Constitutional Amendment

In 2002 the attached letter was sent to every Member of Congress. The response was only slightly more than the sound of a leaf falling onto a placid pond. Out of the 535 letters sent, one Member responded, and he is no longer in Congress but in prison.

While the mailing predated the second Iraqi War, perhaps Republican Members viewed the proposal as an attack upon the George W. Bush administration. That was not the intent. Some Democratic Members may have been concerned that the proposal would label them as being less resolute in defense of the country.

It certainly failed the "constituent" test for 532 offices, and may have merited a trashing in as many Mail Rooms.

I made three separate mailings to my Texas Congressman, none were acknowledged. This suggests that he considered it a particularly worthless idea, and that someone who came up with it was as valuable to him as the idea.

The fact that Rep. Kucinich and none of the co-sponsors of his Department of Peace legislation responded to this proposal is an interesting statement.

While the merits of the proposed amendment are detailed in the letter, there are additional points to be made. Madison, Jefferson and the others who built our foundation would be in shock over the imbalance of power between the White House and Capitol Hill. Presidents of both parties have put nose-rings into the House and Senate, and it is not a pretty sight. Repeated arguments of "nation in peril," and "I must have flexibility and freedom of action," have rolled up the floor mat that Congress has become. Open rebellion would give the President more power. Let's do it the legal way. Change the constitution and give him more power/responsibility that Congress can leverage to win back the power it has given away. Look at it as a starch transfusion, or backbone transplant. Look at it as a needed measure to bring balance to our Republic.

When Congress can hold the President responsible for both his Commander-in-Chief and Principal Peace Maker roles, the world can sleep better at night, and the Hill Dwellers can feel good about getting off the floor and making the Constitution work again.

I will leave it to you to make the case that the best investment of our nation's power is in peace making rather than war making. I really can't imagine any President that the American public would vote into office who wouldn't prefer to be a Nobel Peace prize candidate than to have the pelts of petty and capital tyrants on the Oval Office walls.

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June 11, 2002

Representative Rod R. Blagojevich
331 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Blagojevich,

Please do not forward this letter to my Representative, Lamar Smith. He already has a copy of it. I am sending this letter to you because I want a response from every Member of Congress about his or her willingness to support the proposed Constitutional amendment discussed below.

In 1799, when George Washington died, Henry Lee presented to the House of Representatives this resolution: "To the memory of the Man, first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen." We would be hard pressed to find any other statement about any subsequent president that places the laurels of accomplishment in peace and war at the same level.

Over 200 years later, and deep into an era of the existence of weapons of mass destruction which have an irrefutable capability of dissolving civilization and destroying all life, we hold our president responsible to be the Commander-in-Chief of our military, the principal war maker, but there is no balancing responsibility for the president to make peace.

This is more than a lack of symmetry; it is a defect of great moral and practical significance.

It is commonplace for presidential candidates when campaigning for office to pledge to maintain a military force second to none, and usually criticize the opposition for failure to attend to this essential need. This strategy plays to the patriot in all of us and engages the attention of the powerful institutions of war that have established dominant economic and political roles in our country.

This pledge, if it stands alone, is also an admission of intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy. As complex and expensive as wars have become, they are still less complicated than what it takes to avoid war. Every intelligent leader knows this, but the president of the United States, the leader of the most militarily powerful country in the history of humanity, obviously is greatly tempted to use the force he controls instead of taking the more difficult path of using non-violent strategies to resolve difficult and dangerous issues.

The facts are that we have more practice using violence than we do in employing strategies of non-violence. The irony here is that we know with great confidence that war solves nothing. At best it defers and transfers the issues to future generations with time for the old fears and hate to fester.

Any president who would fail as Commander-in-Chief to defend the country against perilous threats would most certainly be impeached and convicted for the high crime of dereliction of duty.

Is it not obvious that it is also appropriate for the president to be held directly responsible for proactive peace strategies designed to resolve issues before violence takes place and war is contemplated? If the president was constitutionally designated the principal Peace Maker of the country, he or she would have this responsibility and could be held accountable to carry it out. Such a constitutional statement would provide the legal basis to begin to institutionalize peace in our country.

I am asking for your support of the following amendment to the Constitution:

Proposed Amendment to the Constitution of the United States to Designate the President
Principal Peace Maker of the Nation

The Constitution

ARTICLE TWO - The Executive

Section 2

[1] The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several States when called into the actual service of the United States; he shall also be the principal Peace Maker of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

Will you please let us know whether or not you support this proposed amendment? We will tally the responses "support," "undecided," "do not support," and post the results on our website. If we do not hear from you we will list you in the "do not support" column.

Sincerely,

C.B. Scott Jones, Ph.D.
President, P.E.A.C.E. Inc