While we are amidst the sturm and drang of perhaps the most unusual and difficult Presidency in our history, most of us are more focused on trying to understand what is going on and ways to end it than on what to do AFTER it ends.
It may surprise some of you to know that in 1942, right as Eisenhower was securing his landing in France, Franklin Roosevelt was beginning to spend real time and attention on what to do AFTER the war ended. This occurred, it should be noted, when Allied victory was still not a sure thing.
If the leaders of the ‘free’ world had waited until after the war, they would have been ill prepared to deal with a suddenly and vastly different world. So they assembled a very smart, experienced group of people to start to think about what to do with and about that post-war world.
Out of that came the United Nations, the structure of Europe and NATO and the US involvement and relationship to all of that including Japan as a major ally. And, even with plenty of time and forethought, now with the aid of hindsight, they made plenty of mistakes. But, without planning ahead it is highly likely there would have been more and worse mistakes.
Ok. What does WWII have to do with today?
Today’s ‘war’ will definitely end someday, somehow and if we are totally unprepared, the consequences will be inevitably ad hoc with simply a wish to get back to “normal”.
But normal is what got us into today’s mess and we owe it to all our people to do a lot better than that!
Ok. What do we do next?
We start by collecting a group of elders from all parts of the country – lawyers, doctors, academics, politicians, housewives and educated working people – a good test of success will be diversity, judgment, established wisdom and respect for others’ views. The collection of people in Philadelphia in the 1790s that brought us the present Constitution is a useful yardstick.
We gather those folks together and ask them several questions:
–How did we get where we are today?
–If we had seen this coming, could we have better prepared to deal with it?
–Knowing what we see and know now, are there things in our constitutional system we might need to change to be able to avoid the effects of a minority of the population holding sway over a clear majority?
–If we do need some other constitutional changes now, what else should we be thinking about while we are at it?
–Lastly, perhaps, we should explicitly ask them what they think of the Electoral College system and the allocation of state populations into fair and proportionate districts.
Note – we have not explicitly asked any political, geographical, economic and social questions as that likely could steer them right into the middle of today’s mess.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained?