Letters to the Editor

Posted: Sunday, July 28, 2002

It's time for Alaskans to revisit Constitution

This fall, the Alaska Constitution orders that we be asked if we want a constitutional convention. This is the most powerful instrument of public will as we also elect its delegates and ratify what it does. The decision is really simple. Should we NOT mess with the basis of current state government? Or should we change things to handle any dissatisfaction with it based on experience?

Well, let's hear from one of the most eloquent of all American founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson:

"Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the Ark of the Covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. I knew that age well; I belonged to it, and labored with it. It was very like the present; and forty years of experience in government is worth a century of book-reading; and this they would say themselves, were they to rise from the dead." (July 16, 1816, letter to Samuel Kercheval)

Now Alaskans, too, have had over 40 years of experience in state government, and we are poised at choosing whether our Constitution should benefit from it. The experiences of powerful minority interests, achieving their selfish agendas through taking advantage of apparent constitutional ambiguities and weaknesses, are very real. We can either utilize what has been learned from such gobblely-gook sliming our Constitution or continue to condone such deterioration. Moreover, the Alaska Constitu-tion cannot so specifically direct that this constitutional convention question be asked every 10 years for nothing! Do we have the courage and faith in ourselves to exert our supreme sovereignty?

This November, each Alaskan will have to answer that.

Stuart Thompson

Auke Bay

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