If You Can Keep It: A Constitutional Roadmap
to Environmental Security by Michael Diamond
Reviewed in Spirit of Change Magazine
Our founders knew that America's downfall would most likely originate from within and considered domestic dangers "more alarming than the arms and arts of foreign nations." Therefore, the framers of our Constitution included a provision to counteract what they called "domestic violence" Article IV, Section 4:
"The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence."
By domestic violence, the framers meant harm that we would do to ourselves and one another of such a nature as to be beyond the police powers of the states to contend with and be of such a magnitude as to threaten survival. The cornerstone of our Constitution is the domestic violence clause: the all-important provision that justifies the very existence of the federal government by granting it the power to protect its citizens in times of national emergencies.
If You Can Keep It: A Constitutional Roadmap to Environmental Security by Michael Diamond is a primer for invoking this domestic violence clause. An environmental attorney, Diamond thoroughly documents how an unprecedented exposure to multiple chemical toxins, a denatured food supply, and other "webs of morbidity" are altering our health, intelligence, and behavior especially that of our children. He shows how multiple chemical exposure is the underlying cause of many of our nation's problems and that this is indeed a domestic violence emergency anticipated in the Constitution.
The harm is occurring at the molecular level. From the womb to the school room and beyond, we are subject to a barrage of toxic chemicals and heavy metals wildly beyond our genetic experience. This assault is overwhelming our personal biochemical constitutions, our physique and psychic. The sense and sensibilities of our children are so chronically stressed that, as the late historian Barbara Tuchman observed, "the knowledge of a difference between right and wrong is absent from our society."
The main point of Diamond's well-researched book (397 footnotes) is that we have a constitutionally sanctioned strategy to deal with this self-induced environmental fiasco. He shows how we can, "using the Constitution as intended, change our economy from one based on waste and war to one based on peace, public health, and the survival of future generations."
This remarkable book is the result of twenty years of research and reflection. Diamond's compelling yet centered writing, along with his ability to articulate complex ideas, makes this a very readable book one that offers a real solution from no less than the people who gave us our freedom. As Diamond discovered, "the framers left us a roadmap in a time capsule."
It will not be easy dusting off and invoking the domestic violence clause. Neither was it easy to accomplish the American Revolution. However, while that struggle gave us our freedom, this battle is to keep not only our freedom but also our very humanity... for ourselves and for our descendants. The Article IV approach has the potential to work, but only if we are still willing.
Published in the July/August 1998 issue of Spirit of Change,
New England's largest holistic magazine.
Domestic Violence Clause