We’re better than this.
That was my overwhelming thought as I reflected on today’s elitists who have hijacked, distorted, or otherwise ignored America’s founding document.
Today is the 227th anniversary of the United States Constitution, a revolutionary document that established a one-of-a-kind Republic. It is truly magnificent. The Constitution is clear: there would be no king, no royalty, no lords. Instead, the authority rested in the rule of law and consent of the governed. By carefully separating the government’s power into three branches, the Framers of the Constitution sought to check the federal government against itself in order to preserve the rights and freedoms of the people.
The states themselves would serve as an additional safeguard against any overreach with its representation in the Senate. Unfortunately, that role has since been abolished, and subsequently the balance of power has been tipped dangerously.
“As government expands, liberty contracts.” -Ronald Reagan
Over the past century, the United States has gradually abandoned its founding principles in favor of regressive Statist policies which centralize government power and rob Americans of life, liberty, and the right to pursue happiness. Ever since the birth of the income tax, the federal government has expanded it sphere of power over Americans.
Recently we have accelerated along that course to despotism. While rallying behind some Utopian scheme, the ruling class promotes agendas that inevitably involve two things: the growth of government control, and the shrinking of your earnings and liberty.
Instead of checking each other, the judicial, legislative, and executive branches largely work in tandem to impose burdens upon the American people. The judicial branch recklessly twists law to serve its own purposes. Bureaucrats are tasked with imposing endless regulations on the citizenry, seeking to perpetuate and grow the federal Leviathan. Likewise, Congress is made up of an elitist ruling class that is motivated by schemes which expand their spheres of power, prestige, and personal wealth.
This is not how it was supposed to be.
The Framers envisioned a rotation of citizen legislators who would return to private life after being called to a short time in public office. As George Mason said, “Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens.” Today, members of Congress often exempt themselves from the very laws they pass.
Thomas Jefferson, in a moment of particular prescience, stated “I apprehend that the total abandonment of the principle of rotation in the offices of President and Senator will end in abuse.”
And so it has. The past century has seen the rise of the career politicians who traffic in deception and demagoguery, profiting by their own corruption. About half of the current members of Congress have been in office more than twelve years. All who kiss the ring of the higher ups are granted a limitless trough of campaign funds and an assortment of political favors.
Recent polling indicates that some 75 percent of Americans want Congressional term limits. Are we so foolish to believe that the ruling class even cares?
Meanwhile, the national debt is nearing $18 trillion, triple what it was just 15 years ago, and the United States is on the hook for $200 trillion in liabilities. Soon, the cost of financing the national debt will surpass all of the government’s other expenditures, including Social Security and Medicare, combined. The aforementioned entitlement programs will both be bankrupt within the next ten years, according to the programs’ own trustees.
This year, we paid out a record number in taxes, and the American tax burden is the 3rd-worst in the industrialized world, yet the federal government still ran a $600 billion deficit. Three-fourths of Americans want a balanced budget amendment, but will Congress ever go for it? Keep dreaming.
Instead, our nation’s leaders are consumed with the names of football teams, the plight of non-citizens, controlling the weather, centralizing campaign financing law to benefit their own political interests, or otherwise stirring up dissension and dissatisfaction to advance their own ends.
We are better than those who rule us so crookedly, but what can we do?
“If the Government should become oppressive”
If not for Col. George Mason, we might be without any hope of restoration. Thankfully, in the closing days of the Philadelphia Convention, Mason stood to implore his fellow delegates to give the states a means of recourse “should the government become oppressive.” What was proposed next was so favored that is was passed unanimously by the delegates of the convention.
The states still possess a powerful instrument that will restore both the Constitution and save America from its current trajectory. The Constitution itself holds the answer in Article V, which gives the people the power to amend the Constitution via two methods: Congress, and the States. With the corresponding resolutions of two-thirds (34) of the states, delegates can propose constitutional reforms that will change how DC does business.
President George Washington, in his Farewell Address, said:
“If in the opinion of the people the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this in one instance may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.”
Clearly, we have witnessed numerous “changes by usurpation” that are much too numerous to list. State lawmakers have risen up in recent years to fight the federal government’s overreach, but with little to show for it. It’s time to think bigger. It is time for a historic reset that would reestablish the constitutional structure.
In Federalist 85 Alexander Hamilton writes extensively about Article V, stating: “We may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority.”
In Federalist 47, Madison concurs, writing: “Should the provisions of the Constitution as here reviewed, be found not to secure the government and rights of the states, against usurpations and abuses on the part of the United States, the final resort within the purview of the Constitution, lies in an amendment of the Constitution, according to a process applicable by the states.”
Conservatives, libertarians, constitutionalists, and all those who love liberty have strength in two places: the Constitution and the states. An Article V convention combines these strengths while also establishing an enduring structural remedy, rather than a brief respite. Make no mistake: the effort to call an Article V convention will be daunting, but the benefits will be historic.
In addition to a balanced budget amendment (involving a flattening of tax rates and a cap on federal spending) and congressional term limits, delegates to an Article V convention ought to consider a constitutional amendment that would give a super-majority of the states the ability to override costly federal regulations, laws passed by Congress, and Supreme Court rulings. A check of this kind would discourage oppressive laws, regulations, and rulings while giving the people recourse in the event that our voices are ignored at the federal level.
The delegation also could propose amendments which clarify the meaning of the Commerce and General Welfare clauses, which have been hijacked by the Statists in order to centralize government in pursuit of Utopian schemes.
Separately or in conjunction, these proposed amendments would advance liberty and prosperity in America like nothing we’ve ever seen. The convention alone will spark a constitutional revival that will impact elections for the foreseeable future.
A balanced budget convention has achieved resolutions from 25 state legislatures, needing only nine more to make it official. Meanwhile, Convention of States Project has drafted legislation for a convention that would be open to a package of amendments limited to a topic of constraining the federal government. Despite launching just a year ago, their resolution has already been adopted by three states (Florida, Alaska, and Georgia), while about 20 more will vote next year.
That momentum is largely due to the release of Mark Levin’s book The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic, which sparked the grassroots movement. In another promising sign, conservative leaders are now rallying around the Article V movement. We at Red Millennial have added our own endorsement.
Thanks to Mason’s passion and the foresight of the Framers, we are not at the mercy of the Washington insiders. As President Reagan stated, “I do not believe in a fate that will all on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing.”
For the sake of this and future generations, we must spread the word. We must honor the vision of the Founding Fathers by imploring our state legislators to call an Article V convention.
The Framers gave this to us. It’s our constitutional duty to use it.