I've written many articles in the past concerning my opposition to a Constitutional Convention (Con Con). I’ve also helped in successful fights in Ohio and Kansas to stop Con Con Resolutions. But recently there is a new twist in the effort to amend the Constitution to preserve freedom. It’s called an Article V Convention of the States. Proponents say it answers my concerns over the dangers of a Con Con, and so many activists have asked me where I stand on this new effort. So here are a few thoughts.
I certainly feel the pain of patriotic Americans over the state of our Constitution. The original document has been basically put in a museum on Connecticut Ave. in Washington, D.C., and forgotten. We are told it is old and outdated. Not relevant to today's age of technology and moral reality. Old guys in powdered wigs wrote it. They knew nothing about instant communications, international terrorists, and besides, they were slave owners. How could their ideas possibly be relevant to us today? I'm sure Nancy Pelosi never read the Constitution because she would have had to pass it through Congress before she could find out what's in it. For Obama, it's just a road block keeping him from his need to change the country.
Well, you've all heard those arguments. The result is a government out of control. Spending is skyrocketing. Gun rights are under siege. ObamaCare ... right! Property rights, American industry, the dollar, personal privacy, and even our ability to choose the foods we want to eat, are all disappearing under an out-of-control government.
Something has to be done. There are those who argue that we can't wait to try to elect the right kind of representatives in Congress and the White House. We have to take matters into our own hands immediately.
We have to see that the Constitution is strengthened to assure a balanced budged. Some have gone so far as to declare 10 Amendments for Freedom, including a plan to repay the national debt, enforce legislative transparency, a line item veto, term limits, immigration control, English as the national language, only U.S. laws over America, no socialism, and a government bound by "In God we Trust." And there are amendment ideas floating around to assure the Constitution is sound and strong for future generations.
Few of us would disagree with most of these ideas. They are put forth by respected leaders who have a record of promoting limited and Constitutional government. But how do we put these plans into action?
Radio host Mark Levin wrote a compelling book suggesting that there is a pressure valve written into Article V of the Constitution that shows us the way, through a convention of the states — an Article V Convention, as it is called. And we are assured that this is not a Constitutional Convention (Con Con) through which states call on Congress to convene. Too dangerous, they tell us — and I agree.
No, an Article V Convention is different. We are told that the term Constitutional Convention or Con Con is inaccurate. That an Article V Convention is designed to precisely avoid the need for a Con Con. Specifically, an Article V Convention is a meeting of the states — out of the control of Congress and the Pelosis of the nation. Each state will get one vote, and that will prevent a runaway convention that could result in the gutting of the Constitution. And through such a process, the states can control the agenda of the convention and therefore pass Mark Levin's freedom amendments. It's that simple. Moreover, the idea has captured the support of major Conservative leadership, including Sean Hannity, Home School leader Michael Farris, former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, commentator Tim Baldwin, the Goldwater Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and many more. All are well-respected leaders and advocates of limited government and Constitutional law.
I won't begin to question them, their integrity, or their honorable intentions. I believe most are sincere in their concern and desire to save our Republic. But I have a few questions and observations.
First, what is the real issue here? What is the real reason why we have to even consider trying to redefine what the Founders meant our government to be? After all, it’s all in the Constitution already. Article V advocates, and the Conservative movement in general, will readily tell you that the real issue is that our government, from the White House to Congress to the Supreme Court, is failing or refusing to follow Constitutional Law. They ignore it. So, say Article V proponents, that’s why we must amend the Constitution to assure our freedoms are guaranteed.
But, here is my real question for Article V advocates: If government today refuses to follow the Constitution, what will change once it is amended with the Articles of Freedom? What motivation will suddenly drive the Obamas and Pelosis to say “oh, the Constitution is the law of the land and we must follow it?” Especially when they oppose those freedom amendments for the same reasons they today ignore the entire Constitution. The Progressives who are in charge simply do not believe in balanced budgets, gun rights, and control of our borders. In addition, they really don’t care what a majority of Americans want, either. So an argument that the passage of the amendments will confirm that Americans want such a government cuts no ice with them.
Frankly, I believe that if we don't change the atmosphere and mind set in the nation to one that supports the ideas behind our Constitution (free markets, individual liberty, limited government, and private property rights), then all the amendments in the world aren't going to change the drive toward more and more government. The place to start that effort is by working to take back control of our local school systems, out of the clutches of the Federal Department of Education. Then, if we do first succeed in changing the mind-set of the nation to accept our ideas, a convention won't be needed. We will have the necessary support around the nation to elect the right kind or representatives to restore Constitutional law through their legislative action. That, I believe, is the real task that lies ahead of us. There is no short cut or silver bullet around it.
Second, as I listen to Article V proponents make their arguments about how they're going to bring about change — that they are going to bring all of these states together, hold a convention, and pass their amendments, they seem to ignore the very existence of the Progressive movement that today controls nearly every aspect of our governing process. What do Article V proponents think these forces are going to do while the convention process is going on? Here's what my research has found. Progressive groups such as the Open Society Institute, the Center for American Progress, and the American Constitutional Society, to name a few — all groups funded by George Soros — are behind a movement for a more "Progressive Constitution." They are simply not going to let conservatives have the playing field to themselves. They will use every trick, spending every dollar in their bulging war chests, to assure they control the process. Tim Baldwin has written with great vigor in support of the Article V Convention. But I think it is interesting to note that his father, Chuck Baldwin, former Constitution Party presidential candidate, author, columnist, and a personal friend of mine, was quoted in a World Net Daily column in 2009 entitled "Globalists 'Salivating' over Collapse of America" where he said, "The globalists who currently control Washington, D.C., and Wall Street are, no doubt, salivating over the opportunity to officially dismantle America's independence and national sovereignty, and establish North American Union — in much the same way that globalists created the European Union. A new Constitutional Convention is exactly the tool they need to cement their sinister scheme into law." Yes, Chuck was talking about a Con Con, but what will be different in an Article V Convention of the States if the Progressives get into the process?
Third, I have a great concern over how the Article V Convention is being promoted. I have been an activist all of my life. I have seen pretty much every tactic used by powerful forces who are trying to railroad the people. The tactics always seem to be the same. Use the facilitation process to bring people into the fold, control the debate, and attack the opposition with accusations of deceit and fringe ideas. I have many times been awarded a tin foil hat by such forces for advocating ideas contrary to their vision for America. So, I'm a little sensitive to such tactics when I see them. And I know that the Tea Party is well aware of such tactics. That, in fact, is one of the things that motivates true Tea Party patriots to take action against rich, powerful, D.C.-based groups that try to usurp or control the Tea Party. Yet, these are exactly the tactics I see being employed today by Article V proponents. Some of my associates have attempted to speak out at meetings where Article V is being promoted, and are not allowed the floor. That should sound familiar to Ron Paul supporters who have had microphones yanked out of their hands or turned off at state conventions. A couple of my friends have even been asked to represent the anti-Article V position. But, while the Article V proponent is given all the time he wants, the opposition is usually allowed only a few minutes to make their case. If the TeaParty is opposed to such tactics by County Commissioners, legislative committees, or Republican leadership at state conventions, then why don't they question it at their own meetings? A full, open debate is always healthy in a free society. A deliberate attempt to silence opposition should cause people to question the motives of the perpetrators.
Finally, the proponents of Article V take great comfort in reciting the powerful names of those supporting their efforts. As I said, many are very respected leaders of the Conservative movement. But, how dare they deride in such nasty fashion those who oppose them? They've called Phyllis Schlafly an old lady and out of touch. Phyllis was fighting for the Constitution when most of these Article V proponents were still in school. She risked everything she had to stop the Progressives' Equal Rights Amendment. Homeschool advocate Mike Farris has called the John Birch Society evil. JBS has been unwavering in its dedication to the Constitution through the dark days of Communist infiltration of the 1950s to today's fight against Agenda 21. The fact is, I was forced to part ways with Mike Farris and his tactics in the 1990s. At the time I was heavily engaged in a three-year war to stop the destruction of our public school system through the "reforms" known as Goals 2000, School-to-Work, and The Workforce Investment Act. Today, these "reforms" have morphed onto Common Core. When we had a chance to stop them in the 1990s, Mike Farris refused to support my efforts against the Workforce Investment Boards, saying they didn't affect homeschoolers! I considered that a betrayal to every student in the nation.
It is with great pain that I acknowledge that some people I really respect have joined the Article V effort. But I can’t join them because, to me, something really smells about this Article V movement. Its arguments don’t past scrutiny. Its tactics are underhanded. Its source of funding is not in the open. I think honest Tea Party members and dedicated freedom activists should ask a lot of questions before risking our precious Constitution to their lot.
Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence. Go to americanpolicy.org for more information