The Article V Constitutional Convention: A Blessing or a Curse?
This summer the Supreme Court destroyed Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy. Should we subject each generation to the same old battles because these changes were not made permanently? Must we ask for another martyr to walk in Dr. King’s footsteps? We need to come to grips with the utter futility of our current methods to put this government on the right course. We became serfs of a corporate oligarchy.
The Problem: Our Government is Broken
This point is obvious, we all understand that our government is unable to pay its own bills or pass meaningful legislation that can address the many problems that vex our nation. Our people are getting spied on, probed, walked on, and sprayed like bugs. We are ruled by THE government, not represented by OUR government.
Alexander Hamilton wrote,
As riches increase and accumulate in few hands, as LUXURY prevails in society, VIRTUE will be in a greater degree considered as only a graceful appendage of wealth, and the tendency of things will be to depart from the republican standard. It is a common misfortune that awaits our state constitution, as well as all others.
The Founders knew our Constitutions was doomed. Now our coin operated government is giving us more inaction in a prolonged economic and environmental crisis that seems to have no end. We have wars to defend our freedom; where violating our civil rights is a central part of it.
The Solution: We the People are the answer
Do not look to the president, congress, or the supreme court to guide us out of the darkness. This is beyond all of them. There is something special going on in the world today that is beyond political. It is evolutionary and spiritual. I believe we are in a period of human history that will be known as the Peaceful Revolution. Our post modern dark age is subsiding.
We will need to sort out who we really are as human beings in our relationship to the rapidly expanding knowledge of our universe, technology, and this great new found social connectivity with have with each other. Suddenly this knowledge thrusts unexpected conflict with our ethical and moral principles.
These old and dusty establishment groups of years past cannot keep up with the rate of new groups springing up all over the US. The big scary groups that people fear hijacking a convention are paper tigers in the face of our waking rage and truthful dialog.
As George Washington told us in his farewell address,
The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, ’till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the WHOLE people…
Back up and take note: “right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions” …. It is OUR Constitution, that is why we get to alter or abolish it as we desire. It belongs to us, we own it. We need to take it back.
When we talk about how to reverse the Citizens United ruling and regain our representation, the answers are not so obvious. Limiting political speech is very complex. Should we ban all political contributions from citizens and voters? Some say we should, but others say we should only ban corporations from contributing, but what about the unions?
There’s more, what about our recently stripped voting rights and upcoming parade of voter suppression laws? What about voting machines? We know how vulnerable they are yet the people who spend record amounts to gain those votes sit on their hands and don’t bother to fix that problem. I find that very strange.
The fact is there is no single person who is so brilliant that they know all the answers to all of our problems and it certainly cannot be expressed in one amendment. There is more than one possible answer and only we the people have the ability to determine what is right for us. We need to build consensus around these changes. This will not be easy, yet we cannot avoid the heavy lifting and we cannot shy away from uncertainty. It is our only option when our present course is so unsustainable and destructive.
The Method: An Article V Convention to Propose Amendments
For those that have been educated about this method to circumvent congress in a time such as this, most would consider this option unattainable. Sure, we have the convention clause in our constitution but since we have never used it before, it will never happen, right?
Wrong, we need to be tenacious.
In one of Thomas Jefferson’s letters in 1816 he wrote:
This corporeal globe, and everything upon it, belong to its present corporeal inhabitants, during their generation. They alone have a right to direct what is the concern of themselves alone, and to declare the law of that direction; and this declaration can only be made by their majority. That majority, then, has a right to depute representatives to a convention, and to make the constitution what they think will be the best for themselves.
This is Thomas Jefferson’s dream.
In regards to the title of this article, Is the Article V Convention a Blessing or a Curse? At the moment, it is broken.
This year I asked both houses of Congress to give us an official tabulation of applications from state legislatures for an Article V Convention and provided them with a list of 42 states and their applications which appear to be legal and standing today. The Clerk of the US House confirmed in a letter to me in June this year that they still lack rules that would allow them to tabulate the applications from state legislatures. Through the years, there have been hundreds of state applications for an article V convention. Those of us in the group ArticleV.org are determined to make Congress count any of these hundreds of state applications for convention for the first time in US history.
I instructed the Clerk of House in a letter that arrived last week that I will forward the request to the House Judiciary Committee as they suggested:
Since the letter you sent to me also reveals that Congress never counted any of the applications that date back to 1789 and as recent as 2013, it is possible that the answer may reveal an ongoing obstruction of a peremptory constitutional process. Because of this I would ask you to officially notify the President and Vice President of the United States, as chief enforcement officers of the Constitution. I believe their awareness of this situation is required.
Really, we are not messing around. Mr. President, we do NOT trust the government and we do have a problem here.
** UPDATE **
This request is now permanently on the Congressional Record and will go before the House and Senate Judiciary Committees soon, we hope.
August 1st, 2013
POM-120. A communication from citizens of the State of Hawaii petitioning for verification and
tabulation of State applications for an Article V Convention; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
The Article V Convention process is how our forefathers planned to ensure that the result of their work was better than what they started with, and that we the people would continue to have a voice in shaping our government. Democracy demands participation. One of the greatest things about our Constitution is that it isn’t finished yet.
The Conclusion: An Era of Healing Must Begin
Just because we assemble in a convention does not mean we are guaranteed success. We need to put aside our differences and come together as a nation. There will be no progress if the convention is a single issue or binary type of convention whose outcome is determined by how many of one side populate the assembly. It won’t be productive because the ideas will meet opposition getting ratified by 38 states. The losing side only needs 13 states to kill any idea they don’t like. To pass anything will require the consent of those we typically battle with or it is going nowhere.
The People need to understand that even those who are in the same groups are still different from each other. When we peel back layers of our differences, what remains is America. Those candidates for delegate who cannot put the nation’s interests of the before the needs of their group’s will not find their way in the door. An open convention will produce a variety of participants. Out of what may seem like chaos will come consensus on many basic ideas.
We are brothers, friends, and we are patriots.
When was the last time you heard any politician refer to America as a melting pot? We need to begin to heal from decades of division and the pain of tragedies we have all experienced. We need to work together to make this world merely livable for our grandchildren and their kids.
Iceland showed the world that we can have a transparent convention and allow the people to crowdsource ideas online with the delegates in real time. Now Italy and other European countries getting ready to do the same. That is what our website, ArticleV.org is gearing up for as well.
The real dilemma of the Article V convention is that people don’t think we need a convention until things get really, really, really bad. But the worse things get, the deeper people shove their heads in the sand. As a psychological defense, the people will deny the flood is coming until they actually see the water, but by then it is too late.
America lost dignity in recent years and we are not the same nation we once were, but we are not helpless. Our right to alter or to abolish is always our right, it isn’t something that comes and goes every 250 years. It is more than rhetoric, it is an unalienable right. I intend to use that right. Logic dictates, if we cannot alter, then we must abolish and I don’t really want to do that.
That is why we demand OUR convention NOW. I hope D.C. hears this loud and clear, I think we have just about enough of all of this. I know what you are thinking, at some point we will need to charge the capitols with pitchforks. Instead you see protesters around the world singing and banging pots with spoons. An evolved democracy will arrive without violence, the people are becoming aware of their own authority and that is beautiful.
Article V Constitutional Convention: A Blessing, a Curse, or Both?
Dan Marks & David Cobb
Democracy Convention in Madison, WI
Aug 9th, 2013
Part 1 – – David Cobb – Article V Constitutional Convention: A Blessing or a Curse?
Part 3 Q&A