We The People

The History of Article V: Reclaiming Our Heritage

by Michael Farris –

George Mason was a visionary of liberty. He was the chief force behind the Virginia Declaration of Rights in 1776—the document which provided the framework for the Bill of Rights fifteen years later.

As a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, Mason was concerned that despite the best intentions of leaders like James Madison and George Washington, the federal government might grow beyond acceptable limits and invade the people’s liberty.

As the convention was winding towards its end, Mason realized there was a crucial oversight in the proposed method for future constitutional amendments. The proposal on the floor provided that all amendments would be proposed by Congress and then would be ratified by the states.  Mason, however, contended that under this process, Congress would never propose amendments to rein in the power of the federal government. Consequently, there was no ultimate check to keep the government from growing too large.

Like the other key leaders of his generation, Mason understood that the most important protection for liberty was a structure of government that funneled power through a strict system of checks and balances. According to Mason, the states were the ultimate check on the federal government. So Mason suggested, and the Framers unanimously agreed, that the states needed to have a way to propose amendments too.

This is why Article V of the Constitution provides two methods to propose amendments to the Constitution. Congress can propose amendments when two-thirds of both houses of Congress approve an amendment. Alternatively, state legislatures can apply for a convention to propose amendments on a particular topic. Once two-thirds of the states apply, Congress has a mandatory duty to call such a convention by naming the time and place for the convention to begin.

Virginia lost no time applying for such a convention. In November of 1788, before the new government under the Constitution was operational, the legislature of Virginia passed an application under Article V applying for a “Convention of the States” for the purpose of proposing a bill of rights and other similar amendments.

Virginia’s legislature was composed of many of the same people who wrote and ratified the Constitution. They knew what Article V said, they knew what it meant, and they intended to use it. The states were trusted to limit the power of the federal government. And they knew that Article V existed, not for the purpose of rewriting the whole Constitution, but to propose particular amendments. Ultimately, of course, Congress passed a bill of rights and the states were satisfied.

There have been over 400 applications for a Convention of States (COS) passed by the state legislatures in the 226 years since that first application. But, there has never been a COS because two-thirds of the states have never agreed on a particular subject.

This leads us to the first iron-clad rule of constitutional law governing a COS: The states must agree on the agenda for the COS and until the states set the agenda, no convention is convened.

A COS was designed to stop federal abuses of power, which begs the most obvious question in American politics today: Is the federal government abusing its power?

Thomas Jefferson would say that the answer to this question is self-evident.  No sensible person can deny that every branch of the federal government is abusing its power.

Congress legislates on topics using power it does not have. It spends money—trillions of dollars—that it does not have. The President regularly legislates—a power he does not have—through executive orders and regulations. The Supreme Court rewrites the Constitution—a power it clearly does not have—through interpretations of the so-called “living Constitution.”

The Founders would be furious with the federal government’s abuse power even if it was using its power wisely install effective policies. But the chaos, debt, and devastation created by the federal government proves the truth of one of the Founders’ central beliefs: Tyranny never results in wise government.

To be clear, the federal government is not only abusive, it is also incompetent.

The Founders would not be surprised by these abuses, but they would be shocked that we have tolerated them for so long. They would demand an accounting for the gift of liberty that they fought and died to give us. And when we tried to blame Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court, they would shake their heads. “We gave you Article V,” they would say. “We gave you the power the power to stop tyranny. Why haven’t you used it?”

Internal threats are always the greatest dangers to liberty. We must use the Constitution’s own system of checks and balances to save this nation and our legacy of liberty. And we need to do it now.

(Please visit www.conventionofstates.com for more information).

Michael Farris is the head of the Convention of States Project, the Chancellor of Patrick Henry College, and the Chairman of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association.  During his career as a constitutional appellate litigator, he has served as lead counsel in the U.S. Supreme Court, eight federal circuit courts, and thirteen state appellate courts.  Mike and his wife Vickie have ten children and seventeen grandchildren.

 


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Shipp
4 years ago

How can any one give this consideration and think that when our representatives and the states are not following our constitution now, they will some how find it in their hearts to follow the rules of a convention. Who will be the participants of such a convention? You? Liberals? Who? constitutionalist only? not likely, any one with the forethought and learning of George Washington or James Madison. Defend NOT Amend !! http://www.defendnotamend.com

Dave
6 years ago

The problem is not primarily with the Constitution.
It has more to do with the Church than the government. We Christians have partnered with government in education for so many years that the government is now telling the Church what Her message may be.

Kenisha
7 years ago

Normally I’m against killing but this article slhegaterud my ignorance.

Gary
7 years ago

Isn’t this one of the primary reasons the Civil War was fought? The north wanted more federal power while the south wanted a stronger state government and less intrusive federal government? Perhaps the ideals that caused the Civil War were 160 years too early.

Randell Phalp, Amac Delegate-KS-03
7 years ago
Reply to  Gary

This is the “States Rights” argument you are summarizing, Gary. To a degree, the Civil War did effectively enlarge Federal powers over the States. This was the view of the Southern States. However, the North had a trump card, in essence, in our Declaration of Independence, which stated that “All Men Are Created Equal” and entitled to “certain unalienable Rights, that among these include Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness.”

The founding fathers embraced this belief throughout, including many who held slaves, including the very author of Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson. However, it was years before TJ’s vision would be adopted. Slavery was a hot potato issue even as our nation broke away from Great Britain, and it was known that the issue would someday come to a head. Someday turned out to be January 29, 1861…the day that the Territory of Kansas was admitted as a State to the Union. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1954 gave Kansas the right to choose whether it would be admitted as a Free State or Slave State, The choice proved pivotal as it finally shifted the Balance of Power in Congress in favor of the Free States.

Kansas’ admission as a Free State, along with the November 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln as President and a sweeping 60% Republican majority in Congress led first seven, then later an additional six Southern States to vote for succession and to form the Confederate States of America (CSA). The Civil War officially commenced with the bombardment of Union-held Fort Sumter in the Charleston harbor by CSA soldiers on April 12, 1861.

So, as you say, the argument for States rights have existed since before the Civil War, and in fact, all the way back to the precursor of our Constitution, the Articles of Confederation.

However, there is a difference between argument for a State’s power to succeed and a State’s efforts to preserve its sovereignty within the bounds of the Constitution.

If you read the Bill of Rights, you will find there the 10th Amendment, which reads:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

The Constitution was written to provide the Federal government very limited powers, and only those that are expressed (enumerated) within the Constitution itself. However, because of overly broad interpretation of certain clauses of the Constitution, such as the Commerce Clause (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3), Congress, with the implicit assistance of the Executive and Judicial Branches, has afforded to itself the opportunity to meddle in things beyond the enumerated powers.

So as a result of these encroachments on the rights of the States and the People through the broad interpretation of the Commerce Clause (among others), the Federal Government has severely limited the power of the State governments, essentially turning them into political subdivisions of the Federal government instead of sovereign entities.

It is important to keep in mind, the Federal Government was created by the States, not the States created by the Federal Government. Frankenstein’s monster has certainly turned on the good doctor!

The only solution to restore the Constitution to its original intent is through a Convention of States to propose amendments to limit the size, scope, power and jurisdiction of the Federal Government. In this way, multiple amendments can be considered, including an amendment to more tightly define the term “Commerce” under the Commerce Clause; to eliminate the income tax by repealing the 16th amendment and replacing it with a broad-based consumption tax (such as the FairTax: http://www.fairtax.org); and by repealing the 17th amendment and return the election of Senators to the State Legislatures as the founding fathers and originally constructed it.

For more information on the Convention of States, visit: http://mov.us/pJ0TMdp

To sign a petition to your State Representatives, requesting they support a COS Application, visit: https://conventionofstates.com/cos-petition/

SFC Randell C. Phalp, USA, Retired

Randell Phalp, Amac Delegate-KS-03
7 years ago

One last comment on the limitation of rights during the Civil War. There is an ancient adage that applies to this, and it is: Inter arma enim silent leges. “In times of War, the Law falls Silent.”

Many things occurred, even in the Northern states, that were violations of the Constitution. This is why we must fight to preserve our Constitution via Constitutional means, which is through a COS. I have heard others argue to that the people and the States should take up arms against the Federal government. This, of course, is madness, and the surest way to have our Constitution and the rights, it enshrined, taken from us.

Tyrants give little consideration; it is whatever he says it is at the time, and in that environment, to borrow from John Stormer, none dare call it treason under the oppression of a dictator.

Ivan Berry
7 years ago

Yes, it’s the begining of another week, but since receiving an answer from the V.P. of Government Relations for AMAC, Mr. Mangione, yesterday (see on these comments earlier), it seemed to be important that even many of us who have become jaded and less than satisfied with polls might need to reassess and start participating in AMAC’s polls even when choices seem incomplete or but partially in answer to a problem. Since in his words, AMAC is member- driven, and polls help AMAC set policy.

Having viewed the poll results as he indicated, it seems most important to address the void in information available to all, including those less informed who may respond in a more or less knee jerk manner to feel good, sounds good efforts. Most of the issues we tend to be concerned about are not simple and have no simple solutions, so it would be nice to hear from more of you. Some who have contributed in the past and some current contributers include, but are not limited to, follow: Bob L, Rick Banard, Rik, D.A., R.A.Eischlager, Randy Wilson, Bozikis, PaulE, Capt Mike, Elie, KarenFaye, MSGT ED, WILLIAM WORTMAN, JIM PAULSON, MARCUS ORESTES SEVERUS, as well as many others that memory does not provide at this time.
To avoid AMAC’s polls under these circumstances is too much like not voting in elections because of the lack of a perfect candidate. Let us start participating in the only way that our influence may be felt. Our comments to articles may change some minds on certain issues, but after a poll is rendered, it may be to late to affect AMAC’s position. So let us get busy and POLL and INFORM where we may. Thank you before hand for any attention you may give this issue.

PaulE
7 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Berry

Hi Ivan,

I read Mr. Mangione’s response back to you and I immediately thought of where the disconnect could possibly be. If we assume that AMAC leadership uses the results of polls to set policy direction, then here is one way to help eliminate what appears to be the less informed or completely uninformed from skewing the results of a poll one way or another. After all, no matter how well-intentioned a poll may try to be, if you have a potentially significant number of respondents NOT fully understanding most of the positives and negatives associated with any given issue beforehand, how can you expect to get a poll result suitable for setting policy direction? Just a thought.

So BEFORE ever running any polling on a topic, AMAC should write a couple of articles, a few weeks beforehand, on both pro and con, of the particular subject. In this way, the membership, who may not fully understand most of the ramifications of a proposed subject, would have been presented with more information related to both sides of the argument ahead of time. In short, help educate the AMAC membership on various subjects BEFORE conducting polls that will be used to set policy direction. What do you think?

As a secondary note, while articles on something like a Constitutional Convention of States should make heavy reference to the original intent that our Founders planned for such actions, they must also reflect the realities of the current dynamics of the country as it exists today. For example, the original intent of a Convention of States was to have a super majority of states have the ability to rein in a federal government that was beginning to spin out of control or adopt additional amendments related to a particular issue. One of the assumptions of the time were that the vast majority of the population of most states shared a common view of what constituted “American values” and what the role of the federal government should or should not be.

Fast forward to today and most of would likely agree that neither is the case. You have a significant and growing percentage of the population who view “American values” as “What can you give me today for free and why can’t it be more?” and have no problem with allowing the federal government to expand and control ever-larger portions of the economy. As long as it means “more free stuff”, paid for by the taxpayers, will be flowing their way, they’re very happy with the direction we’re following. This is something that our Founders never envisioned, when they laid out certain tools. We are, whether we want to admit it or not, becoming almost two diametrically opposed groups of citizenry occupying the same physical country. Our Founders envisioned a Constitutional Republic based on personal freedoms and responsibilities, with a federal government severely limited in scope as to what it could do to its citizens without their expressed consent. They never envisioned a significant percentage of the citizens of this country would willingly surrender their personal liberties and rights to the siren call of socialism. So we must examine the potential use of any such “tools” in this light, before we make a fatal mistake from which this nation would never recover.

Ivan Berry
7 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

PaulE, thank you for getting back on this. The Pro/Con article suggestion prior to polling is a simple and great way to prepare. Let’s face it, with more information aquired over time, even Thomas Jefferson changed his position of support for the French Revolution. Some of you guys changed my advocacy for an Impeachment Inquirey against Obama after showing how that effort could be used against Republicans.
I changed my mind years ago about Capital Punishment once the realization of unlimited resources in the hands of police and political prosecutors (who were kept in office by being hard on crime) and their propensity to clear cases rather than render justice. So yes, a heads up before the poll would be a great service to the membership.
The point you made regarding the changes in the country since the founding and the lack of the wholesome values that were the original American norm were also good, but we could even add those that being hyphenated Americans like Mexican-Americans or Jewish-Americans or whatever -Americans who put their country of origin first before the interests of this nation. We really have become Balcanized. That’s another lead into the subject of assimulation. We no longer go through the process of assimulating immigrants. And on and on and on.
You have been a great help. I appreciate it.
Ivan

Marcus Orestes Severus
7 years ago

What makes us believe that a convention of states would be conducted in a political vacuum? Rather, the same political forces that dominate our culture and government today will hold sway at any such convention. The results would reflect that.

Further, the idea that the States must agree on an agenda and/or the purpose of any amendments produced and passed by the convention, prior to calling such a convention, is not supported by the text of the Constitution. Whether such would be required or not would be a political decision by each State – and even if they did agree on these things a priori, there is nothing to stop the convention from considering more – or at least having some attempt to. And if some delegates tried to restrain those few under the terms of the agreement, it would lead to those few appealing to a court or courts, an instant, live-on-TV legal battle, competing injunctions, and, no doubt – none at all – an interim decision by some federal court that the delegates to the convention cannot be prior constrained by the a priori agreement of the States that called the convention.

End result? Failure, frustration, and confusion. The convention cannot and would not be conducted in a political vacuum. The Continental Congresses were not, the Constitutional Convention was not, the first CoS was not, and today’s state legislatures and the federal Congress do not conduct business in a vacuum. To believe or hope otherwise flies in the face of the reality of human nature and politics the Founders accepted as unavoidable when they met. That was a very special and fleeting moment in history.

And yet… there is another way.

That is all.

Ivan Berry
7 years ago

What other way, Marcus, are you alluding to? My other way is that if enough States were to oppose the central government on specific legislation, or court rulings, or regulations from the administrative elete regulators, say 15 to 30 or so states like resisted “Real ID” through a relatively safe Nullification movement that refused to enforce the central government’s position and/or applied penalities to central government functionaries who attempted to impose their agenda within a State’s boundaries, we could possibly rein in the governments overwelming centralising.
Come on. Don’t stop opining yet. That was a good start.

Randall Millam
7 years ago

The federal government does not operate in a vacuum? No legislation hits the floor without first funneling threw committee. Committees most certainly operate in a vacuum. As far as a convention being appealed by the courts or on TV by public opinion once a convention is convened and delegates are elected they and they ONLY have the power to persuade other delegates in debate and vote. It can NOT be taken from the convention and tried in a court of law the court IS the convention. Prior to a convention once it has been established a (rules) committee is convened and a committee to set the Agenda with all the planks or (grievances) set forth. After all is set in motion the FIRST vote of the convention would be to adopt the rules of the rules committee after that has been agreed the ONLY WAY the rules could be changed then would be with a quorum from the delegates of two thirds..So now the business of the convention commences and once voted on by the delegates that by the way (represent) the states citizenry and legislator and finalized it is done and Congress would HAVE TO adopt the new Constitutional Amendments and they would then be in fact LAW. Now Whether the Amendments proposed are to reign in abuse of power and or un-elected bureaucracies e.g.: The EPA, IRS, OSHA, Bureau of Land Management, National Park service Depot of ED the FED even the Supreme Court or what have you ALL that have contributed to a Government out of control. In my opinion such a convention also should redress the 16th and 17th Amendments and Abolish them. The bottom line is that a successful convention IS possible.

Ivan Berry
7 years ago
Reply to  Randall Millam

But it still ain’t likely given the mixed choices for delegates. And even then, the U.S. Congress would chose whether it was Ratified by States’ Legislatures or by a Ratification Convention, at which time the door would just open wider for abuse of our original system of government.

Jim Paulson
7 years ago

Three things need to happen before we could EVER consider a legitimate convention of the states could take place.

FIRST a 100% repeal of the Federal Reserve Act. We must remove the moneychangers’ grip on our politics and our country at large. We can hand the stockholders of the Federal Reserve a piece of paper claiming to pay all of our alleged debt to them. That ought to go over well…….

Second, a repeal of the Fed. Res debt collection agency, the IRS, and all of its trappings to allow move cash flow in the economy NOT into government and create more investments by business. This would necessarily start the downsizing of the government. But would also create enough jobs for anyone who wants one!

Third, and end to ALL of the so-called trade agreements which have shipped many jobs out of the country.

Once We the People have control of our government again WITHOUT the infection of the moneychangers, we can consider a convention of the states to seek to immediately repeal the 16th and 17th Amendments. This will remove the income tax and return U.S. senators to public servants selected by state legislatures versus elected to terms in general elections. This will help restore the balance of power to the original Constitution.

Ivan Berry
7 years ago
Reply to  Jim Paulson

Jim, wish it were so and possible. Good start, but we gotta start somewhere. Getting Congress to even talk about these things seems impossible. What happens when one should start that conversation? I agree that what you mentioned is what took root and control once the progressives got their beginning of power. Every Constitutionalist knows that the 16th and 17th Amendments and the Fed are evil, but with a dominant evil Congress, it would be more than just difficult to get rid of them.
I have tried to voice the risks of a Convention of States, but even AMAC seems to on board with that idea. Two articles advocating have already appeared on this site, and one of my postings that went into Left/Right efforts to that same end has been deleted, along with a comment of Rik’s. Makes me wonder if voicing opinions on this site is discouraged when in opposition to the AMAC agenda. Proof isn’t rendered yet, but suspicions do exist.
Here’s hoping I’m wrong. Still awaiting an explanation after contacting them and asking for one. Guess it’s time to wait and see.

Andrew Mangione
7 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Berry

Mr. Berry–

Not sure what you’re referring to when you speak of an “AMAC agenda”. AMAC is a member-driven organization and as such, our members drive our policy decisions. You may recall that we ran a poll a couple of weeks ago regarding the states’ right to convene a convention. Here are the results of that poll:

Should the States use their Article 5 power to call a limited amendments convention to restrain the power of the federal government?

Yes
(97%, 5,672 Votes)

No
(3%, 161 Votes)

As you can see, the vast majority of a significant amount of respondents are in favor of a states convention. This why we are running a series of articles introducing, and in some cases, educating AMAC members on the COS.

As for the previous post you mentioned, not exactly sure what happened to it. However, we do appreciate the time you take to share your thoughts and welcome your opinions in this forum any time.

Thank you.

Andrew Mangione
VP, Government Relations
AMAC

Ivan Berry
7 years ago

Mr. Mangione, thank you for answering my query. I can appreciate the poll results influencing AMAC choices, but it would be useful to give an opportunity for balanced (even though maybe heavy on one side) coverage to opposition articles and not just comments in opposition here from some of us. I believe it useful also to know that organizations on both the right and left have joined in joint effort for said convention. Useful too, to know what individuals and organizations are major funders. Sometimes media has more influence than should really be justified, and it’s obvious that no organization can or should attempt to please everyone. Saving the country is such an uphill battle that we should when possible come together, but fear of a runaway convention is not imaginary.
I would like to hear both sides of the argument, even when a conservative is articled, an opposing view from liberals would add to the educational effort. At least it would get the argument out front so it could be more beneficially assessed.
Thank you, again for responding, and I don’t mean to be a pest. It’s just that these things are so very important that paranoia may sometimes set in.

SteveD
7 years ago

I just joined AMAC specifically because they ARE supporting the Article V effort by COS. I also serve as a State Director for COS. Thank you Andrew for standing up for the Constitution.

Keith K
7 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Berry

Jim Paulson, Outstanding and informative comment.

William Wortman
7 years ago

When we allowed the Progressives to change the senate from state appointed to popular vote we began our decline. We must reassert our states rights if ever we expect to save our country.

Randell Phalp, Amac Delegate-KS-03
7 years ago

Agree, William. Passage of the 17th Amendment (among others) reduced the power of the States and enlarged the power of the Federal government. Now that power is concentrated in the Federal government, the Feds will never voluntarily act in a manner that will reduce their power. This is precisely the situation James Mason was prescient enough to foresee in 1787, and why we need to hold a Convention of States (COS) today. To learn more about the Convention of States Project, click here: http://mov.us/pJ0TMdp

I am an Amac Volunteer Delegate for the Kansas 3rd Congressional District. I am also the Legislative Liaison to the Kansas House and Senate. I have studied this issue for several years, and am convinced that a COS, as proposed by the Convention of States Project, is our surest opportunity to restore our Constitution, the rule of law, and the spiritual health of our nation.

The founding fathers established the legislative branch as a check and balance upon itself, as well as on the the other two co-equal branches of the Federal government (Executive and Judicial). The House of Representatives was the legislative body designated to represent the interests of the “the People;” while the Senate would serve as the voice of the individual States. Under this original structure, if a bill was proposed that would take power away from the people, the House could defeat it. Likewise, if a bill would shift power away from the individual States toward the Federal government, the States could defeat it in the Senate.

Our system inherently designed to make it difficult for laws to pass, requiring a consensus among the three co-equal branches (Executive, Legislative, Judicial), and internally within the Legislature between the House and Senate, in order to achieve passage.

That balance of power was severely disrupted by the adoption of the 17th Amendment. As a result, all three branches of the Federal government pass laws (actual statutes from Congress; administrative regulations by the Executive; extra-judicial rulings by the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals) without the input or consent of the States and imposes mandates on the States and the people, all-the-while excluding themselves from the same mandates.

Now that power is concentrated within the Federal government, the COS process is the only means by which to correct the error made in 1913. Just as the the 18th Amendment led to the unintended consequences of bootleg liquor; organized crime; violence; law enforcement and political corruption, not to mention a sizable loss of tax revenue on the legal sale of intoxicants; so has the 17th amendment led to its own consequences, both intentional and unintentional.

The Convention of States Project (https://conventionofstates.com/), however, is not limited to the 17th Amendment. Rather, their Application for a Convention of the States is written in a manner that it is narrow in scope, but broad in application. Rather than propose a single amendment, as most applications do, the COS Project application is written toward a specific purpose. That purpose is to limit the size, scope and jurisdiction of the Federal government and to propose term limits. You can read the entire Application, already adopted by three States, and currently under consideration in a dozens more, here: http://tinyurl.com/osd8qbs

Thank you all, for expressing your interest, but especially your concerns. Only through a healthy open dialogue can we achieve understanding and consensus on this matter and accomplish the goal of restoring individual liberties to this and all subsequent generations.

SFC Randell C. Phalp, USA, Retired

PaulE
7 years ago

I’ll keep this brief. Given the make-up of the country at this point, where nearly 50 percent of the voting population not only believes, but wants a more expansive, controlling federal government based on the tenents of Socialism (we call it Progressivism here) and all that it entails (cradle to grave entitlements and whatever taxes and regulations necessary to deliver the funds to finance this welfare state), it would be national suicide to agree to Constitutional Convention. It would open up the Constitution to potential Progressive amendments, that would shred what constraints still exist of what the federal government can do to the People.

Almost everyone posting on this topic seems to think this is going to be some one-sided, well-behaved situation, where only conservative amendments will be up for discussion and passage. That conservatives will be in total control at all times. This is pure fantasy. The Progressive movement has been pushing for a Constitutional Convention for decades. They would be pushing “compromise” and “reconciliation” on everything. They want to whittle down the few remaining safeguards left to the People, so they can finally move the country towards a pure Socialist Democracy. The mainstream media will be running stories non-stop about how the Republicans are “blocking the true spirit of compromise”. In the end, enough Republicans will capitulate to the pressure to “compromise” and what gets enacted won’t be what any of you really want. To think otherwise is to be naive of both the enemy (the Progressives) and where we are as a nation today.

Be careful what you’re pushing for, because you just might get it. The problem is what you end up getting likely won’t be what you want. So think very carefully about what you’re advocating for. Once destroyed, there won’t be an opportunity to restore the Constitution. At least by peaceful means.

D.A.
7 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Hi Paul e . It seems to me lately that too much discussion on our side focuses on tools with which to strike at socialism and not enough on the will necessary to use them. I doubt whether even the best tools would prove effective if wielded by hesitant types, ie rinos who feel a gnawing guilt in their gut for abandoning progressivism, or perhaps more aptly, those whose true belief is that the battle between progressivism and freedom is over with the former the victor. The enemy has no doubts and goes for the throat. The more I learn about gambits that are designed to give the appearance of actual resistance, the more convinced I become that the ‘ spirit of compromise’ will prevail in any theatre of this fight unless we can elect more people who burn with the desire for a restoration.

PaulE
7 years ago
Reply to  D.A.

I agree D.A.

People seem to be looking for some “tool” that will painlessly and automatically makes things “all better”. With “all better” being variously described as going after whatever they individually want adjusted, replaced or removed at that particular moment in time. All while completely taking the human factor, in this case our so-called representatives, many of whom would be happy to “compromise” on everything, completely out of the equation. Just look at the laundry list of things people want addressed in a potential Constitutional Convention from this week’s posts. This Constitutional Convention would quickly devolve into a nearly wholesale re-write of the Constitution, if we were to try and address every issue discussed here. Add in the laundry list of changes from the Progressive side and this would easily become be a disaster for this country.

Actually what I’m seeing is more of people frantically and desperately jumping from one “fix” to another, as they realize the last “tool” they were certain would be the magic fix is found to be wanting in some way. Again, they are completely leaving the RINOs, who would sell the country out in a heartbeat in the name of “compromise”, out of the equation.

People claim they want strong, conservative representatives in Washington, but based on the 2014 Republican primary results to date, which is where you get to replace an ineffectual, Progressive RINO with an actual conservative in the general election, the voters are choosing to return almost all of the same ineffectual, incumbent RINOs to Congress over any of the conservative challengers. See the problem here?

So even if the Republicans win in November and take the Senate and hold the House, the quality of Republican representation will be the same as today. Does anyone think people like McConnell, Boehner, Graham and the other RINOs who talk about conservative values, but are all too willing to “compromise” to “get something done” and whom all won their primaries, will suddenly become decisive, truly conservative individuals, strongly committed to taking the country back from the Progressive edge?

While having both houses of Congress in Republican hands would still be valuable to slowing the Progressive agenda, the reality is the voters have opted in the primaries to return many of the same ineffectual RINOs to office. So we have to lower our sights on what realistically can be accomplished with such representation in place. It becomes more about stalling funding for various Progressive programs and less about potential restoration to a pre-Obama federal government environment.

By the way, the same thing is playing out in many of the state and local races as well. Lots of incumbents winning over the conservative challengers. So one has to wonder whether people really want a return to a less progressive style of government for this country. The primary results certainly don’t seem to reflect a massive surge of conservative values across the board. Yes, there have been pockets of real conservtive wins, but I’m talking about looking at things from a nationwide perspective. In that light, any potential Constitutional Convention would be a horrible mistake.

Ivan Berry
7 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

DA and PaulE, in the deleted posting, I named names and gave positions in the coalition of right/left for a convention of the states, and listed many of the suggestions for the amendments to be proposed. Don’t really know why yet, and may never know, but suspicions have been aroused, especially since two pro convention articles have already been issued, without any anti-convention articles that I am aware of.
Enjoyed reading your comments as usual. Please keep at it, if you will.

D.A.
7 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

I know this sounds defeatist and negative, but on a gut level I think you are right to question whether people want to tack away from progressivism. This years primaries have been, for me, nearly as shocking as 2012. I know the progressives truly believe they are on the vanguard of history and I find myself suppressing the sense that they are right, that voters don’t care where the redistributed money comes from, just keep mine flowing. I try to take solace in the notion that voters are just being pragmatic and sticking with winners but that in turn means they are taking a worms eye view, refusing to consider the implications of more of the same, as if we can stay this course indefinitely. Today I dined with a collection of govt pensioners who waxed poetic about luxury cars, purebred dogs and travel to Tierra del Fuego. Their only concerns were centered around any attempts to alter in any way the system as it stands today. So we have a country where millions never worked and never will and millions more who will resist to the bitter end any course corrections away from the iceberg. The left will never partake in the cos unless they believe they can savage the constitution. Before you and Ivan wised me up I assumed the left was deadset against the cos; that it was purely anti progressive. Any coalition ‘ working together ‘ will leave the constitution beaten, raped and left for dead.

Ivan Berry
7 years ago

Michael Farris, the author of the article above and Mark Meckler are with the Convention of States along with other right wing groups calling for a Convention of States. The left is also calling for amendments to the Constitution through the Convention method, including the Wolf-Pac and Call a Convention whose founder, Lawrence Lessig has suggested such changes as doing away with the Electorial College. I had mentioned some addititional information about these groups and people involved, in an earlier comment below this article, but somehow my post dissappeared along one that Rik had posted. My response to Rik’s post is still there (see below,way below).
In 2011, on Sep. 24th and 25th, Lessig and Meckler cohosted the Harvard Conference on the Constitutional Convention which was planned to bring the Left and Right together for a Convention. Make no mistake that a Convention of States is a Constitutional Convention. It isn’t called to modify Revealations (The Apacalypse), but and only the Constitution.
I would like for AMAC to post requirements for our comments if they are going to monitor and delete. I spent considerable time gathering information and searching for data to present in my argument against a Convention and had I known beforehand, I could stop commenting or stay within the guidelines. I’m even beginning to wonder why we are not hearing as much from KarenFaye lately. She could get kinda fiesty at times, as does Rik.
Now let’s see if this one gets through.

Ivan Berry
7 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Berry

Oh, and by the way, the author is a lawyer, Rik. And Lessig is a professor of Law, having taught at Harvard Law and other universities.

Rik
7 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Berry

Hi Ivan, … All I can say is that when lawyers and lawyer educated politicians start legislating laws, the people get screwed every time! After all, it only took what 12,000+ pages of Obamacare legalese to foul up everyone’s healthcare. It certainly didn’t take long for the unions and liberal-owned companies to ask and get exempted!

The only exemptions the rest of us qualify for is death!

Remember this: … A lawyer’s job is to bury the proof, to color the proof a shade of gray. Gray is the color of reasonable doubt. Lawyers would defend the devil himself, as long as he can cover their fees! ! ! … So you see, lawyers aren’t devils … they’re really gray angels covered in grease.

KarenFaye
7 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Berry

What a coincidence! Our beloved “President”, Obama, also is a law Professor and claims to have taught at Harvard and other places! NOT ……not until I see PROOF! The man harps about how he’s a Constitutional Lawyer and law professor, yet does nothing but sully the Constitutional rights of Americans. Why does no one challenge the man?

Michael R Felice
7 years ago

I wholeheartedly agree. If ever there was a time when a convention of states was needed it is now. The federal govt has run amok and desperately needs to be reigned in. No president should have the power to create law via the executive order, what a horrible abuse of the best system ever created. The founders put the means there for us to use and we sit by silently as traitors and tyrants abuse the constitution, the country and most of all US!!!!!

Maria
7 years ago

Your articles are all to the point and I agree with you all. Since we cannot impeach our legislators, we the people all need to come together starting this November and start our “fall house cleaning” by voting those “pro-lifers” who are up for reelection, out of there, and replace them with others who are not afraid to work at regaining our govt. as it should be and restore the freedoms we once enjoyed. We need to start educating the uninformed and get the word out..we can no longer be complacent if we truly want America restored to what she was…a great country.
Unfortunately, a lot of the “pro-lifers” in govt. seemed to have gotten too comfortable in their positions, forgot who they are working for and have made it a govt. for their own interests, all the while getting enormous salaries and enormous pension benefits for the little they do while in office. It’s funny how we have to work for years to earn our retirement benefits and paid into Social Security at the same time so we’ll have it in our later years, only to be told we are not entitled to it and that it can be taken away from us at any time. They in govt. don’t have to spend years in office but they leave with all the perks for life! I do believe there should be term limits, the shorter the better so they don’t get too comfortable. We need to keep them on their toes and it’s imperative we present our concerns so they listen to us and do the will the of the people for the betterment of all its citizens. It’s not going to be an easy task what with all the corruption going on, but in numbers, we should be able to slowly make things work and make ourselves be heard loud and clear! We should all be “mad as heck and won’t take it anymore” and ask God for His help…we need Him so much especially in these difficult times.

We have our work cut out for us, but we can do it…get the word out!

God Bless America!

MSgt Ed
7 years ago

I agree that the dangerous progressive slant we’re on has got to be turned around. We are on a nasty downhill slide that has to be stopped. An Article V Convention could be a sword that swings both ways though. The agenda must be agreed upon, so “aisle crossing” type entities may be able to introduce a poison pill subject just so they can get the Convention launched. Then we may end up eating an Amendment we never really wanted, or the Convention just gets locked up like Congress is and no Amendment survives the process. My definition of aisle crossing types means those that abandon their convictions for the purpose of passing something or anything whether or not the “thing” has any value so they can say “Look what I did.”. To me, aisle crossing is no badge of courage. Anyway, current levels of polarization would make an Article V process tough. If we had an aisle crossing State or Legislative body or committee, etc. involved, we could end up with a real mess. Possibly worse than we are now since this is the US Constitution we are talking about. I’m glad this safety valve was built in, but can it really work right now? Maybe so. Not a process to rush into without some serious strategic planning ahead of time. If there are enough conservative States to slam dunk an issue, fine. If not we may be playing with fire. Getting your fingers burned playing with matches is one thing. Getting your fingers burned playing with matches and burning your house down in the process is a whole other matter. The US Constitution is the frame work of our house. Proceed with caution and conviction. Soap Box Out.

Ivan Berry
7 years ago
Reply to  MSgt Ed

MSgt Ed, I like your soap box. Good points, all.

Mason L
7 years ago

Mr Farris neglects to mention that George Mason (along with Edmund Randolph of Virginia & Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts) refused to sign the constitution. I am a great great great great great grandaughter of George Mason, and until an NCAA basketball team from a school named for him made the Final 4, many people in this country had never heard of him. We in the family have always been proud of his contributions to the founding of this country, no matter how little recognized he is today.

Yasir
7 years ago
Reply to  Mason L

, that its hard to figure out just where to start, so I’ll just take them in the order you spit them out.1. You call this a biotged law. No its a law to protect the family unit and to protect the intent of marriage which is the foundation of the family.2. You claim this is out of hatred. Hatred for sin, maybe, hatred for people, no. I could just as easily turn that argument on you and claim your hatred for Christians, for Christ, and for the Father in Heaven.3. Maybe no one can be damned for loving, and that is not what God says. You are damned for engaging in homosexual activity, not for loving someone of the same sex, so please ..c’mon.4. Of course marriage predates Christianity, it was the first institution that God created between the first man and the first woman and as he decreed it, it was between one man and one woman. And no matter how much you scream about it, God won’t change one stroke of the law for us rebels.5. This isn’t so much a lie, but opens me up to challenging you. When you talk about the cruelty disturbia of banning gay marriage, I want to let you know that this is about more than marriage. This is about my freedom. Before Prop 8 passed, I was already labeled as intolerant and biotged because I trust in God’s word. You hate God’s word and you hate that I live by it and if we don’t fight for our right to speak against what we believe is sin, then our Constitution has failed to protect my religious freedom. First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. -GhandiYou have ignored our voice against this sin. You have laughed at our beliefs. You have fought us. We have won. And you will fight us again, ignoring the will of the citizens of California. But one day you will all answer to God and I have no idea how you will win that one.

glen dowdy
7 years ago

Knowledge without wisdom is a dangerous chocking vine destroying its own support structure.

Terrylee
7 years ago
Reply to  glen dowdy

Federalist Papers… Anti-Federalist Papers….Article V means exactly what it says… nothing needs to be read in or out of it…

Ivan Berry
7 years ago

Great definition of “pro-lifer,” Rik.

RBrown
7 years ago

Notably absent from this article is a single quotation or reference from the founding fathers to support his claims. The article comes across as nothing more than the author’s opinion.

Particularly needed is a quotation to support the claim that “A COS was designed to stop federal abuses of power”.

I have found numerous quotes from the framers of the Constitution, declaring the amendment process to be for correcting errors in the Constitution, BUT I HAVE NEVER FOUND ONE SAYING WE SHOULD AMEND TO REIN IN AN OUT OF CONTROL GOVERNMENT.

If such a quote does exists, I would think Mr. Farris would include it, as this is the foundation of his entire argument.

Bruce McKay
7 years ago

NONE DARE CALL IT TREASON!!!!!!

dave riancho
7 years ago
Reply to  Bruce McKay

it is not treason to apply the powers the founding fathers gave to uphold the liberty and power we the people were meant to have. it is tyranny when the government does not live by the limited powers they were given and take on powers given only to the states and we the people !

Larzetta
7 years ago

It’s time we the people use our constitutuional rights and ban together as individual states and repeal Obama care!
In Florida substitute teachers can no longer make a resaonable living because OBAMA Care mandates that if they work 30 hrs- (less than 4 full days of work) the school district must provide insurance. The most absurd part is the individual CAN NOT show other insurance or decline the coverage option in order to work a 5 day work week. This is progress???
Aditionally, my legal guardians were told they now qualify for medicade– yea I thought until I read the per person monthy out of pocket amount of –about 2400 dollars. So much for helping american born orphaned (father is deceased) children.

It is time we the people unite and repeal this law!!

Edward Parsons
7 years ago

As a nation we are so far away from what the Founding Fathers intended authority for our Federal Government to exercise. It will be a gigantic uphill battle to get these powers limited. Just as an example of this situation let me tell everyone what our Congressman Andy Harris told us at a Town Hall meeting about 2 weeks ago. He proposed a bill to limit term limits to two terms for a Senator and 6 terms for a Representative in the House. That would a 12 year term for either. He had only been able to find endorsements from three other Representatives. Apparently the power of the People is very diluted today. He asked the room full of his constituents how many of them thought there should be term limits. Looking around I didn’t see one person not put their hand up. Clearly term limits is very popular among the People. This is an example of how our Federal Government is out of control. The politicians no longer listen to the People. This does not bode well for any chance Article V will be used anytime soon in my opinion. I sincerely hope I am wrong!

Robert Qualls
7 years ago
Reply to  Edward Parsons

Sadly, what Rep. Harris learned about term limits is unsurprising. Many pundits on both sides now look back on Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America” as either just a PR stunt or a failure or both, but in reality a focused approach in the 1994 midterms helped Republicans win Congress with big margins. While the opportunity is certainly there again, the focus seems to be lacking. Nine out of ten of the provisions of the Contract passed the House and six were enacted into law; only term limits failed to pass even the House, which shows what politicians think about limiting themselves as opposed to limiting other people, and several of the Members elected then who promised to hold themselves to twelve years regardless then violated this promise; some of them got re-elected anyway and are still there, for which there is no one to blame but the voters themselves.

Larzetta
7 years ago
Reply to  Edward Parsons

Maybe we the people should start imposing term limits ourselves– every 2 terms vote in someone else– in both the senate and the house–maybe then they will get the message. And the next time they vote themselves a raise on our dime- impeach them!

Robert Qualls
7 years ago
Reply to  Larzetta

Well, you can’t impeach legislators (this was established early on when Sen. Wm. Blount of Tennessee was impeached, but it was ruled that the Senate’s only option was to terminate his membership, as either House can do, but no longer actually does, for those deemed to be unfit to serve). Anyway, today’s members would never impeach a fellow member, or even throw him out (viz. Rep. Charlie Wrangel, who “forgot” hundreds of thousands of dollars of benefits he needed to show on his disclosure forms). The reason that they are this way is that they realize that generally speaking THE VOTERS WON”T DO ANYTHING. Remember also that under the Twenty-seventh Amendment they cannot constitutionally give themselves a raise that become effective until after the next election. If you find this to be intolerable (what they have done so well as to deserve a pay raise is beyond me — I’d suggest a cut is more in order) then vote against them. Remember further that they have to be sent a message. If you vote against them, they will “get it” if the numbers become large enough. If you vote for them because the only alternatives seem worse, unqualified & perennial candidates being the only people who generally run against longtime entrenched House members, remember that even these will be better than the same people up there for a lifetime as if they were British Lords, & that these “joke” candidates can & should be replaced in the next election with qualified persons who don’t mistake themselves for British “Life Peers”.

Michael R Felice
7 years ago
Reply to  Robert Qualls

ABSOLUTELY!!!! I become physically ill when I hear some low information citizen say “My one vote doesn’t mean anything or What’s only one vote?” Your vote is the most precious and influential thing that there is in this country! Look what happens when people stay away from the poles in droves, obama gets elected-twice!!! Here we have a traitor, tyrant, racist narcissist and he is in the White House doing his worst to destroy the USA we know and love (as opposed to obama who grew up with a vivid hatred for the country) and he does it all with the approval of all those who do not vote!!! How disgusting.

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