Opinion: It’s time to consider a radical solution for America

Kevin Griffin

Abbi Pittman

Kevin GriffinAmerica today is bombarded by a stream of social and political problems which at times can seem overwhelming. With the increasing awareness that typical lines of political action are proving ineffective, it is time to consider some unorthodox options.

I have heard it said in several quarters that a new constitutional convention or new amendments are needed to rectify the bleak situation in the country. As hyperbolic as this might seem, it’s probably closer to the mark than many other suggestions.

The regrettable fact is that our Bill of Rights and Constitution are not what they once were. The War on Terror has taken its toll on many liberties we once cherished.

Perhaps a highly publicized debate is what is needed to address the challenges of today.

So many important developments in the financial and political sector, a number of which many Americans are unaware of, characterize the world today. We as a nation have yet to satisfactorily answer some the questions posed by the shift of structure.

These factors are important, but do they really suggest we should take such a dramatic step as amending the constitution, or even attempting to hold some sort of new convention? Certainly things cannot be that bad.

Things are pretty bad, though.

America is today in one of its most politically polarized eras, where various sectors of citizens seem not merely to have different opinions, but inhabit different realities. Income inequality is outrageous, and vital institutions of education and media are failing in unpardonable ways.

Legitimate concerns can certainly arise to the idea of a new convention. After all, once everything was laid out on the table, wouldn’t the rights we as Americans prize so dearly be in jeopardy? It does scare me to think of the fate of our Bill of Rights if left in the hands of this congress.

But it is important to realize that many of those rights in a real sense have been taken away. Legislation such as the Patriot Act and executive action over the last twelve years has changed the reality of civil liberties. If that issue is not addressed soon, the “reforms” might well become permanent.

The solution is radical, but so are the times in which we live. The political system is not doing much to respond effectively to the most pressing concerns, and is likely responsible for many of them.

Trying out a plan that gives greater precedence to ideas than personalities might just be necessary.

Griffin, a freshman Journalism major from Madison, is an opinion writer.