We need to come to grips with the futility of our current efforts to put our government on the right course. We are becoming serfs of a corporate oligarchy. Our nation needs repair. We need to remember what being American is all about.
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.
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. This is the real disposition of human nature; it is what neither the honorable member nor myself can correct. It is a common misfortunate that awaits our State constitution, as well as all others.”
We have all seen the political gamesmanship that leads to lopsided wins for parties but even when each have great majorities, there is no progress. Now our government is evenly split between the two parties and still more of the same gridlock and inaction in a prolonged national economic crisis. They managed to make it worse by a self imposed sequestration that is quietly going to stick around.
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. These institutions and governmental functions, though thoughtfully designed by our founders, have failed us. The reason? The ultimate check and balance to governmental power put into place by our founders has not been exercised… That is up to each of us.
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 is sacredly obligatory upon all.”
When we talk about how to reverse Citizens United 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 too? Some say we should while others say we should only ban corporations from contributing, but what about the unions?
There is no single person who is so brilliant that they know the answers to all of our problems. The solutions are not obvious and only We the People have the ability to determine what is right. We need to build consensus around these changes or they may backfire. This will not be easy, yet we cannot avoid the heavy lifting and we cannot shy away from uncertainty 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.
“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.”
~ Thomas Jefferson, Letter To Samuel Kercheval – Monticello, July 12, 1816
We Are Already Making Progress. We will soon find out how far from an Article V convention we really are. Through the years, there have been hundreds of State applications for an Article V convention. Now, for the first time in US history, those of us in the group ArticleV.org, have requested an official tabulation of state applications for an Article V convention. If the number of states is more than 34, the call from Congress to assemble a convention is mandatory under Article V of the Constitution. They have no choice; they cannot scuttle it to a committee or have an endless debate about it.
The Article V Convention process was designed and placed in our US Constitution this way because our forefathers knew that Congress could present a problem when states apply for the convention, particularly a congress gone out of control and otherwise unaccountable to the people. 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 and designing our government.
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. We cannot be successful if we sit down as one side of the political spectrum. There will be no progress if the Convention is Democrat vs. Republican or Tea Party vs Occupy, or Gay Rights Activists vs. religious fundamentalists. We need to understand that even those who are in the same groups are different. When we peel back layers of our differences, what remains is America.
We are brothers, friends, and patriots. When was the last time you heard any politician refer to America as a melting pot? We need to find that spirit which has made our nation so great and it begins with accepting each other as Americans. We need to begin to heal from decades of division and the pain of tragedies we have all experienced. We need to make this world livable for our grandchildren and their kids. America lost dignity in recent years and we are not the same nation we once were, but we are not helpless.