June 20th, 2011
12:26 PM ET

Is it time to update the U.S. Constitution?

We all know how Americans revere the Constitution, so I was struck by the news that tiny, little Iceland is actually junking its own Constitution and starting anew using an unusual - some would say innovative - mechanism.

The nation decided it needed a new Constitution and it's soliciting ideas from all of Iceland's 320,000 citizens with the help of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. This social media method has worked. Ideas have been flowing in. Many have asked for guaranteed, good health care. Others want campaign finance systems that make corporate donations illegal. And some just want the country to make shark finning illegal.

There is a Constitutional Council. It incorporates some of these ideas, rejects others, but everything is done in plain sight on the web. As one member of the Constitutional Council said, the document is basically being drafted on the Internet. 

Now, why do they need a new Constitution anyway? Well, after Iceland was crippled in recent years by the economic crisis, they all wanted a fresh start. And, anyway, they felt the document was old and outdated, drafted all the way back in 1944.

You might be tempted to say that Iceland doesn't have any reasons to be proud of its political traditions in the manner that the United States does. Well, think again.

Iceland is home to the world's oldest parliament still in existence, the Althing, set up in 930 A.D. The rocky ledge on which they gathered represents the beginnings of representative government in the world. So Iceland has reasons to cherish its history, and yet it was willing to revise it.

By contrast, any talk of revising or revisiting the U.S. Constitution is, of course, seen as heresy. The United States Constitution was, as you know, drafted in a cramped room in Philadelphia in 1787 with shades drawn over the windows. It was signed by 39 people.

America at the time consisted of 13 states. Congress had 26 senators and 65 representatives. The entire population was about one percent of today's number - four million people.

America was an agricultural society, with no industry - not even cotton gins. The flush toilet had just been invented.

These were the circumstances under which this document was written.

Let me be very clear here, the U.S. Constitution is an extraordinary work - one of the greatest expressions of liberty and law in human history.

One amazing testament to it is the mere fact that it has survived as the law of the land for 222 years.

But our Constitution has been revised 27 times.  Some of these revisions have been enormous and important, such as the abolition of slavery. Then there are areas that have evolved. For example, the power of the judiciary, especially the Supreme Court, is barely mentioned in the document. This grew as a fact over history.

But there are surely some issues that still need to be debated and fixed.

The electoral college, for example, is highly undemocratic, allowing for the possibility that someone could get elected as president even if he or she had a smaller share of the total national vote than his opponent.

The structure of the Senate is even more undemocratic, with Wisconsin's six million inhabitants getting the same representation in the Senate as California's 36 million people. That's not exactly one man, one vote.

And we are surely the only modern nation that could be paralyzed as we were in 2000 over an election dispute because we lack a simple national electoral system.

So we could use the ideas of social media that were actually invented in this country to suggest a set of amendments to modernize the Constitution for the 21st Century.

Such a plan is not unheard of in American history.

After all, the delegates in Philadelphia in 1787 initially meant not to create the Constitution as we now know it, but instead to revise the existing document, the Articles of Confederation. But the delegates saw a disconnect between the document that currently governed them and the needs of the nation, so their solution was to start anew.

I'm just suggesting we talk about a few revisions.

Anyway, what do you think? Should we do this? And if we were to revise the U.S. Constitution, what would be the three amendments you would put in?

Let us know in the comment thread and we'll post the best ones on the Global Public Square.

Post by:
Topics: GPS Show • Law • What in the World?

soundoff (2,350 Responses)
  1. rtbrno65

    I'm tired of people saying we should rewrite the constitution. The document is fine, it's people's efforts to undermine and circumvent it that makes it seem outmoded. Besides, in today's climate it would spark turmoil and civil war if such an initiative occured.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Reply
    • 11:11

      That is what the intention is... to spark civil war. The outside infiltrators know that as long as we remain civil, they can not take final control, so they continue to attack us from within.

      June 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Reply
    • Melissa

      No, its not. Things like abortion, the rights to ones own body, and sexual orientation were not issues when this was written. THOSE need to become protected statuses. The reason for the electoral college no longer matters, its an antiquated system that needs to go away. This is not up for discussion.

      Not to mention that something needs to be done about this idiotic and insane idea that corporations should EVER be able to donate ANY amount of money to any campaign, incumbent, or frankly any political agenda whatsoever... Corporations are NOT people. And the people that run them will pretty much always vote for whatever makes them the most money.

      And thats just to start. Enough is enough. There are alot of things that need to be added, and some things that need to be taken away.

      June 20, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Reply
  2. Craig

    IAfraid I have to agree with Rick House. I wasn't the best history student in school, but even I understood the reasoning behind our bicameral legislature. To speak only about the Senate w/o simultaneously mentioning the House of Representatives is either disingenuous or misinformed. Bills need approval in BOTH houses to pass.

    That does have a slowing effect on civil rights legislation (because even when there is majority support behind civil rights nationally, often smaller rural states are able to block it), but the courts have (at least until recently) been a good workaround.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Reply
  3. RichardR

    A constitution is not a list of things people want to get or want to outlaw.
    It is a design for how such laws and rules will be established over time.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Reply
  4. Michael Peters

    Article V of our Constitution makes provision for the people to amend it through 2/3 of the states petitioning for a convention. We need to this and I would suggest three amendments: 1. Balance budget amendment that only allows deficit spending upon 2/3 majority vote of congress. 2. Direct election of Supreme Court justices for six year terms with 1/3 up for election every two years. 3. Freedom of Commerce amendment that explicitedly forbad Congress from mandating that we purchase anything.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Reply
    • Floyd

      Michael,
      While I agree with you on point 1 about Article 5, you seem to miss the point in the Constitution about the Supreme Court. Part of the problem is the perpetual election cycle we are in, with representitives being elected every other year, they are constantly campaigning instead of working on solutions. the reason the SC has lifetime appointments is to remove them from elections, the idea being it allows them to think thuroughly on topics and make decisions without having to beg for money from industreis or other special interests to get reelected. it's to keep them from being just another politician in the back pocket of those with money and influence.

      June 20, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Reply
      • Michael Peters

        Floyd, I understand the goal was to keep the court from being politicized. Unfortunately, they are politicized in the worst posslbe way. Each party pays back political favors by appointing extreme liberal or ultra conversative judges. Judges do not represent the mainstream of American values. By electing only 3 judges every two years, we would, over time, end up with a court that is mainstream.

        June 20, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
      • David

        No, no, the Perpetual Election Cycle as you put it is a recent phenomena, we know every 2 years was fine. Once incumbents are in anyway, especially after a period of several elections cycles, the usually get reelected barring major events like Wiener. They also do a much better job of representing the needs of their district after a few years. It is hard to get freshmen elected in highly competitive districts, and there are oddities like representatives living outside their district or "planting" themselves to get a party seat, and things which need to be fixed I can't think of right now. These are fixed in terms of laws not amendments. If you have a problem with representative terms look at the President, some have called for one six year term instead of 2 eight year terms. Terms are also designed to keep representatives competitive.

        June 20, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  5. Jon

    If it isn't broken....DONT FIX IT!!!

    June 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Reply
    • American

      yess agreed

      June 20, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Reply
  6. Dave

    And all this time I thought the ancient Greeks were credited with developing the first representative government. Thanks for the history lesson Mr. Z., now we all know that the rocky ledge on which the Althing gathered represents the beginnings of representative government in the world. When will the history books be re-written to satisfy your world view?

    June 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Reply
  7. Carlos Enrique Queso aka Chuck E. Cheese

    I can't imagine what the religious zealots would try to stick in there. Better to leave it alone even though it does need to be brought up to date

    June 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Reply
  8. genius

    "one of the greatest expressions of liberty and law in human history."

    i think its also one of the most logically sound as well.

    ...so we should change it?

    oh wait... you just wrote this for shock value... my bad.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Reply
  9. Art Vandelay

    Dear God no....Have you seen the people that are running are country nowadays? They're way less qualified to be writing any kind of insanely important document like the Constitution than the founders were. The founders were reasoned, smart individuals. The people we have running our country today are more like ADD children. Heck they can barely even get the laws right much less the fundamental principles of a country. Leave it how it is.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Reply
    • desi

      that's why we need to do it online, so regular people can give their input and participate in the process

      June 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Reply
  10. Greg

    Typical Progressive mentality in which we have "moved beyond" the Constitution. What they don't like about that document is the fact that the government's power is given to it by the people and is limited. Obama himself, in years prior to his election, said that "the Constitution is basically a documents of what the government can't do to you rather than what it should do for you". Thus a reason for the Progressive's Second Bill of Rights during the early 20th century.
    Fareed is showing his ignorance of basic civics. The framework we have today is intended as Rick stated: to prevent the largest states from dictating everything. The electoral college is actually pretty ingenious idea, but not well enough understood. If it didn't exist we'd just wait for 5 states to vote and the rest of us should just stay home. Rather, states like RI and WV have a chance to have is relevant say in our future.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Reply
    • oldgulph

      The Electoral College that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers but, instead, is the product of decades of evolutionary change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

      The 11 most populous states contain 56% of the population of the United States, but under the current system, a candidate could win the Presidency by winning a mere 51% of the vote in just these 11 biggest states - that is, a mere 26% of the nation's votes.

      June 20, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Reply
    • oldgulph

      The current system of electing the president ensures that the candidates, after the primaries, do not reach out to all of the states and their voters. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the state-by-state winner-take-all method (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), under which all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state.

      Presidential candidates concentrate their attention on only a handful of closely divided "battleground" states and their voters. In the 2012 election, pundits and campaign operatives agree already, that, at most, only 14 states and their voters will matter. Almost 75% of the country will be ignored –including 19 of the 22 lowest population and medium-small states, and 17 medium and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX. This will be more obscene than the 2008 campaign,, when candidates concentrated over 2/3rds of their campaign events and ad money in just 6 states, and 98% in just 15 states (CO, FL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI). Over half (57%) of the events were in just 4 states (OH, FL, PA, and VA). In 2004, candidates concentrated over 2/3rds of their money and campaign visits in 5 states; over 80% in 9 states; and over 99% of their money in 16 states.

      2/3rds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential elections.

      Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

      June 20, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Reply
  11. Billy

    1. Define "person" as beginning at conception.
    2. Limit term of all Federal Judges to 8 years + provide the states with an easy method to overrule Supreme court with a majority.
    3. Get rid of Electoral College vote.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Reply
    • The Jackdaw

      4. Allow health insurance companies to compete over state lines so that the rates lower through competition.
      5. Outlaw lobbiests.
      6. Make it illegal to attach irrelavent bullets to new bills that are passed and erase all those that have already been passed. 1 bill 1 concept.

      June 20, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Reply
      • Bob

        The ability for Insurance companies to sell across state lines is IN THE Health Care BILL!!! Read Section 1333, and stop listening to the uninformed.

        June 20, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Malikov

      The problem is that after this comment storm nothing's gonna stick and nothing's gonna change. Brilliant ideas will get forgotten in five minutes by everyone, including the authors. Kenichi Omae told me it's not ideas that we lack, it's the politicians to bring them to life. And that will always be so, unless WE learn to act on them. What if WE could pull up a law and draft a bill and vote for it right now? lawdelta.org

      June 20, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Reply
    • doughnuts

      5. Don't let Billy vote or hold office because he's an idiot.

      June 20, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Reply
  12. db

    The Constitution and Bill of Rights are not flawed, our current political leadership is flawed. When our political leaders try to subvert the laws and Constitution and Bill of Rights by having the Courts make politically correct rulings they are basically sidestepping the intent of the basic laws. As an example the latest Walmart ruling by the Supreme Court saying that the Class Action request was to large. What kind of nonsince is that? If you remember that the latest S.C. Justices have been appointed by Presidents with agenda's. That should be stopped and the Supreme Court Justices put up for election by the American Public, just as the legislators are but for terms of 10 to 12 years maximum.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Reply
  13. Juan Burley

    I would love to find a way to get rid of the two party system and install term limits. No more lifetime career politicians. Let Americans be represented by Americans and not by corporate lap dogs (both parties are guilty). I would keep the 2/3 majority to make any changes. I would also change the way the supreme court is chosen and make it less political, maybe have those members elected like every other branch of government is, by the people. 1st and 2nd amendment needs a little work. Some ammendments don't make any sense anymore (I'm not worried about having to quarter any soilder). It would have to be scrapped and started anew to work. A good majority of those who swear by the document have never read it and have no idea what's in it, start new and let the people create something that works for now and for decades to come.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Reply
  14. The Jackdaw

    Yes, change the constitution. Strip the American people of those pesky things like Freedom of speech and the ability to defend themselves so that the all knowing/all powerful federal government can control them completely. The Land of the Free needs to become The Land of the Submissive!

    June 20, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Reply
    • desi

      ... or it could give people more rights that they have in the current constitution. No harm in trying.

      June 20, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Reply
  15. Lee

    When I read over "The structure of the Senate is even more undemocratic. . ." I couldn't help but wonder if you are aware that we are actually a Constitutional Republic. We do always talk about democracy and you can be a democratic republic, but I feel like a lot of people forget the fact that the United States is a Constitutional Republic. Rick touched on a reason why we are this way, it is to help prevent the "tyranny of the majority."

    I personally have a problem specifically with our two-party system. It seems they are more focused on getting elected and re-elected than doing anything helpful or why we vote them in.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Reply
  16. Brian Hoxie

    More than ever, I believe we need a balanced budget amendment. This is what I believe is a structural flaw in the Constitution that assumes representatives of the people will not request government services that go beyond our means, which is exactly what has happened. After all, I'm not convinced many would argue that their representative is the reason for the debt – that school/bridge/contract was "necessary". Without a structural limitation in place to limit this excess, we the people will continually engage in this behavior and if our representatives want to continue to be elected, they will oblige. For instance, would Senator Murray or Cantwell in Washington State every vote against a budget bill that takes money or a contract from Boeing?

    While the issues with such an idea are large, like requiring a balanced budget with our current deficit, I believe a phased approach to balancing the budget by law and only allowing for a budget deficit by a 2/3rds vote would be sufficient to structurally control our excesses – or at least figure out how to pay for them.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Reply
  17. Alex

    Some fair points, some not so fair. the Senate is the way it is because of the Connecticut Compromise. Originally those in Virginia wanted a Unicameral legislature made up of only what we now know as the House of Representatives. However, those in smaller states, namely NJ did not want the larger states basically dictating all the laws of the land. The favored just the house we now know as the Senate. However, they compromised, and took both. It added checks and balances, meant larger states would still have more representatives over all however could not dictate to the smaller states. It was a good plan, leave it alone. Without the electoral college likewise, Presidential candidates would never even bother visiting a state like Iowa for instance. However, because the setup allows for smaller states to become crucial in elections, it forces candidates to prove themselves and introduce themselves to the populations of smaller states. We should not pull and Iceland and redo everything. That's why the founders gave us the ability to AMEND the constitution. However, we don't follow that process as we should. Instead, either judges apply their own feelings to change laws or the legislature either at the state or local level just ignore the document. We need to clarify the role of the judiciary. When Marbury v Madison occurred and the Supreme Court gave themselves the power of judicial review, Jefferson was furious. He and the other framers had never intended the court to have that power. Sometimes, that power has been good for America and sometimes it has not. Point is though, we need to decide as a nation if we want to give the courts that power and if so we need to Amend the Constitution to do so. Finally, I would, in less harsh terms, agree with the poster to called Zakaria a globalist. I am all about free trade, however I am against this notion that international laws should be dictated to us. I would be against ever joining an EU type organization. America, like every nation has a unique set of ideals and to preserve these ideals we must always retain 100% of our national sovereignty.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Reply
  18. Matthew

    The purpose of the electoral college is to help ensure that all states get a fair say in government. Yes, it allows someone to become president without a majority of voters, but it also prevents the urban portions of each state from trivializing the rural portions. Without the electoral college, the only votes that would actually matter would be the ones in the big cities.

    As for the Senate, it was NEVER meant to be popularly elected. For over half of this nation's existence, the Senate was appointed by the state governments. It served as a balance against the House of Representatives. The House would represent the will of the people while the Senate would represent the will of the states. In this manner, the people couldn't force through programs that would serve to impoverish the states while the states couldn't do anything that took power away from the people. One of the biggest mistakes our nation ever made was when we amended the Constitution to change that dynamic and appoint senators through popular vote. This had the effect of turning the Senate into a second House of Representatives. Is it any wonder that 90 years later we're wondering what happened to state sovereignty?

    The truth of the matter is that the majority of this nations problems come from the fact that we've trivialized and marginalized the Constitution to a point where it only receives lip service by politicians. We were meant to be a federal government but instead have become a national government - against the express warnings of those who drafted the Constitution in the first place.

    Perhaps rather than rewriting the Constitution we would be better served by actually going back to it!

    June 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Reply
    • oldgulph

      The population of the top five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia) is only 6% of the population of the United States and the population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 19% of the population of the United States. A "big city" only campaign would not win.

      June 20, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  19. VinoBianco

    We should certainly update the constitution. Certian things that applied when it was written don't apply any more, such as the right to bear arms. This was written so that the people would not be powerless against a corrupt government. It's the same as trying to apply the Bible to modern day – sure there are some values in there that should be held, but a lot of them are outdated.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Reply
    • Matthew

      Removing or changing the right to bear arms is easy. It simply requires an amendment that nullifies the 2nd Amendment. (In much the same way that the 18th Amendment instituted prohibition and the 23rd nullified it. The only reason this has not been done is because those who support gun control know that they could never get the national support required to pass an amendment.

      This holds true for every potion of the Constitution. It is all subject to amendment - but to pass an amendment you need a majority of national support.

      The effect of this is twofold. First, anyone attempting to nullify any part of the Constitution through legislation rather than an amendment is effectively breaking the law. Second, he or she is deliberately attempting to force the will of the minority onto the majority.

      June 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Reply
    • dbrown

      "This was written so that the people would not be powerless against a corrupt government" Wow...so are you saying that goverment corruption has ended? Also, that wasn't the intent of the second amendment. It's the last resort of the people to protect themselves from tyranny. As abosute power corrupts absolutely, tyranny and governement go hand in hand and that will never change and is as relevant today as it was in the founding father's day and will be relevant long into the future. It's frighenting how naive people have become. Good luck in your future roles as economic serfs and slaves to the state.

      June 20, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Reply
  20. Walter

    Can you imagine if they tried this in the U.SS.?

    Article 1 Section 2

    If you are single lonely man seeking to meet a young wealthy woman half your age go to

    Article 1 Section 3

    I have started a new blog. Come visit my blog at

    Article 1 Section 4

    Do you know where to get blue ray players, ipods, and flat screen TVs for half price? Just copy and paste my name into your browser.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Reply
  21. Egberto Willies

    1. I would get rid of the electoral college and have the president elected by popular vote.
    2. I would codify that only a born human being is a person with constitutional rights. Neither the unborn or a corporation can have any implicit constitutional rights.
    3. I would allow foreign born citizens in the country for more than 35 years to have right to run for President. If it requires 35 year of American-ness to be president then a foreign born completing that period should qualify.
    4. I would codify civil unions between any two adults as a contract that mist be honored Federally and statewide and leave marriage a religious issue.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Reply
    • oldgulph

      To abolish the Electoral College would need a constitutional amendment, and could be stopped by states with as little as 3% of the U.S. population.

      The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

      The National Popular Vote bill is a state-based approach. It preserves the Electoral College and state control of elections. It changes the way electoral votes are awarded in the Electoral College. It assures that every vote is equal and that every voter will matter in every state in every presidential election, as in virtually every other election in the country.

      Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Elections wouldn't be about winning states. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. Every vote, everywhere would be counted for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

      Virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action, without federal constitutional amendments.

      The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in AR, CT, DE, DC, ME, MI, NV, NM, NY, NC, and OR, and both houses in CA, CO, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA, RI, VT, and WA. The bill has been enacted by DC (3), HI (4), IL (19), NJ (14), MD (11), MA (10), VT (3), and WA (13). These 8 jurisdictions possess 77 electoral votes – 29% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

      http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

      June 20, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Reply
      • KIRK

        @ oldgulph thats a lie

        June 20, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • oldgulph

      Kirk – What is a lie?

      June 20, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Reply
  22. Mark

    The u.s. constitution is overall a ridiculous and vaguely stated document. It must be fully scrapped and fully rewritten for a nation existing in 2011 not 1811. I currently live in South Korea and have read their Constitution. It is written plainly and clearly with each point clearly and fully explained in the modern style. The electoral college and the Senate are both laughing stocks and not needed. On House of Representatives is all that is needed as is in effect in many democracies. Furthermore the constitution must be written in a style in which there is little or no room available for interpretation by the courts. The Second Amendment? Who needs a gun in their house? Is this the wild west, are some Native American or some Buffalo going to storm through your door at any minute? Give me a break.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Reply
    • Ted

      Mark,

      Thank you for thoughts, do us a favor and stay in South Korea and take Zakaria with you.

      June 20, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Reply
    • matt

      Mark,

      By your statement I'm led to believe you are still in high school. Enjoy College and your 20's!

      June 20, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Reply
  23. ThsIsNotReal22

    The Constitution was made with the idea that it could be modified. So to that point I agree. But I do not agree with any of the amendments that you put forth in this article. Rick House's comment above is very good, and if we are going to make the senate be based on population then there is no point to even keep it there because it would just be redundant with the House of Reps. And as far as Iceland goes, I hope they don't ever do some of those things here. If our government ever mandates stealing (i.e. nationalized healthcare) in our Constitution, I might have to look for a new country to live in. Our country was once Libertarian in nature. The structure of the government was intended to protect individual liberty, not democracy and the will of the masses being imposed on people at the expense of their freedoms.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Reply
  24. Dead Man Blogging

    The Fouding Fathers devised the House as a population-based representation and the Senate as a state-based representation so that smaller states wouldn't get steamrollered by larger ones. It's actually not a bad system, and it's hard to argue that it's not working. To throw out something that works in favor of the author's dognatic insistence on his interpretation of "one person, one vote" is foolish.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Reply
    • Bob in pa

      One problem with your arument, it doesn't apply. The power of the states was stripped away in 1913. Both the House and the Senate are occupied by popular vote politicians. The check and balance system was broken by the 17 amendment. Proof that revising the Constitution isn't always a good idea. Something that sounds good, may really have a sinister plan behind it.

      June 20, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Reply
  25. Jack Martin

    Would someone please tell this uneducated moron that the United States is a republic, not a democracy!! Send this foreign national to school for a little education!

    June 20, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Reply
    • 11:11

      He's not as much a moron as an enemy within. This article is just a means of measuring reaction. Thank G_d most peoples responses appear to recognize this for what it is... a very bad idea.

      June 20, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Reply
    • John

      Jack, the left refuses to use the word "Republic", for fear of having to explain it.

      June 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Reply
    • oldgulph

      A "republican" form of government means that the voters do not make laws themselves but, instead, delegate the job to periodically elected officials (Congressmen, Senators, and the President). Nothing said here would change us to a pure democracy.

      June 20, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Reply
      • Mike

        A republic is a nation that has a non-inheritance based process for determining its head of state. It has nothing to do whether the choosing is done broadly or by some kind of elite. Consequently North Korea and the United States are both republics. The United Kingdom is not a republic. A democracy typically has a process for broad spectrum of adult citizens determining the leaders below head of state. Consequently UK is a democratic non-republic and another non-republic Saudi Arabia is not. People ranting on blogs have somehow defined a democracy as only when everyone votes on everything. What school awarded you your degree? Get a dictionary.

        June 20, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
      • Phil Perry

        @Mike
        "A republic is a nation that has a non-inheritance based process for determining its head of state." ... "Consequently North Korea [is a republic]" Say what? NK rulers inherit their position. There is no participation by the people of that country.

        Agreed that a "pure democracy" is a system where "the people" (possibly a subset of adults) discuss and vote on all matters. In practice, this is mob rule and doesn't work very well above the level of a small town (imagine just the logistics of 200M+ Americans trying to debate and vote on something!). There are various forms of democracy which can be used at larger scales, and all involve having someone represent a large number of people and speak for them, while hopefully injecting some judgment and wisdom into the process.

        June 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Tony

      @Jack – you're a moron. History didn't jump from 1787 to today and the term "democracy" and "republic" likewise don't mean the same as they did then. Turn off Beck and learn a little intermittent history and watch how political concepts evolve. The terms are synonymous today as far as what the Constitution represents.

      June 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Reply
      • tepeters

        The terms have not changed their meanings. You have a type of government: democracy, oligarchy, or autocracy and the form of government: direct democracy (where public votes on laws-as with initiatives and referendum); or republic which is representative government. There are a myriad of oligarchies, rule by a few: aristocracy, rule by inherited nobility; plutocracy, rule by the wealthy; timocracy, rule by those who own land/property etc. etc etc.. And the forms of autocracy are monarchy, or dictatorship.

        June 20, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
      • tepeters

        And there is a fourth category under type of government; anarchy or the absence of government.

        June 20, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  26. Bill Sanford

    Time for Zakaria to head to Iceland... one way ticket.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Reply
  27. Officeflyer

    Of course, as you elude, the Constitutiion has been updated numerous times. But nearly all the amendments came in the first 100 years, when our country was still relatively simple. I fear that it would be nearly impossible today to amend it, as we have become so big and complex. Since amending it is difficult enough, we will never agree as a nation to replace it. Therefore, we must let it evolve. As wonderful a document as it is, it was not designed to govern 300,000,000 people and a $20T economy. Constitutional fundamentalism is a recipe for the death of the American experiment. As TR said, the Constitution was written for the people, the people don't exist for the Constitution. We should not subordinate ourselves to it.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Reply
  28. Really?

    This article, written by a foreign born naturalized citizen, shows an utter lacking of what the United States of America represents and how it was formed. This article is permeated' by assumptions native to his Indian homeland and forged in his elite Ivy League (Yale and Harvard) educated mind. It shows a lack of appreciation of American traditions, but rather the 'I know what is better for you than you you do' mindset of 'elite' thinkers like the author.

    This would be like me discussing Islamic law and theology with his father.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Reply
    • fdhghgd

      He is an educated person. He just suggesting the idea because Iceland did this, his goal is not to change the constitution

      June 20, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Reply
  29. Ron Dupard

    I don't see a problem with the allotment of two Senators per state simply because all states have a fair allotment of Representatives based on population in the House. Where I do see a major problem is in our politicians being bought and paid for by special interests, which usurps the voting power of individuals and the will of the majority of the voters. Accordingly, the two amendments that I would propose would take some of the corruption out of our system. The first is term limits with no member of Congress being permitted to serve more than 12 years, which would insure an influx of fresh ideas and a breakdown in "the old boys network." This should also allow us to do away with all the ridiculous retirement benefits and other perks that we give to Congressmen and insure that they are in Congress to serve the people and not themselves. My second amendment would prohibit any form of campaign contributions and make all federal campaigns publically financed. Thus, all those running for Senate would be alloted a certain amout, say $1,000,000 and someone running for a House Seat would get another amount, say $500,000. This would eliminate bought and paid for politicians and level the playing field so that we would be sure that we are electing politicians based on their merits and not the fact that they have the ability to raise more money than the other guy. I know you wanted three proposals, but if these two were passed, then we could have politicians in power that were worried about the public's interest instead of their own figure out the third amendment.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Reply
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