FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The People’s Crusade of Mike Gravel

 

Like a fresh wind coming down from Alaska–the state he represented as a U.S. Senator from 1969–1981, Mike Gravel is determined to start a debate about the fundamentals of democracy in his quest for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President.

People who heard his address before the Democratic National Committee a few weeks ago and his brief statements during the first debate between the Democratic aspirants last month may be getting the idea that this is no ordinary dark horse politician.

For over a decade, given the failures of elected politicians, Mike Gravel has been engaged in some extraordinary research and consultations with leading constitutional law experts about the need to enact another check to the faltering checks and balances–namely, the National Initiative for Democracy, a proposed law that empowers the people as lawmakers.

Before you roll your eyes over what you feel is an unworkable utopian scheme, go to http://nationalinitiative.us to read the detailed constitutional justification for the sovereign right of the people to directly alter their government and make laws.

Among other legal scholars, Yale Law School Professor, Akhil Reed Amar and legal author, Alan Hirsch, have argued that the Constitution recognizes the inalienable right of the American people to amend the Constitution directly through majority vote. What the Constitution does not do is spell out the procedures for such a sovereign right.

The right of the People to alter their government flows from the Declaration of Independence, the declared views of the founding fathers and the framers of the Constitution, its Preamble (“We the People of the United States.do ordain and establish this Constitution,”), Article VII and other provisions, including the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

Very briefly, The Democracy Amendment asserts the Power of People to make laws, creates an Electoral Trust to administer the national elections, limits the use of money in National Initiative elections to natural persons (e.g. not corporations), and enacts the National Initiative through a federal ballot, when fifty percent of the voters (equal to half of the votes cast in the most recent presidential election) deliver their votes in its favor. Voting can be through traditional and electronic modes.

The Democracy Statute establishes deliberative legislative procedures vital for lawmaking by the people, administered by the Electoral Trust, in an independent arm of the U.S. government.

Mike Gravel points out that the initiative authority to make laws now exists in 24 states and more than 200 local communities. However, the national initiative, which he envisions would have deliberate legislative procedures and would be generically independent of any curtailment by the “officialdom of government,” except a judicial finding of fraud.

With the National Initiative, the people acting as lawmakers, will be able to address healthcare, education, energy, taxes, the environment, transportation, the electoral college, the Iraq war, and other neglected, delayed or distorted priorities. Legal scholar, Alan Hirsch, believes “a more direct democracy could be an important means of promoting civic maturation.”

Of course these initiatives, if enacted, would still be subject to existing constitutional safeguards such as the First Amendment, equal protection, due process and the like.

No doubt, you may have many questions to be answered. If you are interested, the entire text of The Democracy Amendment and The Democracy Act are on both the above-mentioned websites.

Mr. Gravel’s political positions place him high on the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Cong. Dennis Kucinich will find that he is not alone during the forthcoming debates scheduled by the Democratic Party.

Don’t expect Mike Gravel to show up in the money-raising sweepstakes. For he really believes in a government of, by and for the People.

This proposal is not exactly a magnet for Fat cat money. No candidate for President from the two major parties has ever demonstrated such a detailed position regarding the sovereign power of People to amend the Constitution and make laws.

Will soundbite debates and horserace media interviews allow for such a public deliberation over the next year? Only if the People take their sovereignty seriously and take charge of the campaign trail with their pre-election, pre-primary participation in city, town and country throughout the country.

Over 2000 years ago, the ancient Roman lawyer and orator, Marcus Cicero, defined freedom with these enduring words: “Freedom is participation in power.” That could be the mantra for Mike Gravel’s 2008 Presidential campaign.

RALPH NADER is the author of The Seventeen Traditions

 

 

More articles by:

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

December 13, 2018
John Davis
What World Do We Seek?
Subhankar Banerjee
Biological Annihilation: a Planet in Loss Mode
Lawrence Davidson
What the Attack on Marc Lamont Hill Tells Us
James McEnteer
Breathless
Ramzy Baroud
The Real Face of Justin Trudeau: Are Palestinians Canada’s new Jews?
Dean Baker
Pelosi Would Sabotage the Progressive Agenda With a Pay-Go Rule
Elliot Sperber
Understanding the Yellow Vests Movement Through Basic Color Theory 
Rivera Sun
The End of the NRA? Business Magazines Tell Activists: The Strategy is Working
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Historic Opportunity to Transform Trade
December 12, 2018
Arshad Khan
War, Anniversaries and Lessons Never Learned
Paul Street
Blacking Out the Yellow Vests on Cable News: Corporate Media Doing its Job
Kenneth Surin
The Brexit Shambles Rambles On
David Schultz
Stacking the Deck Against Democracy in Wisconsin
Steve Early
The Housing Affordability Crisis and What Millennials Can do About It
George Ochenski
Collaboration Failure: Trump Trashes Sage Grouse Protections
Rob Seimetz
Bringing a Life Into a Dying World: A Letter From a Father to His Unborn Son
Michael Howard
PETA and the ‘S’-Word
John Kendall Hawkins
Good Panopt, Bad Panopt: Does It Make A Difference?
Kim C. Domenico
Redeeming Utopia: a Meditation On An Essay by Ursula LeGuin
Binoy Kampmark
Exhuming Franco: Spain’s Immemorial Divisions
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Democratizing Money
Laura Finley
Congress Must Reauthorize VAWA
December 11, 2018
Eric Draitser
AFRICOM: A Neocolonial Occupation Force?
Sheldon Richman
War Over Ukraine?
Louis Proyect
Why World War II, Not the New Deal, Ended the Great Depression
Howard Lisnoff
Police Violence and Mass Policing in the U.S.
Mark Ashwill
A “Patriotic” Education Study Abroad Program in Viet Nam: God Bless America, Right or Wrong!
Laura Flanders
HUD Official to Move into Public Housing?
Nino Pagliccia
Resistance is Not Terrorism
Matthew Johnson
See No Evil, See No Good: The Truth Is Not Black and White
Maria Paez Victor
How Reuters Slandered Venezuela’s Social Benefits Card
December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail