To the Editor-
I’d like to thank Dan Kontos for his pseudo-intellectual foray into Constitutional Law (Kontos Column: It’s time for a Convention of the State, Dec. 20). I especially like how he preaches about limiting the “reach of the Federal Government” while invoking the Founding Fathers. These were a group of wealthy, elite, well-educated white men (The only self-made Founders were Hamilton and Franklin, both of whom were avowed Federalists—I can only assume Mr. Kontos is at least aware of the Federalist Papers and their authors, even if he hasn’t read them).
I also enjoyed his incorrect quotation of the Constitution (well, more specifically the Bill of Rights). Yes, we are guaranteed by that document “Life, Liberty, and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.” The Bill of Rights does, in fact, grant us the freedom to worship as we choose and freedom of speech.
However, it is only Mr. Kontos’ interpretation that the document entails “the right to live our lives without undue governmental [sic] interference.”
Let’s be perfectly clear, the historical record (personal writings of the founding fathers and the records of the Constitutional Conventions) gives ample proof that these men were in NO WAY convinced that the average, uneducated, non-property owning white man (much less enslaved or free black men, or HORRORS, WOMEN) had the intellectual or moral capacity to vote on ANYTHING.
This is why the Framers created our representational democracy for the republic they imagined. Universal suffrage in this country is only 68 years old. That’s when Japanese Americans were finally allowed to vote.
As for the slacking, incompetent “unelected faceless bureaucrats who outnumber our elected officials,” they are NOT faceless. They are our family members, and our neighbors, and our fellow citizens. They are not elected for a reason. They are there to do their jobs and rise above politics. Demonizing a group of hardworking people minimizes the effect and the work that they do.
Equating “career politicians” with people who spend their careers working in the halls of government (be it city, county, state, or federal) dismisses the institutional knowledge, experience, and the apolitical nature of a citizen bureaucracy. These people work across administrations. They don’t subscribe to the two-party system. They go in and do their jobs like everyone else. Some do it better than others, but they are subject to their employers like everyone else.
Like most of his columns, he sounds quite sure that he is right in his beliefs and pretty confident that his ideas are shared by a majority of the people. If that’s so, why have Republicans gerrymandered out voting districts so badly that a majority of Democratic votes in our state result in a minority in our state assembly?
I suppose I should just be glad he didn’t quote Ayn Rand.
Conventions of the States? Sure, why not. This isn’t about “taking back our government” from “failing bureaucrats.” This is about removing the people HE deems unworthy. Before calling for a said convention, may I suggest Mr. Kontos pick up A Libertarian Walks into a Bear: The Utopian Plot to Liberate an American Town by Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling. Oh, and the Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay.
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