Now is the time to leave well enough alone.
A state constitution should be a living document, not a static piece of paper.
A working constitution has to be a creation of carefully crafted words and ideas. It cannot be tailored too specifically, nor too generally, otherwise it has the potential to become a plaything for special interests and political parties.
From time to time, the need to amend the state constitution arises. But, a complete overhaul of our state constitution is altogether another thing.
Our state constitution has been amended 10 times — out of 17 attempts — in the past 38 years.
That sounds like a living document.
Currently, there is a legal requirement to allow voters to decide if we need a constitutional convention in 2010.
The idea behind the law is for voters to decide whether we need to re-write our state constitution. Voters will see it on the November ballot.
Voters should be against a rewrite at this time.
Last week during a press conference by the Peoria chapter of the League of Women Voters, league president Mary Jane Crowell, in part, said the cost — $78 million — is a serious concern.
But, a far greater concern should be the atmosphere in which this rewrite would take place, as Crowell pointed out.
“Following a study of the risks and benefits of holding a convention, our membership believe that the risk of exposing the entire constitution to revision could lead to the loss of important gains made in the 1970 constitution,” Crowell said.
“Special interests, current political dysfunction in Springfield and party politics may gain control of the delegate election/selection process, as well as deliberations. Results may be unrepresentative of voters’ concerns.”
Crowell is absolutely right. That should be everyone’s major concern.
This effort has a bad smell emanating from it, and it has to do with a lot more than cost. The smell arises directly from Springfield, where political gridlock is the order of the day.
It is no wonder Illinoisans would look toward anything that might potentially create a state government in which the interests of the people, not partisan politics, dominate the work ethic.
While the reasoning may be good, the timing is not.
Illinoisans should not be voting in favor of this issue at a time when we cannot trust anything coming out of Springfield. Just recall the debacle we are all living through now concerning electric deregulation — a less than wonderful plan Springfield shoved down our throats while smiling to our faces a decade ago.
Choices have consequences. Uniformed choices have the potential for dire consequences. A decision made in the heat of the moment has the potential to burn us all. This is the time to leave well enough alone when it comes to the state constitution.