Tuesday, October 21, 2008

No to Illinois Con Con

The voters of Illinois are being asked, as they are every twenty years, whether to hold a Constitutional Convention (Con Con), potentially to re-write the entire thing. There’s nothing wrong with the state constitution the way it is, and it can be amended, if needed, by the General Assembly or the people themselves. A Con Con could cost at least $80 million, money that would be better spent on roads, schools and other critical needs. As an Illinois native, I’m absolutely opposed to holding a Constitutional Convention and I urge Illinois voters to vote NO.

To learn more, check out the Alliance to Protect the Illinois Constitution.


Lord Byron from IL said...

Sorry, Arthur, I disagree with you. We've lived through two governors - Ryan and Blagojevich - who should have been either impeached or recalled for their shennanagins in office. The current constitution has no procedure for recall and is pretty vague on criteria for impeachment. I voted "yes" and figure the cost will be worth the investment to be able to deal with these problems in the future.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

Maybe I should elaborate on my reasons for opposing the constitutional convention.

But first, about your specific concern, there's already a mechanism in place to deal with issues like this: The constitution could be amended to improve impeachment or allow recall. However, the will of the people for that was apparently not strong enough to make that option happen.

While I think a con con is a horribly expensive and over-the-top reaction to specific problems, I mainly oppose the con con for the same reason I did in 1988: The far right nutjobs will use it to change the constitution in all sorts of horrible and unthinkable ways. It won't be just to use the constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage (and probably forbid any legal recognition of same-sex relationships anywhere in the state), but they'd repeal the home-rule power that allowed localities throughout the state to enact GLBT-inclusive human rights legislation that went beyond constitutional protections. And that's in addition to the rest of their extreme fundamentalist christianist agenda items.

The far right knows that few people will know about or pay attention to delegates running for the con con and so they stand and excellent chance of running the whole thing and dictating their will onto everyone else.

There are better ways to fix particular problems than opening the door to the extremists who'd never be able to get their way by any other means.

Now, if the call for a con con fails, I think there should be an amendment to allow for recall and another to clarify impeachment. I'd back both. I just don't think a con con is the best—or safest—way to make those happen.