Of Revolution and Pyramids
Three points define a plane, which is why a three-legged stool never wobbles. A triangle is the most stable geometric figure because you cannot change its shape without utterly destroying the triangle which is why it's used so much in construction. All of time can be represented by one of three options: the past, the present and the future. All numbers are either positive, negative or zero. We have the conscious, superconscious and subconscious mind. We have three primary colors: red, blue and yellow. Objects are defined by their length, width and height. Substances can exist as solids, liquids or gases. Everything on earth is classified as an animal, vegetable or mineral. Christianity has incorporated the the number three into their dogma: the triune Godhead of father, son and holy spirit. I have a page on my site that speaks about this and shows something rather enlightening about the number three in the spiritual sense. I'll try to sum it up briefly here.
Geometrically, if you take a piece of paper, draw an equilateral triangle on it (all sides equal length, all angles 60 degrees), then connect the midpoints of those sides with a line, and fold angles "up" along that line, you will create a three dimensional, equilateral pyramid where the "tip" of any one side is directly over the center of the triangle at its base. This ONLY works with an equilateral triangle. That means that in order to find balance in the world (ie, three dimensional reality, represented by the equilateral pyramid), we have to find balance in our own body, mind and emotions (represented by the midpoints— just a the teeter-totter balances when supported in the middle) and all those have to be interconnected (represented by the lines drawn connecting those midpoints.
The founding fathers of this nation appear to have understood the significance of the number three in terms of stability and strength. They created not only three branches of government but also a system of checks and balances designed to keep them all equal— a requirement if we're to have a stable society over time. These checks and balances are the "interconnection" among the various branches of the government. And society's use of government as a way of creating an enlightened society is comparable to the "folding" of the paper triangle to form a pyramid. We are elevating society to its higher purpose through the use of government.
So why, given the built in stability and strength that our founding fathers instilled in the US Constitution, is our society in such trouble? Because not only has the balance of power not been maintained (ie, we no longer have three equal legs on our triangle) but we have not yet located the "midpoint" (or balance point) within each of those three branches of government. We, as humans, are male and female (and a whole range of genders in between, but that's a more scientific discussion and beyond the scope of this article.) Natural laws says that for humans to reproduce, we need to have both the male and female involved. (Nature has its own asexuals, bisexuals, homosexuals and transgendered species as well, but that too is not within the scope of this article.) So it follows that in order to "give birth" to a successful society (which is, after all, a "child" of humanity), we have to have both male and female involvement. But our society is, for the most part, patriarchal and males have a disproportionate amount of power in this country. Therefore, we see a disproportionate representation of what are commonly acknowledged as male traits: aggressiveness, war, territoriality, an almost obsessive focus on sex, power struggles, etc. So how do we restore balance to our society and to our government?
The simplest way would be for everyone to truly believe that all men are created equal and have the same inalienable rights. But, ironically, that is not only undoable (not sure that's even a word), but if attempts were made to force that, it would be in violation of the First Amendment. Government, if you read the Declaration of Independence, is set up to protect our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This means nothing more than the freedom (liberty) to live (life) as you see fit (pursuit of happiness). This is the right that ALL of us have. But every right also has a certain responsibility that goes along with it: in order for your claim to that right to have any foundation upon which to stand, you must respect that same right for others. All of us are free to believe what we will and, as I see it, attempts at changing someone's opinion about something are disrespectful. If I want the right to live my life as I see fit, I must extend to all others that same right. If I want the right to hold my own opinions, I must extend to others the right to hold their own opinions.
So rather than trying to change someone's opinion, we have to instead change the laws. The founding fathers gave us a wonderful foundation with the Bill of Rights, but over time, various governments in power at the time enacted in excess of an additional six million laws and many of those laws forgot that, in addition to protecting the individual's rights from the government, the laws were also supposed to protect the individual's rights from the majority. The United States is not and was never intended to be a democracy. We are a constitutional republic, which means that majority rules only as long as it doesn't violate the civil rights of even one individual. (There are those who will try to tell you that we live in a representative republic, but there is no such beast in politics. We do have representation, but the representatives that we elect are still bound by the US Constitution and no matter how big a majority elects them, they cannot create laws that violate the US Constitution.)
So how do we go about changing the laws? We must first get our government back not only to the way it was originally designed to be, but also into greater balance than it has been in the past. The problem is, and has been for some time, that changing laws regarding the government often means putting some of the very people who make those laws out of work. Or at least increasing the potential that they will lose their job earlier than anticipated. So it takes a special kind of politician to put the interests of the country ahead of their own personal interests. Unfortunately, there are not many politicians like that out there today. And until we get such politicians, the laws are unlikely to change and the likelihood of getting such politicians is lessened without the change in laws. It's a sad and disheartening catch-22, but change is occurring, even if at a snail's pace. The major changes that are necessary in the laws are limiting the time politicians spend in office and changing how they are elected/appointed as well as how the elections are funded. The major change that is necessary in the three branches of the government is that they must become more representative of the population in general with respect to gender, and this may require changes in the law.
By nature, males and females complement each other. Like it or not, it takes both males and females to continue the species— nature/God/dess's way, I believe, of showing us that neither gender is better than the other. Let's start with the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) since it is closest to achieving gender parity with 2 of the nine justices being women. I personally believe that judges on the Supreme Court should serve for a term of 18 years. As it stands now, one bad president (like Bush) could screw things up for the next 50 years or more if given the opportunity to appoint more than one judge to the SCOTUS. Every two years, a new justice would be chosen. The president in power could nominate three justices. Those who would be charged with approving one of those three would be any congressional representative or senator that was NOT a member of the president's party. Changes to the laws would require a five/four make up of the court with respect to gender. If a justice retires or dies before his/her term is over, they would be replaced by someone of the same gender whose term would be over when the original justice's term was to have ended. When it came time to appoint a new justice, the nominees would all have to be the opposite gender of the retiring justice— this would insure that every 2 years, there would a switch in the majority gender. I'm sure there would be those who cried "Discrimination!", but I don't believe it is since no one is being ruled out permanently based on gender— they may simply have to wait two years to be nominated.
Congress is at about roughly 20% equality. (Women represent about 10% of the Congress right now and that needs to get up to about 50%. I haven't yet come up with a way in which to insure gender parity in both houses of Congress. But I believe that rather than trying to insure gender parity through restricting who can run, I believe we can do it through reform of elections financing laws. Right now, men have more financial resources than women (in general), so when it comes to running for office, men have a much easier time of it because it does cost money. In today's society, you almost have to be a millionaire to run even for state office. So I suggest that anyone who wants to contribute to a financial campaign can still do so, but it goes into a general fund. The government pays all candidates a set amount (depending on which office you're running for) and NO other money OR GIFTS can be accepted. A candidate cannot even use personal monies to finance a campaign. Any contributions from corporations, individuals, etc. would be divided up among ALL the candidates and not just a select few. This would effectively end the prostitution of Congressional votes not to mention the ability of an incumbent to create a "war chest" in excess of $100 million from special interest groups. Another way to overcome the incumbent advantage is to place term limits on both houses of Congress. I think 2 would be appropriate for senators and 4 for representatives. Two other change to campaign laws would be that political ads of any sort could only discuss the goals, plans, etc. of the candidate: no negative campaign ads would then be possible. The second change would be that all candidates would have to fill out a "position sheet" that details their position on a whole range of issues. These position sheets would have to be available at least 6 weeks before the election for public viewing: both online and perhaps printed in a special section in the newspaper or a special edition magazine. A candidate that did not fill out his position paper by the deadline would be disqualified from running. By insuring that no "dynasties" are going to form, giving equal financial footing and by actually forcing candidates to take a stand on issues BEFORE the election, we'd insure a true choice of candidates. If women chose not to run for Congress, it would be a true choice, not one forced on them by the old patriarchal power structure. It would also effectively eliminate the stranglehold that the Democratic and Republican parties have on politics right now.
And finally, a male/female ticket in the White House. I think that a male/female ticket should be a requirement and that after two years, the president becomes the VP and the VP becomes the president. (This insures that one candidate does not pick a "weak" opposite gender candidate just to fill the requirement of a male/female ticket.) The presidential campaigns would be under the same new financing laws, with the campaign being financed by the government and no outside monies, including personal fortunes, would be available for use. This forced male/female ticket and the switching roles halfway through a term would force the president and VP to work as a team, bringing both the feminine and masculine energies into the White House and thus bringing it to a balance.
While we're in the process of getting balance into the various branches of government, we need to seek to restore balance between the branches. This means getting rid of executive orders. This gives the president far too much power. Something like faith-based initiatives, which would have faced a long, hard battle had it had to go through Congress, was ushered in without much fanfare by an executive order signed by Bush. The role of the courts is to insure that laws passed by Congress are in keeping with the US Constitution: it is the courts' DUTY to overturn laws that are unconstitutional, even if such laws were approved by the majority of voters in a state or in the nation. An amendment that violates the Constitution or the existing amendments is unconstitutional and cannot be allowed to stand. For Bush and the ultra-conservative factions in this country to say that this makes them "activist" judges is misleading and false. The activists in this case are those who are seeking to change the US Constitution, which was set up to insure equality for all citizens, not just the ones the majority accepts or agrees with.
There are three procedural changes that I consider absolutely necessary to restoring the balance of power among the various branches of government.
These simple changes would do several things that I can easily illustrate using a real life example that just happened in my home state, Pennsylvania. An adoption bill was up for vote that would have increased available funding for those who were adopting "hard to place" children. This had wide bipartisan support from not only the members of the legislature but also the public in general. At about 11:00 pm on the day that the legislature adjourned for its spring recess, Jerry Bermelin, a representative in the PA Congress, tacked on at least 40 amendments to that bill: all of them aimed at denying gays any sort of legal recognition with respect to domestic partnerships, civil unions, marriage, adoption rights, etc. The bill was slated to be voted on the first day back in session, so there was never any discussion or debate about the amendments. It was a mean-spirited sneak attack that was designed to get the amendments through without much of a fight because the bill they were attached to was so popular and so necessary. Fortunately, there was enough backlash from not only the GLBT community but from clerics and the public that the amendments were removed and the adoption bill passed unanimously. Had the three changes in procedure been law, this would not have been possible. If Mr. Bermelin believes in his amendments so much, he can seek to get them passed as a stand-alone bill and he shouldn't have to resort to underhanded tricks like attaching them at the last minute or forcing a vote on the first day back from recess. The line item veto will prevent members of Congress from attaching "pork barrel" or special interest projects into bills that have popular support: the president could just veto that part of the bill out. It would also prevent partisanship by both Congress and the president.
And finally, the last change that is absolutely necessary to restore balance of power to the three branches is that Congress shall make no laws or pass any acts restricting in any manner the jurisdiction of the US Supreme Court. Such an amendment has recently been introduced, called, misleadingly, the "Constitutional Restoration Act". This would prohibit the SCOTUS from getting involved in any case in which a state or federal employee was being sued because of their religious beliefs. Not surprisingly, the bill is co-written by Judge Roy Moore, who won his court battles in the state of Alabama, only to have the overturned by the SCOTUS. The SCOTUS must have the ability to declare ANY law in ANY state to be in violation of the US Constitution. To allow anything less is to not only blindfold Justice but to tie one hand behind her back.
We need a balance of male/female energy in order to create a utopian society. Remember the pyramid example? Only when there is a balance and equality can all sides meet at the same point, elevated to a higher plane. Until we gain it in our our various branches of government (on both the national, state and local levels), society doesn't stand much of a chance of gaining it overall simply because most people don't think for themselves: they do what the law (or their pastor or teacher) tells them to do. US government has stopped being governed by the elected (as it was designed to do) and has since become some monster that is dictating to the electorate. And the electorate has, for the most part, allowed this to happen through apathy. This is nothing less than taking freedom for granted and in doing so, government begins taking away those freedoms as it has done with the Patriot Act (Parts I and II) and seeks to do with the "Flag Desecration Act", the "Constitutional Restoration Act" and "Parental Rights Acts" as well as the slew of anti-gay marriage laws that have recently passed.
It's time to wake up, America. Thomas Jefferson believed that a revolution was necessary about once every 20 years in order to keep the government honest and in line with its original intent. If we want a peaceful revolution, NOW is the time to act. If we wait much longer, blood will be shed.
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