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Shortcomings of a constitution

13 Jan 2021 / 18:49 H.

    “CHAOS and indiscipline stem from weak parties” (Jan 12) refers, and suggests improved political party discipline to stem America’s continuing slide.

    The writer suggests that once elected to legislatures the two American political parties have good control over their respective members.

    In 2016 US President Donald Trump was elected to the Presidency and the Republican Party won control of both houses of Congress on the back of signature policies to repeal the Affordable Care Act and build a wall with Mexico.

    Yet, despite all the triumph and excitement Trump could not even get partial funding for his wall (until he declared an emergency) and his “Obamacare” repeal was sunk by one of his own, the late Senator John McCain, with a casting vote.

    The writer also suggests the Constitution has not failed the American people however, consider the following serious constitutional shortcomings:

    > The electoral college system involves an archaic presidential appointment system at a joint congressional session (art II sec 1) that gave Trump a clear and precise target at which to focus his desperate bid to terrorise and destroy the democratic American government;

    > Senate Judiciary ratification hearings (art II sec 2) have now turned into political farce and gamesmanship tending to deliver ideological loyalists instead of strong-minded independent and apolitical Supreme Court Justices;

    > A right to free speech (1st amendment Bill of Rights) interpreted by that same Supreme Court as giving corporations unlimited spending power in elections, notwithstanding that they do not retain any right to vote, and that such speech is paid rather than free;

    > In the same Bill of Rights after almost 250 years enough space still cannot be found for health care, worker rights, environmental protections nor a right to life;

    > Instead it still protects archaic “militias” and a right to bear arms (2nd amendment)(which, given the appalling statistics, really means a right to kill);

    > A dangerous two and half month transition period until the new President takes over in which the current disgruntled, reality-avoiding incumbent can upend the rule of law and solicit insurrection, fraud and an attempted coup (20th amendment and Presidential Election Day Act 1845); and,

    > A two-term limit that prevented a sane and gifted, if disappointing, President Barack Obama from running again and thrashing the diabolical and destructive President Trump in 2016 (22nd amendment).

    Space does not permit delving into the corporate capture of American political life (and political parties) that perhaps is at the heart of America’s problems, and which ties in with the excellent points made by the writer of the many failures of both political parties.

    Simon Wood

    Kuala Lumpur

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