Revitalizing America: A Declaration Against Our Government
Donald L. Cleveland
In his book Revitalizing America, Donald L. Cleveland sets out to tackle an ambitious project. He not only points out many things that are wrong with the United States political system, but he also proposes how to fix it. As you can imagine a book that covers such topics as taxation, the loss of civil and human rights, the court system, inconsistency in laws from state to state, special interests influence in politics, and presidential powers in the war on terror would be a large and difficult volume to hold together within the framework of a single book.
Cleveland manages to form a coherent work by building around the premise that there is a mythology of equity and fairness in the American political system that doesnâ€™t constitutionally exist. As the author correctly points out, none of what is discussed in the Declaration of Independence, Gettysburg Address, Preamble to the Constitution, Pledge of Allegiance, and The Bill of Rights is guaranteed by our constitution.
The purpose of Clevelandâ€™s book is to integrate these â€œfive statements of democracyâ€ into the Constitution. Most of the chapters in his 557 page work deal with problems in our system of government. Some of Clevelandâ€™s ideas, you will agree with, and some you wonâ€™t. The author relies on creating a system of constitutional crimes to punish people who jeopardize the welfare and safety of the public. Cleveland would remove immunity from public officials and government contractors who secretly conduct experiments or produce products that jeopardize the health and welfare of the American people. He would amend the tax system so that people couldnâ€™t have their foreclosed on and sold for the value of back taxes. In fact he would make it much more difficult to take anyoneâ€™s home away. He would also offer better protections for whistleblowers.
Cleveland would set up a system of Community Corporations to take the power of lending for public development projects out of the hands of banks. He is also concerned with the budget deficit and he proposes changing the Constitution to require that the principal owed by the federal government be reduced each year. If the federal debt increases by more than 10% per year, or the budget isnâ€™t passed on time, lawmakers will not be allowed to run for another term. He also advocates getting the special interest money out of politics, and putting a cap on campaign spending. He would create Â Mr. Clevelandâ€™s solutions vary from the liberal, free college for all up to a B.A. to libertarian, his views on taxes and property taxes. This is book of solutions without an ideological tilt.
Mr. Cleveland not only offers solutions, but also includes a draft of an amended Constitution. It is clear that a great deal of time, work, and effort went into writing this book, but I would only recommend it for those who donâ€™t believe that the Constitution is infallible and should never be changed. If you are one of those who believe that our Constitution should only be changed in the most urgent of circumstances, then this book isnâ€™t for you. Cleveland doesnâ€™t just cut around the edges of the Constitution, he reshapes the whole thing. Revitalizing America represents a fine intellectual exercise that if you allow it to, may open your mind to new possibilities, or at least inspire you to think about the problems in our system today.
You can purchase Revitalizing America right here