Recently, a friend of mine (who usually exhibits a much higher degree of common sense) proposed that we stage a Constitutional Convention for the purposes of throwing out our current form of government and replacing it with a Parliamentary system, much as they have in the UK.
Pause with me for a nanosecond, whilst we ponder just how screamingly bad an idea this would be.
For those of you that slept through 8th grade Civics or Freshman History class, let me provide you with a soupcon of background on the way things evolved over the pond, and you’ll see why I hold this idea with the same esteem that I usually reserve for things I scrape off the bottom of my shoe, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi…
At one time, Merrie Olde England was a monarchy. What with Bad King John getting a little heavy-handed with the tax thing (See: Hood, Robin), the various dukes and earls got together and forced him to relinquish power…to them. We refer to this agreement (at the point of a sword) as the Magna Carta, or “Great Charter.” Essentially, it turned the King into largely a figurehead (at least it did over time), and helped push Britain into what we now refer to as a “Constitutional Monarchy.” In this system, the King (or now, Queen) has virtually no power, other than being the sort of “spiritual” head of state. Their governmental function seems to be more in the line of rubber-stamping what Parliament does than making any high-level decisions.
What passes for a Congress in the land of Angles and Saxons is divided (like ours) into two houses – the House of Commons and the House of Lords. To get into the House of Commons, you stand for election, by the people. Like any other elective office, you can get thrown out of office or simply voted out. To get into the House of Lords, you get yourself “ennobled” by the monarch. (Okay…the King of Queen does get to do that.) But from what I see, the House of Lords functions more as an oversight body to the House of Commons. All the real action (and power) is centered in the House of Commons, and in the offices of the Ministers.
The Ministers are department heads that are appointed by the House of Commons – chief of which is the Prime Minister – the one who actually runs the country. The Prime Minister is invariably the one who is the head of his party (they have more than two in England, but the only two that really count are the Torries and Labour – essentially their version of the GOP and Dems). Whosoever gets the most seats in the House of Commons get to pick the PM, who then puts together a slate of Ministers to run the bloody thing.
Now as screwed-up as our government is (and admittedly has been, for some time), does anybody with more than two synapses to rub together think that their system would be superior to ours?
Forget for a moment that, if you call a Constitutional Convention, all bets are off – the whole Constitution goes out the window. Tabula Rasa. Blank slate. Do-over.
Forget for a moment that a system that has been revered the world over as the best, most enlightened, and dare I say “most copied” form of government the world has ever known, would be blown to bits.
And now ponder, just who would get to be in our House of Lords.
Ugh. Remember, these are the guys that are supposed to keep an eye on the Great Unwashed in the lower chamber, and keep them from screwing things up too badly. And remember that we have no royalty here – no great tradition of people that have automatically ruled by virtue of their birth. (Except, of course, the Kennedys. And maybe the Bushes.)
No, I think we’d have to opt for two kinds of royalty – the kinds based on fame…and fortune. This would result in some REALLY scary crap I don’t wanna even contemplate. But I will for your edification. Here’s a short list of nominees, to get your creative juices flowing…
- (The) Donald, Lord Trump
- Lady, Madonna
- Lady, Lady Gaga
- William, Lord Gates
- Ross, Lord Perot
- Meg, Lady Whitman
- Lady Cher
- Tina, Lady Fey (ooh…then Sarah Palin could make fun of HER)
- T. Boone, Lord Pickens
- George, Lord Soros
- George, Lord Clooney (and the tabloids would immediately dub him “Looney Clooney”)
Now, of course, we’d keep the “Political Class” in the House of Commons. And the two parties in place. Which means that one of their number would become Prime Minister – usually the ranking member in what we now think of as Your House of Representatives.
Therefore, ladies and gentlemen…I give you your new Prime Minister…
Pretty scary, eh, kids?
But wait…there’s more. What about a monarch? Gotta have a monarch. Had his timing been better, The O man coulda applied. But as his street cred (even within his homies on the Radical Left) approaches a big, fat ZERO, it would seem that his aspirations to be crowned King of the World will have to wait. And since Ted K had the bad luck to assume room temp before the coming game changer described here, the Kennedys are…well…dead. So who would become our first King or Queen of the D.C. Prom?
I really hate to say this, but I suspect it would be her Hillary-ness.
Think of it. She’s manipulated the system to be in a semi-prominent position (so nobody will forget about her by 2012), but largely marginalized power-wise (so she won’t get the blame). Brilliant. She can appear loyal, yet above the fray. She’s homely enough to be a monarch (Nobody from the Tudors in real life would have ever won a beauty pageant), and – this is the most important part – she comes with her own fool (I feel your pain!). What could be more perfect. And I can’t wait to see the cat fight between Hillary and Nancy. Sweet Mother of All that Is Good And Holy, what a fight card THAT would be!
So…for those of you would would dis our Constitution, let me remind you that it may not be perfect…but it’s several orders of magnitude better than…well…ANYthing else. And might I point out that the only thing really wrong with it is that we don’t bother to adhere to it much any more. Maybe we should give THAT a try, before we throw the Constitutional baby out with the sea change bath water, and opt for a Parliament that would be a bloody sight worse.