Times Examiner Facebook Logo

Sunday, July 14, 2024 - 06:15 PM


First Published in 1994


America is now so deeply divided that only one thing can save us from a perilous breakup or from some inescapable, Hotel-California, Orwellian tyranny.  Prayers and exhortations for national unity and election integrity, however fervent and numerous, will prove futile apart from intelligent and prompt action by the states.  As the ultimate authorities and sovereigns that created the federal Union and government in the first place -- including the Congress, Presidency and Supreme Court -- the states need to reform by amendment our tattered and teetering constitutional structure. 
The problem is:  American society has simply outgrown its original constitutional framework.  A fledgling east-coast federation of 13 new and sovereign states with only 213,000 people in 1790 is now a vast, continental-plus, centralized Leviathan of 50 servile "county" states with over 331 million souls.  Our only chance of healing our divisions and preserving our UNION WITH LIBERTY is to adapt the principle of checks and balances at the very heart of our Constitution -- known more technically as the principle of concurrent majority -- to our present-day social realities. 
In 1850, to heal divisions between South and North and to perpetuate the Union with liberty, Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina proposed amending the Constitution to create a dual executive; two presidents, possessing mutual veto power, elected by the Southern and Northern states respectively.  But the great division today, in 2020, is not between South and North, but is instead between urban-megalopoli tax-consuming Blue America and small-town-rural-suburban tax-paying Red America.  
To heal our divisions by moderating partisan passion and by reconciling and harmonizing the policy interests of Blue Left and Red Right, the states should amend the Constitution to create two presidents; one elected by the big cities (pop. 250,000 or more) and one by the rest of us.  Also, for states with big cities, like New York, Illinois and California, I propose two governors; one for the big city or cities in the state, and one for the rest of the state.
The two presidents will possess mutual veto power over one another, as will the two governors in the "big-city" states.  The mutual vetoes will compel differing parties to come together, through compromise, and will prevent division and tyranny by barring any one party, president, or governor from exercising exclusive control over the powers of government.   
These dual-executive structures will empower the people represented by more fully and accurately registering their views and wishes.  The veto gives to its possessor's constituents the power of self-protection; protection from proposed legislation that, if adopted, would, it is supposed, prove injurious to the constituents' interests.  This concurrent system also attracts and generates leaders of higher moral character; men amenable to principled compromise, who, by their integrity and intelligence and patriotism, earn and command the respect of their party opposites. 
The greatest and freest countries in history -- including the Roman Republic, Great Britain pre-1914, and the United States pre-1860 -- became great and free only because they embraced systems of concurrent majority.  They lost freedom and greatness when they abandoned these systems, or when they failed to intelligently adapt their system's underlying principle to new social conditions. 
Tragically, in 1860, Calhoun's proposal for a dual executive was stupidly rejected by a power-hungry and tyrannical North.  Since 1860, generations of Americans -- South and North, East and West -- have paid dearly in blood, treasure and freedom for that folly.  Now, in 2024, Americans can again choose either to right the ship of American constitutionalism or to carry Yankee folly and tyranny to far darker, Orwellian depths. 
For a deeper understanding of truly constitutional government, read Calhoun's   Disquisition on Government and Discourse on the Constitution and Government of the United States
Winston McCuen is a metaphysician and political philosopher and Christian apologist.  A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Furman University, he holds a Ph.D. and an MA. in philosophy from Emory University.  Son of Dr. William G. McCuen and Anne Ballenger King McCuen, he has served recently as Senior Metallurgical Welding Engineer for Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (US Dept. of Energy).