Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Pro & Con: Con-Con Con

cross-posted from

The pro and con sides of an unconventional Constitutional Convention controversy lined up, and in a balmy room at the UIC campus, they acted out a purely distilled version of a very old American debate: that between the progressive view of democracy, and a conservative view of democracy.

Organized by the UIC United chapter of the State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA), a panel debated the pros and cons of the once-a-generation Constitutional Convention vote on Tuesday night. Representing pro were populist Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn and ethics crusader state Representative John Fritchey (D-Chicago); on the con side were former state Senator, comptroller, and gubernatorial candidate Dawn Clark Netsch and League of Women Voters official Kathryn Nesburg. Over two hours of debate and question-and-answer led to a neat and simple line between the two sides:

Pro: If we have a constitutional convention, we could make things better.

Con: If we have a constitutional convention, we could make things worse.

Progressive and conservative in a more elevated sense — in terms of the basic view of human nature. Measured change from up top? Or dramatic change from below? Tradition or debate? Do we trust "the people"? Or do we fear "the mob?"

"I'm not scared of a constitutional convention. I'm not scared of my friends and neighbors," Rep. Fritchey said. Should he be?

Read the rest and comment here.

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