A More Perfect Constitution by Larry J. Sabato [Amazon, Kindle]
It may seem a reaction to the recent election, but my first couple of books for 2017 are government related. Both of these came as recommendations from the older sister of one of my daughter’s robotics teammates. She is a 12-13 year old Supreme Court groupie who had recently visited Washington D.C., and had picked up these two books there.
This first one was a fascinating set of proposals for a new Constitutional Convention. The argument being that the framers had always envisioned that the Constitution would be adjusted occasionally as the country gained experience, and it was well overdue after 220 years.
The author lays out twenty-something adjustments to the constitution, none of which are hot-button issues (abortion, gay marriage, etc) as he firmly believes those divining rods should be off the table for a successful Constitutional Convention.
I thought all of the suggestions were reasonable, though I thought his arguments in favor on a few were not particularly strong and would need to be fleshed out a bit.
As part of his research for the book, he did polling to see how his suggestions would currently be received by the populace, and I was surprised at the low support for a few of the better ideas (IMHO).
Particularly, he suggested a 2 year National Service requirement for all citizens. In short, each citizen would be required to work in a service capacity, either military or civilian, preferably between the ages of 18-26. In return for minimum wage, the measure would garner a sense of civic duty and volunteerism, provide a good way to develop experience, and apply manpower to the nations challenges.
It’s something I wish I had done, and with a well organized system of doing so, I think I would have enjoyed it. There’s a nice social engineering aspect, in that all citizens, regardless of wealth or class, would have a shared common experience.
At any rate, the thought of organizing a second Constitutional Convetion seems so overwhelming as to be impossible, but the author recommends slow and deliberate progress is the way to go.
I’m for it.