What better time to reconsider the entirety of the direction of the American project than now? What better time to undertake, peacefully, a Constitutional Convention that, among other things, considers secession, than now? The citizenry really do concieve of the employment of American time, resources, power influence and authority - at home and abroad - braodly differently from one another. No single personality, or cult thereof, will be able to bridge that gap. Either you see war as a last resort, or you do not. Either everyone gets health CARE, or they do not. Either Christ is among those accepted dieties nonviolent and loving, or Christ is among those who front violence and murder. Either the ascendancy of the corporate form of business is good and right and proper, or it is not. Either man can act as an all-knowing God, and determine ultimate good and evil, or it can only decide to err, in its lack of Godlike knowledge, on the side of life and forever coming into greater understanding. Either the Enlightenment was the End of the Beginning, or the Beginning of the End. Either guns have only one function, or they don't. Either love has only one arc, or it doesn't. Either the very dualistic nature of the posts are within a context of fallibility of framework, or dualism is perfectly knowable and right and just. Either justice is the next best thing to the Just Act, or it IS the Just Act. If you come down where I come down on these issues, you see America, in its tradition of ever-expanding rights for more and more of its citizens (even though most of those rights-expansion efforts came through the suffering and death of the vocal minorities), as the Greatest Experiment ever enacted, but balanced, always balanced, precariously on a combination of guarantees and interpretations. It's time for a nation, or maybe for a few nations, which guarantee relatively beyond interpretation, some very basic things, and a way of being in the world that is different from the way of being in the world that is currently manifested by this government, a way that is unacceptable, for reasons various and sundry, to about 1 of every 2 Americans. For example, take a look at what it guaranteed here: ...democracy is founded on the free formation of opinion and on universal and equal suffrage. It shall be realised through a representative and parliamentary polity and through local self-government. Public power shall be exercised under the law... ...Public power shall be exercised with respect for the equal worth of all and the liberty and dignity of the private person. The personal, economic and cultural welfare of the private person shall be fundamental aims of public activity. In particular, it shall be incumbent upon the public institutions to secure the right to health, employment, housing and education, and to promote social care and social security. The public institutions shall promote sustainable development leading to a good environment for present and future generations. The public institutions shall promote the ideals of democracy as guidelines in all sectors of society and protect the private and family lives of private persons. The public institutions shall promote the opportunity for all to attain participation and equality in society. The public institutions shall combat discrimination of persons on grounds of gender, colour, national or ethnic origin, linguistic or religious affiliation, functional disability, sexual orientation, age or other circumstance affecting the private person. The lawyers among the group know that the use of shall is purposeful, and it is meaningful. Look at what is not up for interpretation in that nation's document. It is perfect? No; for example, look where the "shall" is abdicated in favour of "should": Opportunities should be promoted for ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities to preserve and develop a cultural and social life of their own. Now, this is in a nation where its combination, its mix, of social fare-well systems and mixed, sensible economic competitiveness are, for many, the envy of civilization. Can we, can Americans, not do better? To submit "no" to that question means that you think that America's foundation, it's institutions that spring from that foundation, are good and right and just, and that no renewal, foundationally, is required. To submit "yes" to that question means that the notion of entering into serious discussions that must have everything on the table, including a Constitution Convention that re-considers the right of negotiated secession, ought ot be on the table. This is different than some "exploratory" Convention, where, not having built the case nor established the counterbalances to power, we open up the Bill of Rights to desecration by the powers of the Neocon Age, as is the effort here: Rhode Island should have a Constitutional Convention to review the state's basic governing document and see what changes might be needed... Uh, no. You don't open up your Constitution to SEE what changes MIGHT be needed. A Constitutional COnvention MUST be the final, end-product; the RESULT of a process of education, redefinition, discussion negotiation, persuasion, abdication, and transparency. I'd like to examine this in a couple of ways: First, and easiest/least rigourous: Imagine that the nation came to you and MADE you a living, one-person Constitutional Convention. What would you change/not change, and why? Secondly, once that first question allows all the Unconsidered to get whatever they want off their chests: What are the possible positive permutations of this line of thinking? Is it, in fact, what many Founders envisioned when they saw this initial coming together (i.e., a real re-consideration of the nation every few hundred years)? And, of course, what are the less obviouus but maybe more sinister ramifications of it going terribly, horribly, wrong, at any level of reconsideration, affirmation, or re-casting of the nation (or mutliple national) ideals, mores, folksways, and mission? In addition, what, in the current age of the state (be it the rise, zenith or denouement of the nation-state and other earlier-century powerful forms) would it take, in the esitmation of those here, for a reconsideration of the nation, in all the fundamental and complex engagements of that sensibility? And how do we get outside of the information-industrial complex to operate with better knowing, or is it that it's all info-complexed, and all we can know is what we personally experience, minus (or subject to) the shaping of our perception by the universe of information itself? It is time. Or is it? Is that just the arrogance of the man who always thinks that great events happen in his time, or an acknowledgement that little things, little decisions, subtle choices that may become great are always happening, all the time? I think that, in the relative safety of this forum, we can bother to consider these things...bother to consider a reconception of not only our nation, but of our very selves; either of our souls, or of what we hope our souls to be. I don't see the Founders as Seldon-esque psychohistorians, but rather as open enough to their own fallibility and aware enough of the hubris of nations to be prepared to re-shape the nation, or declare a new one, in circumstances and situations seemingly less problematic than the ones in which we currently find ourselves.