Is it a Trap or Is It Time?
An Article V (five) Convention of States (see the US Constitution) has been bandied about for some time now. It is both feared and favored by scores of conservative icons. The left, having raked in a steady stream of victories over the past century, is happy to sit this one out and just relish the fight.
Why is it that people like Phyllis Schlafly, leader of the conservative pro family organization The Eagle Forum, are so against it? Articles warning of the dangers of an Article V Convention appear in their newsletter. Meanwhile, conservative talk show host, Mark Levin, is all in on an Article V Convention. His best-selling book The Liberty Amendments is all about this issue. It is a constant refrain on his radio show. So why the big divide? In a word – fear. The naysayers fear a runaway convention could rewrite the Constitution in a way which would make Karl Marx blush with pride. The yeasayers fear if we do not take strong corrective action soon, the Marxists among us will rake in an easy victory anyway. God help us if both are right!
I am a big fan of both Mark Levin and the Eagle Forum, but it is not about whose side to take. This is a very divisive way of thinking. It is about identifying a badly needed course correction for this country for those of us who share the Founders’ vision. This would include the Eagle Forum, Mark Levin and the millions of Americans who rely on both of these sources for conservative wisdom and insight. I hope to provide a little of both in this article and more ambitiously, to bring both sides together. We are stronger when we are not at each other’s throat. And more importantly, we share the same goal – the restoration of an America in which the federal government sits comfortably within the confines of its constitutional limitations and the strongest government is the one closest to the people and accountable to them.
There is no philosophical difference here. This is a question of tactics. Let me get right to the heart of the matter. For years I have been reluctant to speak out on the issue of an Article V convention. Quite honestly, the reason was fear. Although I realized we were in a situation where, in order to be effective, our solution had to be as big as our problem; I too feared a runaway convention. However, Article V was provided by the Founders as a means of putting the reins back on an out of control federal government. It seems like a solution made to fit our current, dire situation. But the truth is that it is possible to lose control of such a convention and a runaway convention is a scary thing. Fortunately, the Founders provided a number of safeguards. There are two which are so effective, that I am now pursuing the Article V strategy exclusively and I would like my conservative friends and the several skeptical conservative organizations to consider doing the same. Action must be taken and it must effective. Time is running out.
About the safeguards: first, this is a Convention of States. The States send representatives to the convention for the express purpose of restoring the sovereignty of the State as defined by the Tenth Amendment and returning the federal government to its constitutionally prescribed limitations. On a moment’s notice, any representative who fails to do this can easily be recalled by the State that sent them and their credentials immediately revoked. This is the way US Senators were handled before the 17th Amendment federalized the Senate. Senators are now elected directly by the people and paid by the federal government. The States have been cut out, now having no say, no representation in the federal government. The Founders would be appalled. We often talk about the balance of power between the three branches of the federal government. However, seldom do we consider the balance of power between federal, state and local government. Without this important safeguard, all local government becomes just a franchise of the federal system. We see this happening around us daily. The Founders never intended this and this one assault (the Seventeenth Amendment) on our liberty accounts for much of our current predicament. The Seventeenth Amendment, along with the sixteenth, (federal Income Tax) hopefully will be on the target list of an Article V convention.
Assuming the self interest of the State, this one safeguard should be sufficient to keep the convention from becoming a runaway. It is hard to imagine that the States would not want to have their sovereignty restored. That is, after all, the whole point of the convention. But wait! There’s more!
Second, assuming the state houses of all fifty states are paralyzed by stupidity (not as hard to imagine as it once might have been) the completed Amendments are put up to a vote. And I assure you; they will be vetted in the media and debated in discussion forums and among friends extensively before the vote is taken. But wait a minute. Didn’t a majority put Obama into office – TWICE? I know; it does not engender confidence. However, a simple majority has never put an amendment into the Constitution. In fact, it takes a whopping ¾ of all states to pass an amendment. That means only 13 states are required to put the brakes on any bad idea.
I believe these two safeguards, State recall of representatives and a ratifying vote by ¾ of the states, assures that we are protected from a leftist takeover. The potential benefit is great. The risk is small. But why should we call an Article V convention? Is there no better alternative?
It is comforting to believe all we have to do is to elect conservative people of good moral character to represent us in Congress. But if you have been in this game any length of time, you have already sent such a person to Washington only to find yourself asking a short time later, “What happened to them?” If you have been around as long as I have, you have sent quite a few.
The sad truth is, considering all the power and money Washington has gathered around itself, I cannot say for certain that I would do any better. The task is even more daunting than just sending a good conservative to office. A majority of other state districts has to do the same thing at the same time.
Considering the level of corruption, it seems unreasonable to expect Washington to police itself. There is just no way our congressional representatives are going to pass term limits, rein in the perks and cede power to others. They have to start trading favors on day one just to get a decent parking space and avoid the office under the stairs by the ice machine. The correction must come from outside of Washington’s ruling elite. The correction will have to be imposed on them. I hope you are on board for an Article V convention. If you have any concerns, please email them to me and I will address them in subsequent articles. Till then have blessed day. ~ Terrell @ firstname.lastname@example.org