In America, who or what is sovereign?

by Kelly GerlingKelly Gerling Photo by Michael Regnier www.regnierstudionews.com/

I think it is important to realize that power in the US is largely political. The money in politics is not the real power, but is used to harness that power.

But who or what is sovereign? Is the government and its structures sovereign? Is the Constitution sovereign? Or are We the People sovereign? There is much confusion on this in America.

On June 26th, 2010, David Korten wrote an article for Yes! Magazine titled: The Big Picture: Five Ways to Know You are Making a Difference.

It is a good article, laying out some general ideas for being on the side of progressive change. But it lacks the specificity of a plan, whether tactical or strategic.

So to make ideas such as David Korten’s turn into an actual plan, rather than an amorphous set of ideas and ideals, we need a tactical or strategic interpretation (for we DON’T have decades to do this).

Take this quote from Korten’s fifth question:

“. . . support for a rule change that will shift the balance of power from the people and institutions of the Wall Street phantom-wealth economy to the people . . .”

Okay, I agree. But how do we, the American progressive citizenry, make it specific?

I like the analysis by Akhil Reed Amar, a Yale law professor. He has a convincing analysis that (just imagine!!!) says that the American people are one people; that Article V of the Constitution is only one way of amending our Constitution to fix our government; that We the People BY MAJORITY VOTE have always had the right and the duty to amend our Constitution to fix the obvious flaws such as the vulnerability of the government’s takeover by an illegitimate minority of rich people; AND that this fact was so obvious and evident to the founders of the nation and the framers of the Constitution that they never made it explicit—except in the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble, Amendments I, IX, and X and the way Article VII was implemented by the states.

Here is a link to his very insightful paper called Philadelphia Revisited (1988):


An updated version of his analysis is contained in the first two chapters of his book For the People.

Author Dan Lazare has made some of the same points in his book The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Paralyzes Democracy. There is a published interview on YouTube about the book.

Just think . . . if most Americans believed ourselves to be the source of the Constitution’s power, and its primary beneficiary, and its originating creator, and that We the People therefore can amend it by majority vote, (like Montana can and many other states), then to fulfill Korten’s well-known, generally accepted ideal of shifting the balance of power, all we need to do is vote delegates into a democratic assembly, deliberate and decide upon solutions, and then have a nationwide vote for a series of democracy amendments or a new constitution. We can fix the system just like that, like is done in nation after nation all over our planet.

THAT would be cool. THAT would be a specific plan for such a plan is a way to operationalize the radical idea that the American people are sovereign over ourselves, our nation, and our government.

How do we do that?

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