This is Part 2 of a 2-part series of guest editorials on the option of convening the states to reform how Washington works.
There is an ongoing debate about whether we should have an Article V Constitutional Convention (CON CON) or not. Supporters like to call it a Convention of the States (COS) because it sounds less “federal” and the detractors call it a Constitutional Convention because they believe it more accurately describes what it actually is.
COS supporters believe that the only way to get any new Constitutional Amendments such as a balance budget amendment is to invoke an Article V Convention. They believe (rightly so) that Congress will never put budget restrictions on themselves. Nor will they ever have 2/3 majority in both houses to vote for a new amendment. So supporters of cos believe the people of the several states must take the initiative to do so.
Those opposing a CON CON / COS believe that there is a real potential of a “runaway” convention. The reason for their skepticism of a CON CON is having historical knowledge of the first Convention of the States. It was in fact a runaway convention. All thirteen states were sent to the convention for one purpose; to amend the Articles of Confederation for the sole purpose to pay off the war debt to France. Although all the states had explicit language from their state legislatures describing their participation at the convention, things changed rather quickly and very dramatically.
Here is my opinion of the current CON CON / COS debate. I’m against it for several reasons.
1. It is a colossal waste of time and finances. People are getting rich lobbying state legislators around the country. The old saying follow the money would be a good rule to follow here. The CON CON is not funded by a ground swell of conservative Tea Partiers. Big money from politically well connected PACs and rich individuals most likely are funding this effort.
2. Never in a million years do I believe or have any hope what so ever that 3/4th super majority vote of the states could ever agree on anything worth while. But I do have a nagging fear that 3/4th of the states could agree on dismantling the 2nd Amendment among others.
3. I’m positive that there isn’t the moral convections and brain trust found in our politicians today as we had in Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, Henry and the other founding fathers. I don’t know of even one politician in the America today that would honestly say and follow through with the idea of “give me liberty or give me death” as Patrick Henry said.
4. Although a new amendment may never be offered by congress I believe it is beyond impossible for the States to agree to pass one. Our country is way too divided. We have not been operating as constitutionally designed for many years. We are supposed to be 50 independent, sovereign states with unlimited governing power. The national government was given limited and defined authority by the consent of the governed. Obviously the feds operate way out of bounds of the Constitution that our founders set up. And our States have relinquished most of the “peoples” power and authority to the national government, usually in exchange for federal dollars. Exchanging liberty for money is a horrible deal that we the people now suffer.
I have come to the conclusion that hope for restoring our liberty will not come from a CON CON or another amendment. It will come from individual states protecting the rights of their citizens. That will only happen when leaders protect the sovereignty of their citizens of their state they represent regardless of what the national government does or does’t do. I don’t care to depend on California, Maryland, or Massachusetts to help control Oklahoma’s future by a wishful “national” amendment. Our focus should be at our state leaders. And boy do we need to refocus!