An Open Letter to the Convention of States


In case you haven't heard yet, or you've been buried under a mountain of mainstream media news, there is a quiet revolution going on in the United States. Hidden behind the election of Donald Trump, and the Left-wing freak-out following it, there is a silent effort, moving ever-so-slowly behind the scenes, transcending political parties and partisan rancour. Perhaps the reason why the mainstream news media hasn't yet reported on it is because it hasn't yet hit the national scene, nor has it yet become a national issue, and we know the mainstream news media isn't all that interested in state and local matters. Yet as the revolution progresses through the state legislatures, one state at a time, the revolution grows. Many who heard of it originally laughed and scoffed at the idea. They said it would never happen. Yet, it is happening. We are already a third of the way there.

It's called the Convention of States Project, and this is how it works. The United States Constitution provides two ways for the Constitution to be amended. This can be found in Article 5...
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.
Okay, so let me break this down in the form of a high-school civics lesson review.

The U.S. Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land. All three branches of the federal government have to follow it: the President, the Congress and the Courts. If they don't follow it, the United States ceases to be a republic, and then becomes a dictatorship, which will inevitably end in another bloody revolution. So it's in everybody's interest, including Washington D.C.'s, to follow the U.S. Constitution.

Now the Constitution can be amended (changed) in one of two methods, as we see in Article 5 above. Both ways are a two-step process.

The first method is through the U.S. Congress...
  1. The U.S. Congress passes a proposed amendment by a two-third vote in favour of, then sends it to the states for ratification.
  2. Three-fourth of the states (that's 38) must ratify it. Once it's ratified by three-fourths of the states, it becomes part of the Constitution.
The second method is through a Convention of States...
  1. The states (all by themselves) can call for a convention. When two-thirds (that's 34) make this call officially, by state legislatures, over one particular proposed amendment, the U.S. Congress is obligated to set the date and location. Then the states will send their own delegates to represent their states at the convention. This method effectively bypasses the U.S. Congress entirely, and leaves them out of the amendment-making process.
  2. The convention will then propose one or more amendments to the U.S. Constitution, but again, three-fourths (that's 38) of the states must ratify them before they become part of the Constitution. 
Under both methods of amending the Constitution, the states always have the final say. The first method of amending the Constitution has been used several times. The second method has never been used at all -- until now.

The Convention of States Project is an attempt to implement the second method for the first time in history, and I am convinced this method will prevail, precisely because so many people say it won't. It's easy dismissal is it's guarantee of success. So long as the mainstream media easily dismisses this movement, it stays off the mainstream news radar, minimising negative press. This gets it through its infancy stage unencumbered. By the time the mainstream press figures out this is "a real thing" it will be too late. The movement will have already gathered enough steam to push it through the final approvals necessary.


Currently, as of the date of this writing, we are already one-third of the way (12 states) to the states needed (34) to make this Convention happen. There are just 22 states left to go. My own home State of Missouri just passed the resolution last month, and Missouri is a bellwether state, which means it usually trends with the majority of the rest of the nation in election cycles. Getting the remaining 22 is not only a possibility, but actually a probability.

Why?

The Convention of States will happen for more reasons than just strategic planning and the media's clueless nay-saying. It's also about timing. We are living in an era of decentralisation, and this is a trans-national movement. As we saw with the successful Brexit vote, the attempted Scottish independence referendum, and the upcoming Catalonia referendum in Spain, decentralisation is on the minds of people all across Europe and North America. The idea of the superstate has become oh so 20th century, as Westerners are beginning to realise that the one-size-fits-all mentality of big continental unions really don't work as well as everyone had hoped. The Soviet Union crashed and burned in the early 1990s. The European Union has proved to be a disaster of epic proportions. The North American Union never really got off the ground, and now even the United States is not so "united" anymore. The Left-Right (Democrat - Republican) polarity in America has now become so incredibly toxic that national progress no longer seems possible. We are embroiled in a perpetual war between Liberals and Conservatives that never ends, leaving our nation to stagnate while the whole world changes around us. Our inner cities are crumbling. Crime is rampant. Riots have become the norm of political expression. Our national debt is crippling, and our trade deficit has made us dependent on our enemies for economic survival. Our people are over taxed, over worked, under paid, and everyone else is just unemployed. We are steadily heading toward a two-class society of haves and have-nots. The Left promised us "Hope and Change" while the Right has promised to "Make America Great Again," but deep down inside, we all know that no single American president could ever hope to right America's course. America is a Union that is headed for catastrophe, precisely because of our one-size-fits-all form of federal government. The Convention of States will happen because its time has come. It is needed, and it is necessary. For the Republic must take one last dying gasp, in an attempt to save itself, before it fades away. History demands it, and the American people are owed as much. For all the blood that's been spilled to preserve this nation, every political attempt must be made to resuscitate it. That's what the Convention of States is all about, and that is why it WILL happen.

If you have not yet supported the Convention of States, for the sake of our American forefathers, I urge you to do so immediately. SIGN THE PETITION. Then get on board and help any way you can. This will do more for the future of our children than any political election or campaign in our lifetimes.

I write the following for the delegates of this Convention, knowing that it will happen someday, and knowing that one day they will read this, among many other things I am sure. The following are my own suggestions for three Constitutional Amendments. These amendments are needed to decentralise America peacefully and orderly, allowing the 50 respective states to reclaim their own sovereignty and authority, as they see fit, and on their own terms and in their own time. One size does not fit all, and so, any attempt to save the Republic must acknowledge that.

Proposed Constitutional Amendments...
  1. Congressional Term-Limits: This is absolutely necessary, and it is also the primary reason for why the Convention of States is called. Congress will never limit its own terms by proposing a Constitutional amendment, so the states must do it for them. I propose no more than 4 total terms for a Congressman, and 2 terms for a Senator. This would limit every Congressman to 8 years in the House, and every Senator to 12 years in the Senate. This would give a career politician no more than 20 total possible years in Congress, which is more than enough time to get things done. Nobody should ever be in Congress more than 20 years. 
  2. Nullification Overturn: The respective states are sovereign under the American system of government. This is why many states are already using the nullification process to nullify federal laws that are unmanageable. For this reason I am proposing a Constitutional Amendment that if more than half of all states (26 in total) nullify a federal law in those states, that federal law itself becomes null and void in all 50 states, effectively spanking the U.S. Congress for incompetence, and forcing them back to the drawing board.
  3. Secession Provision: This may sound extreme at first glance, but it actually has a very solid purpose. The issue of secession was never actually settled by the American Civil War. The only thing that was settled as that a state could not unilaterally secede on its own accord. However, that doesn't mean that secession is impossible. One of the reasons why the federal government has bloated to a colossal size, and racked up an even more colossal debt, is because it faces no real check and balance on its power. We have checks and balances WITHIN the federal government, so that each branch can check and balance the others' power, but we have no check and balance ON the federal government itself. These were taken away slowly over the last 150 years. Therefore, I propose a Constitutional Amendment that outlines an orderly and legal process by which a state (by the will of the people not politicians) may peacefully and amicably secede from the Union. For example; when the people of a state, have voted by a majority vote of 50% + 1, in a referendum wherein no less than 50% of registered voters have participated, then a "Secession Convention" must immediately be called, bypassing the incompetent federal government (which likely caused the problem in the first place), and delegates be sent to the state seeking secession to negotiate a fair and reasonable solution to the problem. The solution could involve a trial period where certain reforms might be implemented in an attempt to preserve a union, or reasonable and fair terms of separation could be drafted. In the end, secession is a state matter, to be handled by the states, and the federal government must stay out. We've already seen what happens when the federal government handles such matters (1861-1865).
Personally, I don't believe the Secession Amendment will ever need to be used, if the Nullification and Term-Limits amendments are put into place and well implemented. The idea behind the Secession Amendment is to ultimately put the federal government on notice and serve as the ultimate check and balance on federal tyranny. Actual secession is not necessary, but the credible threat of secession is. It needs to hang over Washington D.C. like a Democlean Sword. It's more than that however, it also has a lot to do with the idea of Federalism and the Catholic principle of Subsidiarity. The federal government is designed to SERVE the states, not lord over them.

The point of all three Amendments is to change the direction of the United States, and return it to something more akin to what was intended by America's Founding Fathers. The idea here is to shift power back to the states. It's a counterbalance to the whole 20th century, reasserting the sovereignty of the states over the fed, acting as a check and balance on the fed, and putting the fed on notice. The political shenanigans in Washington D.C. will no more be allowed to have such a negative impact on the people of these United States. To the future delegates of the Convention of States, I ask that you prayerfully and seriously consider these Amendment proposals.

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Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books and a columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of 'CatholicInTheOzarks.com.' Your support is what makes essays like this possible. This essay and all of Shane's Internet resources come to you (ad-free) thanks to the generosity of benefactors. Please consider becoming a benefactor.

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Comments

Arminius said…
While in general I support the Article V Convention of States, my major concern is sabotage by sleepers that get in and completely derail or take the proceedings down the wrong path.
Shane Schaetzel said…
The Convention has the power to govern itself, and would not allow unruly delegates to sabotage the show. Furthermore, the state legislatures would assign the delegates to begin with, which means that they need to pick people who will represent their state well, lest they get a bad deal. I really don't think sabotage is a serious concern.
Mortal said…
How about an amendment that sets the term for Supreme Court Justices at 12 years (or even just 10) with no chance for a second term? I think lifetime appointments are too long!