Getting started yesterday wasÂ tough – extra tough.
I’m not quite sure why. I DID manage to slither out of bed eventually andÂ blearily stumbled around the house yesterday morning in a kind of lethargic panic. As I staggered from room to room, my brain was vainly trying to get itself (and the rest of me) coordinated and conscious. It was still pressing the restart button whenÂ the news came on.Â Headlining the newsÂ at the top of the hour wereÂ two proposals for a new ConstitutionalÂ Amendment to ensure that the US government would be resurrected 48 hoursÂ after it wasÂ destroyed.
If I had snapped awake any faster, I would now be wearing a neck brace. News like that isÂ stronger than black coffee and more shocking than ice water inÂ your shower.Â
WhyÂ did someone feel the need to create anÂ amendment to the US Constitution that would ensure that the US government could resurrect itself within 48 hours? Why would a senator or a member of congressÂ feel the need to do this?
These questions flew through my mind, roosted in my rafters, and generally made a nuisance of themselves. Quarrelsome birds, these questions are.
Both the House Representatives and the Senate have special access to intelligence information, so they tend to know things. And when they make statements indicating that there is a possibility that they could be sent home to meet their Maker, en masse… Well, it’s eyebrow raising stuff.
But, a Constitutional AMENDMENT??
THAT, my friends, goes beyond raised eyebrows and rushes headlong into hand waving and expletives deleted. Has Congress FINALLY woken to the danger of Iran? Were they rushing around in a lethargic panic, pursued by quarrelsome birds?
Then, this morning, I did some digging. It appears that following the events of 9/11,Â the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Brookings Institution created a project called the Continuity of Government Commission (aka, COG Commission) project headquartered at the AEI.Â This commission draws its members from the highest levels of government, fromÂ both Democrats and Republicans,Â as well asÂ from both the House and the Senate.
Apparently, they realized that Flight 93, might have taken outÂ a great dealÂ of theÂ US Congress, and paralyzed the US government – but for the actions of a brave few.
OfÂ course, taking out an institutionÂ of government that is as corrupt and ineffectual as the US Congress… Well, you could be forgiven for wondering atÂ how much of a tragedy it really would have been.
Seriously though, the physical destruction of the US Congress would have had terrible repercussions. And, it seems that theÂ US Constitution doesn’t adequately allow for a quick replacement of those senators and congressmen that have been either killed or incapacitated.Â Under current conditions, such a strike could have neutralized the US government for as much asÂ four years, while constituencies try to elect replacements. That is a serious issue, andÂ it really does need to be addressed.
However, I’m still wondering about the timing. Why now? And, why are they choosing the route of a Constitutional Amendment? Why aren’t other, less drastic measures pursued first?
In just the short amount of time that I have had to research this issue, it appears that the COG Commission advocates a non-democratic means to appoint a new government in the face of such a disaster. I am not even sure that they are even advocating theÂ involvement of elected officials.
I smell the possibility of good motives turned to bad ends. What bothers me is possibility that this new power could be used to limit, or even destroy, the rights of the individual. Worse, in light of such a catastrophe, we would gladly surrender these rights.
Disasters have a way of eating away at rights and privileges.Â TheÂ Great Depression ushered in a greater control over the finances of our grandparents.Â World War IIÂ became aÂ catalyst for changes that still ripple through our society today.
Natural and unnatural disaster inspires central government to take a central, and expanded, role. However, it tends to be reluctant to release power that it has acquired in the process of meeting challenges. And, if you aren’t paying attention, central government will acquire every bit of power that it can lay hands on – at our expense.
Should the US government actually need rebuilding, we need to make sure thatÂ the rebuilding processÂ doesn’t find us with fewer rights and fewer protections. We need to make sure that the framers of this new Constitutional Amendment are carefulÂ to protect the people that they have sworn to represent.Â
The good thing is that the COG Commission proposals are still just that: proposals.Â IÂ can only hope that my concerns will prove to be groundless, or as my dear grandmother used to say, ‘fuss and feathers’. Â