This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Article V: Convention of States
If there ever was a more devoutly apolitical person before 2018, it was me. I cared nothing for politics and did my damnedest to stay as far away from it as I could. Even after Trump won, my cynicism was as it ever was; Trump was a joke, Hillary was a witch, and the system was obviously rigged and my little single vote was meaningless and insignificant in the sea of others. Then, a positive pregnancy test, then a sonogram, then my wife and me listening to a life-altering 158 beats-per-minute. A lot of things changed in that moment, but ultimately I started to care; immensely.
Fast forward through the diapers, late nights, sleep deprivation, and a lot of time to consider what really holds meaning to a person: the future and preferably a future of liberty and the American Dream. Seeing how things have always played out in Washington, but this time with an extra dose of vitriol and malice, I watched factions riot, watched state governors decide to shut their states down, watched racism creep its way back through school systems under the “equitable” charge of Critical Race Theory, and really wondered “What is it I can do to change this?”. Vote? Yeah, that didn’t work. Call a Congressman? They rarely acknowledge your existence unless you donate money (sounds like bribery, doesn’t it?). Get involved at the local level? County Commissioners said they don’t have the authority to do what needs to be done. What was I to do? Give up? Nope.
What Is Article V?
I learned of Article V after watching some Youtube video on Mark Meckler one night. His explanation got me interested in how such a thing could work, whether there was substantial concern over risk to the Constitution during a Convention of States and whether or not “term limits” and “fiscal restraint” were enough to really drain this “swamp” in Washington, DC. I dug around further, finding Levin, Shapiro and a host of others championing the idea.
But, I then also found conservative groups, like the John Birch Society, standing in opposition to it. Safe to say, I was intrigued. Moreso, I was inspired to learn 15 states have already called for these two specific things (term limits and fiscal restraint to limit the power of the federal government): Georgia, Alaska, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Indiana, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arizona, North Dakota, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Utah, and Mississippi. As of now, North Carolina and South Carolina Ohio are making fairly significant gains through their legislatures to pass as well.
How Does Article V Convention of States Work?
Article V of the United States Constitution reads as follows:
“The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no state, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.”
So in other words, Congress can propose amendments, OR two-thirds (34) of the states can do it. Very appealing idea when you have zero hope that any career politician would either vote themselves out, or take their hands from the reins of power. How might these state delegates propose amendments? Within each state’s passed Joint Resolution, there is a specific scope, in this case it’s term limits and fiscal restraint. Well, how long for term limits? That’s for the delegates to debate and decide what to propose to the states.
Once voted on and then agreed upon, that amendment proposal has to go out to all the states, and 38 would need to ratify that amendment in order to be added to the Constitution. If it sounds like an uphill battle, it is because it’s designed to be. Amending the Constitution isn’t suppose to be easy. The same goes for “fiscal restraint”. It could be something as simple as a balanced budget amendment, or something as extreme as repealing the 16th amendment. That is for the delegates to debate, the states in the Convention to vote on, draft the amendment and then send to the states for ratification. Whatever comes out of this Convention, all it would take is for 13 states to say “no” to any amendment proposal to shut it down. Again, this is a very steep hill to climb, but a hill worth climbing indeed.
Dispelling the ‘Runaway Convention” Argument
What of the concerns regarding a “runaway” Convention that could treat our current Constitution like the Articles of Confederation and simply override the protections that our Constitution has? After all, many left-wing factions have also drafted and even passed Resolutions for their own goals. In 1949, North Carolina, along with four other states, passed Resolutions through their legislatures to call for a World Federation because the UN was too “weak” to handle the grand goals of ushering in world peace. Thankfully, a NWO was not formed by the United States, and no other states joined.
These concerns are not without merit, so was I to champion my own state in calling for a Convention of States to amend the Constitution? Over time, after a lot of research and speaking with folks smarter than myself on the topic, I found my own concerns alleviated. First, each state’s resolution contains specific scope to the call. In this case, it’s term limits and fiscal restraint. Another effort, just for term limits, has only passed four states as of today; not a lot of traction there. The scope of each call must match, and therefore any discussion of the delegates sent to Washington must remain within the topics sent by the states. Any scope creep is deemed “out of order.”
Every state gets only one vote but can send as many delegates as they wish. So, while California and New York might get into a shouting match with the other state delegates, they have no electoral power to determine the outcome. Even in the worst nightmare scenario, in order for the states to replace the Constitution with another document, whatever would be produced from this Convention would have to be ratified by 38 States. I simply do not see 38 states giving their okay to toasting the Constitution.
Finally, and most convincingly, the language in Article V itself provides the protection to the Constitution itself. It says “Amendments to this Constitution” and not another. The Constitution cannot and will never be replaced as long as the United in the United States of America remains true of the states. This is going to require though that state-level politicians still see that the states are still steering the ship (10th amendment is still a thing). If only they would simply put their hands back on the wheel.
Get Involved or Watch America Die
If you’ve read this far, I ask you now to get involved. Find out if your state has passed, or is trying to pass, an Article V resolution to stop these career politicians from ruining this great country of ours. Pick up the phone, dial your Representative. Do it for yourself, your neighbor, your kids, your grandkids, your neighbor’s grandkids, nieces and nephews who will be left with this country in the state we leave it in when we are gone.
If you’re still skeptical, I ask: What other solution do you have? If the current administration packs the Supreme Court, what other recourse is left but for the states to stop this peacefully and constitutionally? We must remain united. We cannot balkanize and still save the Republic. The beauty of it all is the Founding Fathers put it in our Constitution. The solution has been staring us in the face this whole time. All you need to do is get involved. Join any state level and local groups you can. “Join or Die” may be understood in 2021 as a personal message today: “Join or watch America die.”