Why This Amendment: Exploring our Deeper Roots

Note: Material will begin to appear on this page within a few weeks of this writing, September 18, 2012.

This section will focus on some of the many varied aspects of our national history. As such, a comprehensive history is not possible in this medium, and can still only be approximated with dozens of volumes by historians and scholars reflecting the great variety of perspectives offered and argued about our nation’s origins, its most significant events, and its substantial and conflicting values.

However, as we begin to realize and discover our humanity, and as we begin to accept our humanity and the vast multidisciplinary exploration which that discovery and that acceptance mandates, we have the potential to arrive at the nexus of a discovery of both what we have lost because of our illusions about ourselves, our societies, our social and personal relationships—our history— and if we can realize and accept that, we then have the potential to redeem ourselves, our societies, and our social and personal relationships. As such then, a renewed and reborn history can become our new apprentice in the archaeology of the human psyche and soul and an apprentice in the reformulation and rebirth of our human potential. Any history which offers the potential for anything less is simply an impoverished pretender attempting to grasp some of the threads of a single or even some various cultures in an attempt to claim or maintain some intellectual or academic turf. Let us hope and reach for more.

Human Culture and a Re-evaluation of Our American History

It is the nature and fundamental convention of human community that, whether we are oral-tradition ancient Greeks, ink-and-pen enlightened revolutionaries, or digital modern Americans, we are bound together by the same fundamental need: Our heroines and heroes, our leaders, our need for and dependence upon hierarchy, our images of our hoped-for better selves, must be and must represent, for all time and without question, our most sacred and honored values. However, our survival and the survival of our planet now depends on whether we are able, instead, to arrive at some more conscious awareness and decision: Will that fundamental human convention of need and dependence upon hierarchy free us and lead us to the light, or will it forever and fatally bind and blind us into the darkness?

The glory of our heroines and heroes and their sacred words and values and our dependence upon our political and religious leaders continues to dominate our history and our hearts, despite whatever skepticism we may hold, and most of us continue to impress those values upon our children, in some manner. That is unless, few and far between, we thirst for some deeper understanding, and attempting to cast further light upon our biology and our common and personal biography we might discover the work of those few but committed individuals who were relentless in their quest and scholarship to recover and preserve for all time a deeper and more comprehensive truth of humanity’s birth and journey from yesterday’s horizons to tomorrow’s.

Most literate people on this planet have at least heard of our sacred Declaration of Independence. Yet, it is likely that the overwhelming majority of our fellow citizens of these United States are still unaware that the American Revolution was led, not by Founding Fathers with great ideas, but by farmers and clerks, milkmaids and weavers, and the myriad forms of common folk, gathered within their committees of safety, and by evangelical ministers rousing those communities with regular passionate invocations of God’s will. Today, though, we are, however apparently skeptical, apt to fall sleepy with dreams, blindly hoping to discover great leaders to chart our course and lead the way. Otherwise, we are left to awaken with only our own willingness to recognize our part in the responsibility for the madness and mayhem in our world, left without someone else to blame and shame. Who is willing to light their own candle and risk emerging from the false comfort of their secure darkness?

The First Continental Congress

One man was Peter Force (1790-1868), trained as a printer, who, but for some unclear reason, maintained a passion for unearthing the thousands of pages, many simply pamphlets, which documented the reasons for the resistance of American colonists to Great Britain and its Parliamentary Acts. In his counter to many variations of received historical wisdom, T.H. Breen’s American Insurgents, American Patriots: The Revolution of the People makes extensive use of Force’s work, as well as many other invaluable sources, telling the story of the people of America’s Revolution. Passing words from ear to ear, and paper from hand to hand, it was the common daily behavior and the locally printed pamphlets and small newspapers of the American people, astonishing as it may sound, which ultimately forced and led our immortalized Founding Fathers to stand unanimously in the First Continental Congress, responding to the common people of Boston and New England who led the way.

Instead of Paul Revere’s local Midnight Ride in 1775, it was Paul Revere’s long journey by horseback to Philadelphia in September of 1774, carrying Massachusetts’ Suffolk Resolves from the people of Boston, who had emphatically declared, ringing the first bells of revolution, that “no obedience was due from this Province” to any part of the recent Acts of Parliament. The firm and true foundation of the American Revolution was laid by the direct mutual support of the common people for each other almost two years before our famous Fathers were led to sign the Declaration of Independence.

Today we are left without recourse but to rediscover that our hope lies only, but also joyously, in taking the lead with our own assent and support for each other. As with Parliament in 1774, so it is with Congress in 2012: We were and still are without representation, unless we choose to make sure ourselves that, this time, the work—our work—is set firm and lasting.

The Second American Revolution?

There is barely a light brighter than a human face awakening to a sudden vision of a profound and unrealized need. This has been my experience as I have discussed with many people passing by if “they will support a Constitutional right to vote?” More than a few continue along with a bit of a laugh, as if that question is the utterance of some absurd street person. Yet, more and more, perhaps coinciding with my own determination, people will stop short, sometimes shaking their heads to clear some bit of fog, and inquire further. It is my hope that after some hundreds of years of combined British and American experience, some biological, psychological, or even epigenetic force impels us to recognize that Constitutional issues are not to be taken lightly. Still, not all recognize the power of needs shared and passed from vested person to person: Most are still too energized to resolve the pressing demands which each moment seems to make of an increasingly complex daily life. Yet, tomorrow does come, the bills must be paid, and death awaits us all: Who will stop now, and take a few minutes to make the most of it?

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The story of how the American Revolution actually began and evolved, and how, perhaps, the Second American Revolution might occur with this proposal for the 28th Constitutional Amendment, will continue in these pages…

Barry McKenna
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Why This Amendment: Exploring our Deeper Roots by Barry McKenna is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

revised October 14, 2012, 6:48 PM, EDT