Blah! This state can be so frustrating to live in sometimes. Such as this past Tuesday, when our wonderful state representatives decided to vote the latest legislation regarding the state’s constitution down:
Heck, the bill didn’t even call for a constitutional convention. It just called for a referendum to be placed on the next general election ballot to allow voters to decide whether or not we should call a convention. But apparently even that idea is too wild and “progressive” for most Alabama representatives to handle. I guess they don’t trust the voters to do the “right” thing. The status quo is much too important to protect for these folks. They can’t risk letting the people decide. They must think that they are smarter than the rest of us. Considering their own intelligence, that is an insult of epic proportions! Do you realize how stupid we must all be if those folks are all smarter? We must not be just dumb, we are all Sarah Palin dumb!
Opponents argue that a convention would be dominated by special interests, and lead to tax increases and legalized gambling. I would argue that even if those were valid points for being opposed to a convention, they are not valid points for being opposed to a referendum regarding a convention. Allow the vote, make those same points, let proponents of the convention make their points, and then let the voter decide. What could be more democratic than that? (The funny thing is based on other votes we have had in this state, any argument that makes a claim that something will lead to tax increases, regardless of how flimsy that argument may be, will almost always get that something defeated. If the convention were to lose on a referendum, I would think that would kill the issue. It would be hard to argue for a constitutional convention when opponents can simply say that the people do not want it and here’s proof! But I guess as long as measures to even getting a vote are being defeated 58-32, the people who don’t want a new constitution figure why bother. It’s not even close to getting on the ballot. And even if it does long down the road, then the tax argument is a fallback strategy.)
Alabama’s constitution has been amended over 800 times. That fact alone tells me that the document is fundamentally flawed. Could special interests dominate a convention? Yes. But special interests dominate the current government now and are largely able to do so because of the current constitution that concentrates power at Montgomery. We really have nothing to lose in that regard. (Besides, in this context, when convention opponents use the term “special interests”, they are simply talking about any group that disagrees with them.) Could taxes go up? Yes, though if you rewrite the Constitution, you could make it whatever you want it to be in regards to taxes. But considering how regressive our state tax system is, and the freebies that many special interests get, then yes, it would probably go up for certain groups. That’s because it should to be fair and equitable. Will it allow for gambling? Maybe, maybe not. Let the people decide.
Really this is probably just a waste of space. The chances that this state will get a new constitution is less than the chances that President Obama and Dick Cheney will hug out their differences!
I wrote about our need for a new constitution before. Nobody listened to me then either!