Discussion Week Eleven: Improving the Constitution
Use this thread to discuss and debate the following question: If you were a member of a new constitutional convention--like the one meeting in and prior to 1787 but meeting today--what specific changes would you suggest to the Constitution to make it better? Why?
As part of this assignment, look at the changes suggested by one of your peers and try to work through--in another, second post to the forum--the full ramifications for the change your peer suggests. Challenge their basic ides, their evidence, or the effects of the change they suggest..
Remember Jefferson's take on debate and Religion, try to understand where those you take on are coming from, be charitable, and, in your own writing, go beyond offering your opinions to give reasons, evidence, and facts to support why your reader should adopt your opinion.
This exchange is a tough one. Feel free to do external research on the net or by discussing the questions with friends, peers, and family. If you use someone else's idea, cite it in such a way that your readers can track down those you are reading. For instance, if you quote or use an idea you found online in another discussion of the Constitution, cite it by including a link back to the original.
Next week, plan to return to this thread and respond to two of your classmate's responses. In your responses, try to respond to someone's post who hasn't yet been responded to.
Re: Discussion Week Eleven: Improving the Constitution
It is clear that over the course of our history we have been faced with new advances in our society that have called for a change in our constitution. I can agree with many of these changes, as they have benefitted our country. On thing I would definitely want to add to the Constitution would be some form of restriction on the establishment of political parties. Our country should not be divided into different faction. This merely creates an us vs. them mentality. We have one group of politicians saying things should be this way, and another saying they should be that way. I have actually found that many people on both sides agree on a lot of the issues, it is merely fear mongering done by the politicians that make the average citizens clash. If we could come together as a country to find the most qualified group of individuals to run the country, instead of the most popular party at the time, I think we would see some real change. George Washington was opposed to political parties, because he knew the turmoil and division the caused amongst a country. We are suppoed to have a higher standard of everything in this country, including politics, however we are still using the same old political party system used by just about every nation. It is time to stop creating sides and realize that we are all on nation and we should be working towards bettering our nation as a whole, not working to make republicans lives harder and democrats lives easier or vice versa.
If I could change one thing to the Constitution I would make it so that one party could not control congress. Just before this most recent election the democrats controlled the House and the Senate. This allowed them to pass any law that they wanted because it would go through both parts of congress and then the President, who is also a democrat, would sign it into law. There was essentially no purpose to have any republicans, conservatives, liberals, or independents there because the democrats were able to take control. Let me ask you a question. Whats the difference between one person controlling a country or a bunch of the same people controlling it? Its exactly the same. And if you ask me its almost a dictatorship. Countless polls told them what the American public wanted and they did the complete opposite. I'm so pleased the American public spoke out to them this past Tuesday. They were able to waste money and pass bills that will never work, just cost billions of dollars. If it were up to me then there should always have to be a balance of power in congress.
The one thing that I would not mind changing about the Constitution is the voting age. I think that by my freshman year in high school I had a really good understanding about who was running for an election and what kind of ideas they had. When I was in high school, we would have mock elections for the real election taking place since we could not vote. If we were taught about elections and the candidates who were running in high school, then I do not see why we could not vote if we had our parents present. I understand that you have to be 18 before you can vote because you are legally an adult at that age, but I think it would be okay to let people who are in high school vote as long as they really understood the election and other authorities believed that they had the ability to make an important decision such as this one.
If there was one thing that I could change about the constitution it would be that one party did not control everything that happened in the Government. I feel that the country should be united as a whole and at this moment in time it is not. It is very hard to have a successful country when each party is not fighting for the same things. I feel that nothing will get accomplished our country as a whole does not fight together as one. There are many issues that need to be addressed at this moment in time and the things that are getting addressed are not the more important of the things to be accomplished.
Jeromy - I like that you want to change the factions such as political parties because this relates to what we were learning this week. However, I do not think this could ever be possible because if each candidate has different views, then there is always going to be a division of the people running for the election. If this is something that you would like to change, how do you think you could get others to follow this change?
i agree with kelsey I believe the voting age should be changed because I too in high school was well educated in any political candidate and party plat form since my high school history class required the students to be up to date on current potlitical events
If there was one thing that I could change about the constitution it would be giving the president more power, meaning letting him make some decisions on his own. A lot of time we know that the president does want to do something to help everyone but it does not pass the congress and it just does not happen. He should be able to make decisions without other people.
Re: Discussion Week Eleven: Improving the Constitution
Almira, while I agree that many times Congress does get in the way of progress, there is a very good reason the President cannot make a decision without it beign checked. Our system is based on fairness and the idea that no one part of the government has too much power, and cannot be checked by some other part. I do agree that we should come up with some way to get around the lunacy that is Congress sometimes, because they do have a way of rejecting the President's ideas on no real basis besides spite.
Kelsey- This is a good question, and in it lies another problem. How would I get people to go along with the idea of getting rid of political parties without creating some sort of political party of my own. The answer is that I honestly do not see a way of having our government without there being political parties, as there are always going to be dividing lines in any society.
One issue that I would suggest improvement on, is our system of representative democracy. One person is chosen in these high government positions to represent “we, the people.” Many of our representatives will serve for X amount of years after long and grueling campaigns, littered with scrutiny, lies, big payoffs, and false promises. They say that it's politics- well, it shouldn’t be. We have elected leaders, chosen to represent “we, the people”, and can be as crooked and corrupt as a common criminal. The whole process of campaign in itself is questionable. Right now, we need our voices to be heard, especially after the lessons the past years have taught us. We vote, and we wait, and we trust. That's all we can do.
I also think that there exists high government positions, besides the president's, that hold terms that are too long. Just as any position, there there are great minds. But, sometimes in a long battle, you loose touch with the outside.
Another would be with justice. In today’s judicial system, it seems that you are not really innocent until proven guilty in every case. When the words “plea bargain” is introduced, you are treated guilty irregardless. How is it that lawyers and judges can get away with intimidation and imposing harsh sentences as threat, in the name of a guilty plea? There is no justice there.
In my opinion, one of the things that I would include in the constitution if provided with the opportunity is to eliminate the formation of political factions. With a growing number of caucuses within the government, the people begin to focus more on the details of how to beat the other political party out of the running and make their position the main one in government. The issue of coming together for the betterment of society has been put on the back burner, as many issues go unsolved while the main focus switches to creating the most constructive and convincing argument why “this “ party needs to assume control of the House. This is easily noted as each election rolls around—people walk into the voting booth and generate a straight ballot just because they affiliate themselves with a particular party. Instead of taking the time to objectively study the stance of each candidate, they assume that the candidate of their party has exactly what the nation needs or he agrees with, for that matter. As in the case of the last presidential election, there were some individuals who avoided the voting booths for years, taking no part in their God-given right to vote, and then when a candidate surfaced that wielded principles outside of the realm of politics, these people who for years ignored their civic duty flooded the voting booths to drop a vote for incongruous principles. The numerous political factions that have formed in the last century, have done little to ameliorate the substantial political issues, and instead choose to participate in the “race to the White House” (the phrase in itself evidences the priorities set by the parties). How often do politicians from opposing parties congregate for the purpose of truly solving a problem, of which there are many, and not prove that one party is superior in knowledge and power to the other. Some say that numerous parties offer a selection from which the voter may choose, while avoiding settling on principles important to them. I on the other hand, view political parties as distractions that create yet another unsolvable concern. Try to get a group of politicians from twelve differing parties and see how well they will do with the issue of illegal immigration or any other question that has roamed the political scene.
Here is a question, would you impose any requirements or restrictions for voters under 18 years of age? Unlike yourself and Lucy, I wasn't fully educated in government before 18. Levels of education are different (sadly), dependent upon the school, area, and teachers- but I maintained a "B" average when government was taught in the 7th grade. In the 11th, I had government again, "B" average, and was the teachers pet. But would you believe that until I was 20, I could not distinguish between a democrat and republican?! Somehow I breezed through too easily. For a kid like me who didn't know any better, if made to vote back then, would it have still been a great idea? We are a society of followers. I would think a kid like me would vote just to vote based upon the popular canidate, peer choice, or just putting anything to fit in and appear to be smart as you in the area. How would we weed out those "bad seeds"?
Almira -- in a way, I understand where you are coming from, but that same time, I must ask you a question: By giving the President more power, do you not see the government having the potential of moving towards a despotic society? Handing over control to one individual has rarely ever acted in favor of the people, in fact, most of the time it ended in a rebellion from society when the ruler assumed too much control. The current infrastructure of government offers a system of checks and balances where no one branch can usurp control over its partners.
I agree with you on this for the fact that if the wrong person is put into office there will be people in congress that would still represent the people and will be looking at things from a different point of view and everyone will be happy.
A lot of people are saying that they would change the political parties. I dont really think I would change anything about the government. I like how they do things as of now they just need to improve what they are doing now. The system that we have now is a good one if everyone would use it properly and not abuse their power. When your in control of the country you should be thinking about the interest of the country and not about whethere or not you will be reelected. You should not be thinking about your self in this type of situation. Making sure that the country is successful and that the people that you are serving is whats important.
The one thing that I would change in the Constitution is the number of years the president must serve in office. Instead of the four years that the president has to serve, I think it should only have to be two years because I don't believe anybody should have the power to run a country for such a long amount of time. Now, if the president has done well within those two years, he/she could be voted back in for another two years. If the president makes wrong or bad decisions, it'll save us from two more years of bad doings and another person will have a chance at making a country better or more secure. I say two years because I believe that is enough time for people to truly see how well the president is doing for the country.