelt's four presidential terms and the monarchical danger such could pose to the Republic.

The crux of a proposed 28th Amendment for the protection of our Republic is simple, non-partisan, and holds sacred the 1776 and 1787 goals of preventing a monarchy or dictatorship from taking hold in America.  Likewise, this Amendment would prevent dynastic family rule, which emanates from name recognition and political connections, not from merit or ideas.  America wants the best leaders and ideas available – dynastic rule produces power-motivated leaders who circumvent the system by using their 'name' as their qualifier.

The United States is the richest, most powerful, and most innovative nation in the world, and is home to a population of 325 million people.  The notion that two of its presidents would (or should) ever need to descend from the same family is an arrogant power-grab by those who attempt it, and is ultimately dangerous to the viability of our Republic.  As such, I suggest:

Amendment XXVIII (proposed): "No two persons from an immediate family shall be elected (or appointed) as President or Vice President of the United States of America.  In this context, immediate family is defined as including spouses (previous and current), domestic partners (previous and current), parents (natural and adopted), children (natural and adopted), grandchildren (natural and adopted), and siblings (natural and adopted).  The spouses and domestic partners (previous and current) of children, grandchildren, and siblings are also included."

Some will argue this is unfair in America, where every citizen should be able to reach the highest office of the land.  Others will argue that these choices should be in the voter's hands.  There is merit to both arguments.  However, this is about protecting the viability of the American Republic...and there are precedents for adopting such safeguards:

U.S. Constitution (1787):  "No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

Amendment XXII (1951):  "No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once."   

These constitutional passages establish eligibility rules that disqualify more than 20 million U.S. citizens from ever becoming president, and likewise, eliminate choices from voter's hands – all in order to protect the Republic.

Amendment XXVIII would be simply doing the same, but in this case, would only disqualify a few hundred people.

For the long-term viability of our Republic, the adoption of this Amendment may prove essential.