According to the good people at “Call a Convention” (http://callaconvention.org/)“Democracy in America is stalled. From the Right and the Left, citizens are increasingly coming to recognize that our democracy does not work as our Framers intended. Reform of any kind is stalled by a status quo that profits from blocking change—even the change of a smaller government, or simpler taxes. No side in the political debate benefits from this inertia.”
Is there some way to grease the wheels of our floundering national government? Did the Founders, Blessed be They, anticipate such a crisis? Of course they did, and in their wisdom they provided a remedy, in Article V of our sacred Constitution, which readeth:
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…”
Despite this clear permission to do so, not even one time in the eleven score and six years since 1787 have the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States gotten their act together and called for a Convention for proposing Amendments. I’m betting the Founders would be shocked. I say it’s high time we convene a new Convention—in fact, I think one should be required every fifty years or so–and fortunately, the folks at “Call a Convention” agree with me and are actually trying to do something about it, soliciting memberships and ideas for amendments and planning a conference this fall.
As Lou Reed once said, the possibilities are endless. Just as the Convention in 1787, which was called only to amend and improve the Articles of Confederation, ended up unexpectedly establishing a brand-new national government, a convention today could result in all sorts of surprises. Think of the issues that might be on the agenda:
*Election reform? *Term limits (including for Supreme Court justices)? *A “balanced budget” amendment? *A “line-item veto” for the President? *New limits on the President’s authority to use military force? *Prohibition of domestic surveillance without court warrant? *Can states decide to form conferences and regional alliances, just like college sports teams do, in order to increase their influence—a Pac 12 conference, a Big East conference, an SEC? *Is there or isn’t there a “right to privacy” hiding in the “penumbra” of the Constitution? *Is there or isn’t there a right for states to secede, and if so, what is the procedure? *Can states “nullify” or otherwise disregard federal laws? *Are the Utah sheriffs really the final arbiter of our rights? *Should we repeal Daylight Savings Time? *How about a brand-new national anthem, maybe one you can dance to?
What say you, fellow Alexandrians? Should a Convention be Convened, and if so, what amendments and issues ought to be considered?