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 And, anyway, they felt the document was old and outdated, drafted all the way back in 1944.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. George from San Jose, CA

    Overall, the constitution is fine. Any tweaking of the rules can be done with amendments. I don't trust a rewriting since corporations would have too much influence on the process. I can see the patent and copyright process gaining more legal strength than what's in the general public interest.

    June 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Reply
  2. The Elder

    Don't you remember when they brought out "New Coke"? Remember "New Prell"? Remember when The Gap tried to change its logo? The Constitution has been the foundation of our country for over 200 years. It works. If we need to amend it from time to time, fine, but otherwise, don't mess with success.

    June 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Reply
  3. Matt

    Yes change Constitution add add Sharia Law u Middle eastern Moran,,,CNN the liberal shit spread Muslim Agenda,,

    June 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Reply
    • James

      Thank you, Matt, for doing such an excellent job in representing US citizens with your brilliant and open-minded dialogue. /sarcasm

      June 20, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Reply
  4. Christopher Caldwell

    I would certainly not replace it. Indeed, I don't think I'd change either the wording or the intent of much of it. I certainly agree with above statements that the structure of the Senate is essential to allowing the level of variation we have from state to state. I'm not convinced that is such a good thing, but is essential to keeping that variation.

    We absolutely need an amendment to clarify the 2nd amendment – but of course, to amend that, we need to agree on what to modify it to. We need to clarify the definition of "privacy" (which doesn't appear as such) because it has become such an integral part of the body legal.

    It's a damn fined legal construction as it stands, even with its ambiguities (in some cases, BECAUSE of its ambiguities) – if I thought that these tweaks would harm it otherwise, I simply wouldn't do them. It is too important to THE WORLD (not just the US) to modify lightly.

    June 20, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  5. JP

    In pursuit of fairness and equality, why don't we amend the Constitution to give the citizens of the District of Columbia some say in the government that it houses. It is unbelievable to think that you can live in DC but not have a voting member of Cognress representing you.

    June 20, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  6. TotemPole

    Mr. Fareed Zakaria; another foriegn born National who comes here, graduates from Yale and then proceeds to runs us down, tell us how our Country is crappy and out of touch with the world. WONDERFUL!! Evidently he didn't major is American Political History.

    June 20, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Reply
  7. Seth

    The Constitution is an amazing document that has served the country very well. It is a safeguard that protects us because it imposes limitations. To ask whether it is time to update the Constitution is to ignore the fact that the document is dynamic. The Constitution is not implemented or understood in the same way that it was originally written. There is a natural tension that exists in the words and how they are interpreted. In addition to the natural tension, the document has literally changed. The Constitution has been amended. Does anyone really believe that, today, they would be comfortable with rewriting a document that protects them, to be replaced with uncertainty? For instance, someone might think their changes are "better" but there's not certainty that a new Constitution would embody those values. In fact, what values would a new Constitution embody? Perhaps a more religious conservative majority could garner the most votes or input that the rights of minority voices, which are currently protected by the Constitution, would be unrepresented or even adversely represented. The Constitution can be changed but there's a process for amending it. There are two obvious benefits for the Constitutional Amendment procedure. First, it's no easy to do which means it has to be well thought out and received. Second, any amendment would have to come at the consideration of what rights are being given or taken away. Reinventing the document would suggest that the old document wasn't working and the new document should be sufficiently different. Additionally, consider the 220+ years of judicial interpretation that would be irrelevant upon doing away with the Constitution, the gap of interpretation would be problematic and uncertain. The law is build on the notion that it should be followed to provide certainty, so people know and understand their rights in order to follow the law. Finally, the Constitution is not the only "law." Congress writes Codes, and those Codes are interpreted by the courts, and agencies write Regulations, which are also interpreted by the courts. There are treaties and executive orders. There are state Constitutions, Codes, and Regulations. All of these must do at least one thing, conform to the Constitution, that is to say, not violate our rights or exceed the powers given to the respective branches in overseeing how our country is run. Focusing on the Constitution as the problem is to ignore the problem, our government doesn't know how to manage domestically or its foreign affairs. We're focused on capitalism before people and short term before long term. We focus on opposing extremes rather than finding balance that can sustain us. However, I have hope that our country can enjoy the spirit of the founders of our Constitution in finding direction.

    Just as a historical thought, our "Constitution" is the second Constitution. Shortly after the original document, which didn't vest much power in the centralized government, failed, the founders put together a Constitutional Conference and rewrote "the Constitution.: It's the third if you consider the confederate constitution during the civil war (which was based, largely, on the first document).

    June 20, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Reply
  8. Dean S

    I disagree that a new constitution is required. Our founding fathers drafted a "living" document; a document that could be amended to meet the needs throughout the passing years. To suddenly scrap the entire paper into the shredder would be somewhat of an insult. Especially to those that have fought and died for protecting the rights afforded under that document.

    With all the recall elections being held currently and in previous years (by the way, I'm a WI resident, where the recalls are flying around like mosquitoes on a humid day), we seem to be entering an era of continual "do-over" politics. If we are now to include the very document that has helped define this nation since its very inception, then I fear that our republic, as I've known it, will simply be thrown to the wayside. To me, such a scenario is unthinkable.

    Good government begins and ends when citizens participate in that government. Those who want to make change should participate in the governmental process. Simply declaring "do over!" is by no means the way to handle.

    June 20, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Reply
  9. TotemPole

    And I didn't major in spelling or typing as you can tell. 🙂 DOH!

    June 20, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Reply
  10. Mike

    If it's not broke, don't fix it.

    But... it is broke. So it should be fixed.

    Sitting on a document just because history says so is irresponsible and cowardly.

    June 20, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Reply
    • RJ Stewart III

      What, pray tell, is broke about the United States Constitution? The only thing that is broke about it is us not wiling to follow it. Perhaps what you meant to say is...because the Constitution doesn't say what I think it should say, we should replace it.

      June 20, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Reply
  11. Ben

    While I agree with Rick and his defense of the senate, I think he should have said it in a slightly more benevolent way. As to addressing your actual question, there is one main issue that our constitution fails to address. There is also a slight shortsightedness displayed by the founding fathers with another issue. The slight shortsightedness is term limits. Term limits for our representatives should be in the constitution. We can argue until we are blue in the face about the subject, but the bottom line is that you would eliminate a host of problems if you could eliminate the notion that being a politician is a career. As for the main issue, the one thing our constitution brilliantly addresses is the prevention of a tyrranistic state. However, it does not even acknowledge the tyrranistic behaviors and tendencies corporations are capable of. The common person should be, in part, protected from some of these atrocities.

    June 20, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Reply
    • Rick Keller

      And do you really think our congress is going to add in term limits on themselves?

      June 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Reply
  12. Rick Keller

    Absolutely not. It was not too long ago they were talking about revising the 14th amendment, and they had a big wonderful popular thing to say about what was planned, but our modern day lawmakers like to slide things in under the radar. It's not what they say they wanted to do that was the real problem, its what they were not saying that concerns me.

    Everybody seems to forget about Check and Balance; it's the whole reason we have three seperate but equal branches of government; to keep any one branch from getting too powerful. So some idiot thinks its' a good idea to use Facebook and Twitter to get the information on what to change? Both of those are under the control of a select few, and there is nothing to prevent them from altering or curving the results in their own best interest, there is no check and balance. For that matter, CNN has the same issue.

    June 20, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Reply
  13. Anonymous

    We are the United States of America. We do not change our sacred ideals at the whims of other nations. America is great because of its enduring principles, which have spanned centuries and are rooted on tradition. The United States Constitution is the key to our success, the fundamental document of American idealism. Therefore, it cannot be changed, else our entire nation lose its identity.

    Many of Mr. Zakaria's arguments are ridiculous and impractical. In the United States, we update the Constitution via amendments, which is why we've had 27. And yes, there are aspects of the Constitution that are archaic in this modern age and that need to be updated. But replacing the Constitution with a brand new one as Mr. Zakaria suggests is obscene and idiotic.

    While the role of the Supreme Court has indeed changed since Marbury v. Madison, judicial review was a key principle discussed by the Founding Fathers. Indeed, its explicit omission from the Constitution implies a level of authority the Founding Fathers intended the Supreme Court to assume. As for the rest of the judiciary, Congress clearly has the power to establish and define it, per Article Three of the Constitution.

    Most Americans can agree that the Electoral College is the most archaic part of the Constitution. However, revising it would destroy the principle of federalism our Founding Fathers held so dearly to their hearts. The only practical change would be to make it representative. That way, if a State splits 51-48, then one candidate gets one more electoral vote than the other, rather than all the electoral votes of the State. However, this issue is a State issue, and it is meant to be decided by the States, rather than the federal government.

    The composition of the Senate epitomizes the art of compromise in the United States. Here in America, we have two houses–one proportioned by population, the other fixed at two members per State. That way, both the small states and the large states adequately contribute to the country as a whole, rather than skewing representation to the larger states. If this compromise is overturned, as Mr. Zakaria suggests, than the fundamental legislative principle in this country becomes irrelevant, and we lose our national identity.

    Finally, Bush v. Gore in 2000 represents the worst side of American politics–partisanship. The case was 5-4 in favor of Bush, stopping the recount in Florida and proclaiming Bush as our 43rd President. This case should have prompted Congress to amend the Constitution, because the Supreme Court should not have the power to decide the President or interfere in a state's recount. However, this incident does not warrant a new constitution. Electoral reform works both ways, and any changes would alter a precedent firmly established over 219 years of American elections.

    The United States survives because it is isolated from the rest of the world, geographically and politically. We thrive because of our independence, allowing us to create our own political ideals and secure our own rights. Although other nations change their identities, we remain strong because of our tradition, epitomized by the Constitution of the United States of America.

    -An anonymous high school student

    June 20, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Reply
    • Shane

      Federalism has been slowly destroyed for the past 30 years and has been replaced by a national oligarchy. These people you think are running the country — Executive | Legislative | Judicial — are but pawns who kneel before the wealthiest 1% of Americans and the corporations they operate.

      June 20, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Reply
      • Anonymous

        You can't be so cynical. While corporations and special interest groups surely have a powerful influence in American politics, they are checked by the very nature of the federalist government the Founding Fathers set up. The Constitution ensures representative government through checks and balances, so while many public officials are corrupt, a single corporation cannot rule America. Furthermore, no one alliance of corporations exists. While you can argue that our public officials represent an oligarchical hierarchy of corporate greed, the facts are that enough regulation and general, honest activism exist to preclude corporate dominance in public policy.

        June 20, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • Leo

      Anonymous high school student: You write as if the founding fathers are practically god-like and untouchable. Whatever was "dear to their hearts" is not necessarily what is good for the United States.

      Also, as an outsider from Canada, I have hard learned advice for Americans thinking of changing their constitution. In Canada, there is a broad consensus that our constitution is flawed and to this date our second most populous province, Quebec, has not signed the document. However, from 1970 to 2000, constitutional issues dominated our politics to he detriment of other more important and immediate issues. Twice, in 1987 and in 1992, proposals to renew / change the constitution narrowly failed and almost led to the break up of our country in 1995. Since then, we have collectively learned that the easiest, least painful and most realistic way to achieve concrete change is within the existing framework, despite its flaws. Some food for thought.

      June 20, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Reply
      • Anonymous

        That's exactly what I said. I said that any reform must be made within the existing framework–via constitutional amendment. And as I stated, the principle of federalism is what the Founding Fathers held dear to their hearts. Because federalism is America. If federalism is not what is "good for the United States," then the United States is not good for the United States. Without federalism, our government, our ideals, our entire way of life changes. Our Constitution has shaped the United States into the great nation that it is today: scrapping it would be an insult to that history and a severe blow to America's national identity.

        Canada is not the United States of America. Two totally different systems of government, ideology, history, politics, and mindsets govern our respective peoples. As such, the newer Canadian government is irrelevant to the United States of America, much as the frequent changes of European politics are irrelevant to America. A key example is France. France has written five different constitutions. And when France writes a new constitution, do the changes then travel across the Atlantic? No. America functions off its national unity and its ability to solve its problems internally, without reacting to each and every international change. Although the modern age eases communication and bridges the gap between the United States and the rest of the world, advancements in technology do not alter a nation's history and do not change the fundamental identity of the nation.

        June 20, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  14. RJ Stewart III

    Mr. Zakaria,
    The Senate is constitutional, as changed by the 17th Amendment. This amendment put the election of the Senators directly to the people, instead of the Senators being chosen by the state legislatures as per the original design. The original intent was to allow the House be the voice of the people, and the Senate be the voice of the states. While a state like California or Texas could weild much power in the House, they would be checked in the Senate, creating a smaller system of checks-and-balances within the Congress. This way states with small populations still had a chance to fight against legislations favored by states with large populations. In other words, the Founding Fathers found a way to deal with this problem, but we had to go change it and make Senators direct representatives of the people. Either way you look at it, both ways are still constitutional, as they are part of the constitution.

    June 20, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Reply
    • Josh

      wonderfully articulated!

      June 20, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Reply
  15. John

    John

    There is a simple fix to what is suggested here. The Senate is the problem. We need to limit the term of Sentors to the same term as the President. The six year term is just asking for the problems we have with the Senate – the "good ol boys network".

    June 20, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Reply
    • Josh

      I believe that the six year term is short enough because it allows a senator a time to gain valuable resources for thier state, however I do not believe anyone should be able to be re-elected to it.

      June 20, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Reply
  16. James

    I would like to see the following three amendments: 1) revocation of personhood or citizenship status for corporations, restricting it to humans only; 2) full social equality of rights of personhood for all people, regardless of status; 3) abolition of the electoral college, with direct popular voting established.

    June 20, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Reply
  17. Josh

    I'm sorry but I cannot take someone who was born in another country's idea on what america should be doing seriously and neither should any of you..go back and pull your homeland out of the abyss of corruption and squallor instead of talking this junk, the day anyone in a position of political power seriously suggests this act will be thier last days in office..what kind of scum thinks they have the right to tell us what to do with our country when it was so much better in made them leave thiers and what to become a citizen...

    June 20, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Reply
  18. chas

    I find most of the posts entertaining. 1) Where the intelligentsia are berating the not so intelligentsia. 2) The Liberals who berate the Conservative(s) for their opinion. 3) The people who do not have a clue what this is about. 4) The author who just wants to change it to support some of the citizens. 5) And not last and not the least, the clue less.
    Lets explore, the civil war of liberals against conservatives, lets explore that one. Conservitives who believe in gun ownership, the liberals who do not. Wjho are going to come to the aid of the liberals? The Government?
    Lets explore the one about abolishing the house of represenatives, plain and simple "Mob Rules". That way when somebody or their beliefs are outlawed the could be lynched in the public square. Have we not seen enough of this in other countries and here in some states.
    Last but not least, lets revive the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment). This way we ALL have equal rights. Not some more than other. Oh right that will not pass, too many special interest groups will not stand for their special rights being trampled.
    In parting, have fun with this post. But if it got your Pan@@es in a bunch. please stand up and readjust.
    Have a great day/year/life.

    June 20, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Reply
  19. Cary Bennett

    I truly believe that we our Constitution could use a huge overhaul. In fact, I feel that it might not be a bad idea to scrap the whole thing and start over again. The current Constitution was framed upon cultural mores that are totally outdated. It's time to bring the country into the 21st century and become a nation more tolerant of differences, that is based upon the will of the people, not corporations, and do away with the electoral college and permit we the people to elect our President. We need to revamp election laws and prevent the kind of electoral debacle that occurred in 2000. We need to rewrite our civil rights laws and create a constitution that is more effective at preventing discrimination and truly provides for the "pursuit of life, liberty and happiness" for all, not just the wealthy and Tea Partiers. Oh!!! And get the religious right out of the business of dictating their beliefs to the rest of the country.

    June 20, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Reply
    • Cary Bennett

      Oh!! How could I forget.....include in a new Constitution the human right to obtain health care and live a healthy life.

      June 20, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Reply
      • ewguy

        You already have a right to obtain health care and live a healthy life. Just like you have a right to obtain food.

        June 20, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • RJ Stewart III

      So, you would like a Constitution that would discriminate against those you don't agree with. Kind of goes against having a Constitution that doesn't allow discrimination.

      See, that is the beauty of the one we have now...it allows no discrimination because it allows people to be able to think and speak freely their thoughts, even if you don't agree with it. It allows people to believe as they choose to without allowing the Government to force its citizens to either believe in one faith, or not believe at all. It allows us to protect ourselves.

      How would you improve on this? Anything beyond this is a start of limitations of freedoms that a good many of us hold dear. Our Constitution is very tolerant of diversity. It is us, the people, who are intolerant and try to use the Constitution as a weapon against those we don't agree with.

      June 20, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Reply
  20. ewguy

    back to the original question: What three amendments would I add?
    28: Where no victim can be identified, no crime has occurred.
    29: All Federal laws must automatically expire after 7 years, unless Congress votes unanimously for the law, where-upon it expires after 15 years.
    30: All taxation of individual incomes, however derived, must be subjected to a flat tax never to exceed 10%

    June 20, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Reply
  21. David

    the constitution you seem to think needs changing zakaria is what protects you from being kicked outta here try showing some respect to it next time!!!

    June 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Reply
  22. Eugene

    Fareed,

    I've been reading your columns for some time and generally agree with and respect your opinions and wisdom. I like where you're going with online discussions as a means to truly open legislature to the public. However, the constitution as it was written is the reason why we have risen up as the global power so quickly. By guaranteeing individual liberty and freedom, it has spawned the creativity of a nation of people to far outcreate the rest of the world combined. The problem we are having now is that we are NOT abiding by the constitution anymore – not that it needs to be revised. Our legislature goes to great lengths to circumvent the constitution, to take more and more power away from the people and centralize it. Its sad that we the people have allowed this – why be responsible for your own life when the government can do it for you? This philosophy has led to a huge expansion in government that has enslaved middle class parents now having to pay for everyone 0-25, 65-death, all unemployed, all on wellfare, and ALL OF GOV'T. This has slowly destroyed the American family and our values in the process. I'd love the prospect of any for the average citizen to have influence over US legislature. Even if the brightest fairest minds were heard, I find it hard to believe that these ideas would make it into any meaningful document. We have simply given up too many rights to the upper class to have them give them back so easily. I think that the people who actually influence our laws would much rather prefer the status quo with themselves living as an anonymous upper class ruling over a socialized middle class. I'll be honest in saying any revisions to the constitution will likely move us closer to this communistic end. Now is a dangerous time to make alterations to our greatest asset – the wisdom of past empires revised to allow us to succeed where they have failed. To give this legacy up to the whims of a culture adverse to personal responsibility and an insatiable upper class would be suicide.

    June 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Reply
  23. Al or Bob or Jack, but not Sue

    The US Constitution does not allow political change decided by voters to take place. This document – with its numerous amendments- does not allow direct democracy (ie respecting voters' decisions, whatever they may be) to come into place according to the simple majority vote. There are too many layers of political game playing between the voters and the final bill. As a result, there is great political "inaction", which hurts the US. The current Constitution will not enable the US to survive the major social and economical crisis This document are obsolete.

    June 20, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Reply
  24. R.Schultz

    Complaining about the structure of the Senate? First off, we don't live in a democracy of one man, one vote, we're in a representative republic, and the structure of the Senate is to insure majority rule is not the law of the land. Each state is given the same power in the Senate, it's what protects small states like Wyoming, Hawaii and Alaska from large states like New York and California. Without that representation, states like that would be better off as independent nations. How do you purpose to protect smaller population state's rights under a changed Senate?

    And the brilliance of our Constitution is that it already can be changed, and evolve with the people. There never has been a Constitutional Convention called by the states, but they're in their rights to do that under the Constitution, if there is enough support to change something, it can be changed. We don't need to start over from scratch.

    June 20, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Reply
  25. Greg

    So we need a new Constitution because we now have toilets that flush? What? Did I miss something.

    1) Yes, Wisconsin does have the same number of Senators as California with only a fraction of the population...this was done intentionally and should be left the way it is (otherwise, our laws would consist only of what was important to California and New York).

    2) No, canvasing Twitter and Facebook is a bad way to create the framework for our society. Amends 1 – 10 would consist of nothing but Rick Rolls, NYAN Cats, ORLY Owls, Chuck Norris Jokes, and "U MAD BRAH?" questions.

    June 20, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Reply
    • RJ Stewart III

      At least the Chuck Norris jokes would be funny.

      June 20, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Reply
  26. Whatdahell

    LOL, Rick your are correct. The structure of the House and Senate was a stroke of democratic genius. It gives the smaller states an equal vote (senate) with out stripping the larger states of their power (house of reps.) given that they contribute more in man power (labor) and economics to the country. With that said the US constitution has shown that it needs to be "updated". My 3 amendment updates would be thus:
    1. Term limits on all members of Congress. If they knew they wouldn't be returning maybe they would finally make the unpopular and hard decisions.
    2. Severely limit or erase corporate contributions to politicians. Maybe the politicians would start working for the people again and not the highest bidder.
    3 (and most controversial) . Update the "every baby born in the US is a citizen". This is not targets to Hispanics, because Africans, Europeans, and Asians (eastern and western) have been abusing this "right". Yet only Hispanics are being vilified about it (I wonder why? Turn the poor against the poor and they won't notice that they are both being used and abused). I am not a racist, bigot, hater or whatever term you want to try and use just calling it like I see it, but as they say, "A hit dog will holler".

    June 20, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Reply
  27. oldgulph

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). The recent Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. Support is strong among Republican voters, Democratic voters, and independent voters, as well as every demographic group surveyed in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided battleground states: Colorado– 68%, Florida – 78%, Iowa –75%, Michigan– 73%, Missouri– 70%, New Hampshire– 69%, Nevada– 72%, New Mexico– 76%, North Carolina– 74%, Ohio– 70%, Pennsylvania - 78%, Virginia - 74%, and Wisconsin - 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Alaska - 70%, DC - 76%, Delaware –75%, Idaho – 77%, Maine - 77%, Montana – 72%, Nebraska - 74%, New Hampshire –69%, Nevada - 72%, New Mexico - 76%, Oklahoma – 81%, Rhode Island - 74%, South Dakota – 71%, Utah – 70%, Vermont - 75%, and West Virginia – 81%, and Wyoming – 69%; in Southern and border states: Arkansas –80%, Kentucky - 80%, Mississippi –77%, Missouri - 70%, North Carolina - 74%, Oklahoma – 81%, South Carolina – 71%, Tennessee - 83%, Virginia - 74%, and West Virginia – 81%; and in other states polled: California - 70%, Connecticut - 74%,, Massachusetts - 73%, Minnesota - 75%, New York - 79%, Oregon – 76%, and Washington - 77%.

    Most voters want to know, that even if they were on the losing side, their vote actually was directly and equally counted and mattered to their candidate. Most Americans consider the idea of the candidate with the most popular votes being declared a loser detestable. We don't allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large population states, including one house in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, The District of Columbia, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, and Oregon, and both houses in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The bill has been enacted by the District of Columbia (3), Hawaii (4), Illinois (19), New Jersey (14), Maryland (11), Massachusetts (10), Vermont (3), and Washington (13). These eight jurisdictions have 77 electoral votes - 29% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

    June 20, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Reply
  28. Larry

    Nice to see the left-wing socialist agenda really come out. And the scary part? Obama listens to this guy.

    June 20, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Reply
  29. George

    Mr. Zakaria, you have gone too far this time. The Constitution was written with the full understanding that changes would have to be made from time to time, and those are called amendments. There is a system written into the document with which to make those amendments, and the reason it has held up for over two hundred and twenty years without your input, is because it is the greatest democratic work in the history of mankind. Please, if you want to see amendments made, write your congressmen and senators, otherwise leave the United States and go back to wherever it is you came from.

    June 20, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Reply
  30. JustAnotherGirl

    Yes, let's revamp the constitution so we can take care of all the ILLEGAL immigrants (oh, I'm sorry, they're 'undocumented citizens' aren't they *scoffs*), protect the drug dealers (and take care of all the users before we help those with issues not brought upon by themselves), pedophiles, ah, and to make it that much easier to murder babies *nods* I think that's an excellent idea. Because that is what would happen after all, isn't it? That's what people keep screaming about. Oh, and we'd lose out guns and all sense of privacy as well.

    June 20, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Reply
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