Sink the Bismark. Folklore and decades of accepted history hold that the German battleship Bismark was sunk by the Royal Navy. However, recent underwater archeological research tells a slightly different story. At first the Bismark seemed invincible. She engaged HMS Hood, the pride of the British fleet, and sank her. The Bismark also damaged the HMS Prince of Wales which withdrew from the battle using a smokescreen for cover. But then the commanders of The Bismark began to make the mistakes that would doom the great warship. The ship set sail for a port in France instead of returning to Norway and broke radio silence along the way. The British fleet found the German ship and engaged her with the full force of the Royal Navy. However, they didn’t sink The Bismark. The Bismark was scuttled by its crew to prevent it from falling into enemy hands. Putting aside the horrific cause for which the Bismark’s crew fought one has to recognize the heroism of their actions in a desperate situation. The RPV can learn a lot from the crew of the Bismark.
Failure is not only an option, it’s inevitable. In a column published yesterday I described the inevitable “Marylandization” of Virginia. Like the Bismark the destruction of the Republican / conservative hold on Virginia was probably inevitable. Also like the Bismark that demise was hastened by a series of ill advised moves by leadership. The question now is whether the RPV has the courage to scuttle the weaponized state legislature it has so long commanded. There is little time left. The Republicans either scuttle the over-powered legislature or it falls into the hands of liberals in the Democratic Party.
Scuttling instructions, process. The US Navy leaves little to chance. For example, during World War II there were clear instructions on how to scuttle the USS Enterprise (CV-6). The instructions for scuttling Virginia’s overpowered legislature are found in Article XII of the Virginia State Constitution, entitled Future Changes. The article has two sections – one for making amendments to the state constitution and the other for calling a constitutional convention. Calling a convention requires a two thirds vote of the members of both houses and the Republicans have no chance of reaching that threshold. However, the processing of amendments requires a simple majority in both houses and Virginia’s Republicans presently (barely) have that level of power. Unfortunately for the RPV the vote on amendments has to be taken twice, in two different GA sessions, with an election happening between the two session. In this case a vote in the 2019 session followed by the elections of 2019 with another vote in the 2020 session would get the amendments on the voters’ ballot for the 2020 elections. At least, that’s how I think it would have to work.
Scuttling instructions, amendments. The fearsome liberty-killing capabilities of the Virginia General Assembly flow from the absurd lack of checks and balances on the GA. The amendments required to scuttle the General Assembly’s Politboro-style powers implement those checks and balances, especially with regard to local government. The following amendments are needed:
- Join the other 49 states by allowing the governor to sit for a second consecutive term. The two most popular governors in America right now are the Republican governors of Maryland and Massachusetts, two obviously liberal states.
- Direct election of judges. Judges need to know that they are accountable to the law and the people not the 140 tyrants in the General Assembly.
- Cities incorporate inside counties. Fracturing localities weakens localities. Joining the other 49 states by using a city / county structure strengthens the localities and weakens the General Assembly.
- Implement home rule through strong city / county charters. Cities and counties should have the right to raise taxes on personal income, they should have responsibility for funding, building and maintaining all surface roads and making all land use decisions with no interference from the GA.
It’s now or never. Republicans will lose control of the General Assembly in the 2019 elections. If these amendments are passed in the 2019 session there is some hope that momentum with Virginia’s voters will compel enough Democrats to support these common sense democracy enhancers in the 2020 session. After that, it’s hard to imagine Virginians failing to endorse the long overdue scuttling of the General Assembly.
— Don Rippert