Is anyone happy about what’s happening in Washington these days? No one that I know. Over the past few years the buffoonery of our elected has affected all of us, so it seems that it’s time for the people to demand some accountability. Well, that’s the job of elections, you say. But you see, that won’t happen: because those who only “get” won’t vote for those not interested in giving.
Therefore, [fanfare and flourish here] I propose the 28th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
“But they don’t uphold the current Constitution,” you say. And you’re right! That’s why I call this 28th Amendment the “Civics Amendment.” It would have three parts, each distinct, but each requiring our “elected representatives” to do some things that, for our entire history would have seemed obvious.
Amendment 28, Article 1 would require that any part of any bill considered by either house be germane to the topic of the bill. Actually, this requirement for being relevant is part of normal parliamentary procedure, but Congress never met a rule it didn’t couldn’t break! This would mean no more funds for a Congressman’s pet local project attached to foreign aid bills, and no more foreign aid handouts slipped into energy bills. It means that if the bill is filed for one thing, anything attached to that bill must be about that topic. No exceptions.
Amendment 28, Article 2 would require that any Member of Congress who wishes to vote on any bill before either the House or the Senate must, before they are allowed to cast a vote, score no less than 80% on a quiz about the content of that bill. No staff. Only Members. They can take it as many times as it takes to pass it, but at least they would have some idea of what’s in the bill. Had this been in place for the Accountable Care Act (ObamaCare) the vote might have been 3 to 2!
Amendment 28, Article 3 would require that any citizen who wishes to run for and serve in an elected office must pass a high school civics class. That would mean that they would have some knowledge of the Constitution – all of it, not just the parts they want to use. They would be reminded that the crafters of our Constitution separated the powers among three branches of the federal government: a legislature, the Congress – with the power “To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof” (Article I, Section 8); an executive branch led by the President, charged to carry out these laws (nowhere is this branch given authority to make laws!); and a federal judiciary headed by the Supreme Court, granted the authority to interpret and apply the law (Article III, Section 1).
And finally, all of them must publicly declare in voice and on paper that they understand and agree that all three of these branches derive their power from the people – it seems that they need reminding.