To Form a Government
Lloyd N. Cutler
[On May 10, 1940, Winston Churchill was summoned to Buckingham Palace.] His Majesty received me most graciously and bade me sit down. He looked at me searchingly and quizzically for some moments, and then said: "I suppose you don't know why I have sent for you?" Adopting his mood, I replied: "Sir, I simply couldn't imagine why." He laughed and said: "I want to ask you to form a Government." I said I would certainly do so.
WINSTON S. CHURCHILL The Gathering Storm ( 1948)
Our society was one of the first to write a constitution. This reflected the confident conviction of the Enlightenment that explicit written arrangements could be devised to structure a government that would be neither tyrannical nor impotent in its time and to allow for future amendment as experience and change might require.
We are all children of this faith in a rational written arrangement for governing. Our faith should encourage us to consider changes in our Constitution--for which the framers explicitly allowed--that would assist us in adjusting to the changes in the world in which the Constitution must function. Yet we tend to resist suggestions that amendments to our existing constitutional framework are needed to govern our portion of the interdependent world society we have become and to cope with the resulting problems that all contemporary governments must resolve.
A particular shortcoming in need of a remedy is the structural inability of our government to propose, legislate, and administer a balanced program for governing. In parliamentary terms one might say that under the U.S. Constitution it is not now feasible to "form a____________________