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Why the Constitution Needs a Rewrite

Maybe it’s time to do what Thomas Jefferson advised every generation to do and rewrite the Constitution.

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It is these natural rights that we need to own, to breathe life into, to bring them off the page the ways the Abolitionists, the Suffragettes, and the Civil Rights movements did. Rosa Parks owned her rights, no mater what the Constitution, the courts or the bus company had to say. We need to distinguish these rights from the more opaque “legal rights,” which are really more of a governmental grant of privilege, like a property right. Dammit, it’s time to have a real conversation about what we want—and how to use new law to stop degrading our only planet—no matter how crazy it may sound to some. We can change from a rigged property and commerce Constitution to one based on legal rights, sensible responsibilities and real public governance.

Upon cutting off one of the Hydra’s heads two grew back. One step forward and two steps back is a hopeless situation. The weakness of the Hydra was that it needed at least one head. The U.S. Constitution is the central head of our legal system. By changing that head to one we truly love, we can shift from hopeless to hopeful.

Randy Hayes, Rainforest Action Network founder, has been described in the Wall Street Journal as “an environmental pit bull.” He works from Washington DC at Foundation Earth, a new organization rethinking a human order that works within the planet’s life support systems.

Shannon Biggs, is the Director of the Community Rights program at Global Exchange, assisting communities confronted by corporate harms to enact binding laws that place the rights of communities and nature above the claimed legal “rights” of corporations.