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The National Constitutional Convention and the Hard Truth

(image: stevenanichols/flickr)

(image: stevenanichols/flickr)

When we began this project, we intended to shine a light on the exit and then we figured everyone would start running out of the burning building. The 99% showed up before we were able to point it out. We hope to correct that now. There is a way for the American people to bypass congress and take control of their government again and not one person needs to be arrested or even fire a single shot. There is only one way and the question is not how, but shall we?

In 1913 our nation came close to having our second national constitutional convention. We were able to avoid it when congress passed the 17th Amendment. This time the list of problems is far too varied and long. By definition, nearly every facet of our government is corrupted. We can no longer patiently depend on our government to fix itself or the problems that loom over our nation and planet. We are basically left with no choice but to take matters in to our own hands.

Throughout history these crossroads have been stained with blood. Our forefathers were revolutionaries. They had seen the horror of war and when they came together to write our constitution, they knew the time would come again when a government was no longer representative of its constituents. They planned for this moment nearly 250 years ago. It is because of their foresight that our crisis of democracy will be corrected in a peaceful and legal manner.

In the US constitution, under article V, there is a very special clause. It allows states to summon a national constitutional convention for the purpose of proposing amendments, just as congress does. These amendments would still need to be ratified by 38 states. Congress fears this convention more than anything. It is the public’s nuclear option. At a convention, you can propose anything. If the people chose to, we could establish a parliament, prime minister, or king and do away with congress altogether. Everything is negotiable.

However, we have no desire to dispose of our representative democracy, only enhance it by tweaking a few items. Former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Brennan supported a national constitutional convention and “wanted to see the current Constitution rewritten with more modern language, to reflect the priorities of modern society. For example, the elimination of the requirement of jury trials for federal common-law suits, which are not even entertained in federal courts any longer, and the elimination of the two-year limit on military expenditures, which was moot considering modern annual budgets.“

Now we have a chance to make significant changes before the 2012 election, we could even put enough pressure on Washington to get action before the election and force our politicians to either support our ideas or lose their seat quickly in November.

We simply need to demand that our states use the powers granted to them. Hard Truth PAC is a political action committee that is primarily formed to create the opportunity for all the amendments to the constitution that are being considered today and making those actionable and permanent changes.

Since a convention only proposes amendments, it still takes 38 states to ratify. The act to ban gay marriage never cleared that 38 state hurdle. The products of convention would be universal and cross party lines. There has only be one national constitutional convention, but there have been over 200 state constitutional conventions since and none of these have ever jumped the tracks. It creates a situation where ONLY moderate consensus ideas will succeed. It only takes 13 states to block any amendment.

So it sounds pretty good but how do we do it? It must be nearly impossible since it has never been done before, right?

Wrong. We could put it on the ballot in half of the country in 2012 to force the legislatures to act. The remaining states will need us to demand that their state legislature carry out the wishes of the people. We need 34 states total.

It is possible considering the smaller state of Wisconsin was able to gather 500,000 signatures in a few weeks. Please review the map provided by Hard Truth PAC. In relation to what has happened in Wisconsin, the signature requirement to get the convention on the ballot in half of the country doesn’t look so tough. We CAN do this.
National Map

Remember that we need 34 states to call a national constitutional convention. We will need to pressure the legislatures of the remaining states by lobbying and protest. We could create a small army of volunteer lobbyists that have only one issue to support; a national constitutional convention. We will occupy the offices of our state legislators and conquer the paid lobbyists with our volunteer lobbyists.

There is only one legitimate way to amend the constitution and bypass congress. It may not be the ideal situation for some, but it is a real solution. A very wise man recently told me that part of the problem we are having today is that we have not used the democracy we have been given. We have not tried this in a long time, but it sure has a great track record.

If you support a national constitutional convention, please sign an online petition here:
“Should the State Legislature, under Article Five of the United States Constitution, embody a delegation to summon a National Constitutional Convention for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States.”

When we started down this road, we believed that the GOP and the Democrats had no interest in cutting off their own corporate funding by overturning Citizens United after having a good taste of it. When the 99% exploded out of nowhere, and TV hosts and other entertainers were writing their own amendments to clean up our system, at no point did we feel that the cavalry had arrived. Many solutions were proposed, but no method to make those changes. Some very popular amendments even exceed the word limit in the state of Washington and wouldn’t fit on a certifiable ballot initiative. Others confused publicly funded elections with publicly funded campaigns. Then the Democrats offer an amendment that is a wholesale hand over of the power of political speech regulation over to congress and states to do with as they please. The idea is “trust us and we will pass something” instead of actually passing something. This proposal without guidelines made us dizzy. Bernie Sanders produced a great amendment with no chance of passage in the house. We don’t have other options.

This is the kind of movement that gave us big things like Social Security, Medicare, the Hoover Dam, and the WPA. The political will is suddenly there. We have been taught what was possible for years, our biggest challenge will be the limits of our imagination. We can control our own destinies on so many levels.

When governments are controlled by global corporations, we find ourselves in a struggle for freedom from these corporations. Once we remove that influence, the playing field will be level and the ideas of the 99% will be heard. We need to regain control of our government, and we can do it without a single shot fired. There will be no “second amendment solutions” required for the 99%. This will be a demonstration of will that the people and the politicians will not soon forget. Please join us. We see the light at the end of the tunnel, and we know exactly where we are going. We need all the help we can get.

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Daniel Marks

Daniel Marks