Constitutional Convention – Not A Good Idea!
by Dr. Bill Smith, Contributing Author
The following email has been making the rounds as a ruse to take America off track and to open our Constitution to a complete makeover. Having served 22 years in the military, I took an oath as a commissioned office that I stand by today: “. . . that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” Thus, I must speak out against this populace treat to stir up emotions with the intent to destroy our Constitution.
While I “may” agree with the intent of the identified constitution amendment mentioned in the email, the real danger lies in the proposed idea of a Constitutional Convention.
First The Bogus Email:This keeps appearing with more states signing on! We are on our way! A Constitutional Convention is on the horizon. . . . Governors of 35 states have already filed suit against the Federal Government for imposing unlawful burdens upon them. It only takes 38 (of the 50) States to convene a Constitutional Convention . . . .For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest was to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform … in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn’t seem logical. We do not have an elite that is above the law.I truly don’t care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The self-serving must stop.A Constitutional Convention – this is a good way to do that. It is an idea whose time has come. And, with the advent of modern communication, the process can be moved along with incredible speed. There is talk out there that the “government” doesn’t care what the people think. That is irrelevant. It is incumbent on the population to address elected officials to the wrongs afflicted against the populace…you and me. Think about this . . . .The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months and 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971…before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc. Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land…all because of public pressure. . . .Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution:
“Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States …”
The above email is designed to mislead people. It is meant to lead them to believe that they could call for a Constitutional Convention which would make only this one constitutional change. Then we would have this amendment to the Constitution which would keep those rascals in Congress in line and we would all be better off. The progressives, a lot of liberals, and radical groups would love readers to believe this. Why? Because it is not true and they have an agenda.
If a Constitutional Convention were legally convened, its delegates would have absolute authority without oversight by anyone outside of the convention. The delegates would create a new Constitution to replace the present Constitution. Do you believe that such a Constitution would be as well founded and as wise as the one creased by our reasoned founders? Most likely, we would cease to be a Republic. Note these words in the email, “incumbent on the population to address elected officials to the wrongs afflicted against the populace…you and me.” Those words are pandering to emotions without the email explaining the ultimate outcome. It wants you to start thinking about a Constitutional Convention. There are other emails and venues promoting the same idea.
To reiterate, a Constitutional Convention would have no legal oversight and could eliminate or modify any or all of the bill of rights. They could eliminate those “nasty “NOTs” which presently limit the authority of the Federal government and establishes boundaries to their interfering with our lives. Also, new rights or restrictions on citizens could be established. While laws can and have placed restrictions on American citizens, they presently can be challenged under the present Constitution in court or repealed by Congress. The Constitution was meant to stand the test of time until the United States of America ceased to be Republic. Are we ready to surrender our Republic?
The Convention could add all kinds of new populace elements. I have heard students at a local university (and they all vote) claim that every person should be guaranteed a free college education. Also consider that there are a lot of people out there who believe that your property should be open to their use. And, on it goes.
Most likely, one major change would be changing the process of electing a president by eliminating the Electoral College. If this ever happens, it means that the major cities and a few states would solely determine who would be president. Consider that the majority of those who are on welfare and other subsidies reside in these cities and states. Thus, they would only elect a President who was supportive of more government handouts and funding their programs with other people’s money. There is already a movement which advocates that state legislatures agree to join together with other states and to cast their electoral votes according to the popular vote outside their state and not according to the vote within their state. Our forefathers provided the Electoral College to give each state balanced representation in electing a president.
After a Constitutional Convention, we could even find ourselves with another form of government, maybe a Parliamentary form or a government with less checks and balances. The present concept of three branches of government (Congress, the Court System, and the Executive Branch) could all be eliminated. Our unique Constitution and our present system of government could be wiped out without recourse. We could wind up with unrestricted government and no bill of rights. An unrestricted government could be unleashed to drag us further into socialism or a dictatorship. The new Constitution could even recognize Sharia law or International law.
Ask yourself, “Why do liberals love the idea of a “constitutional convention?” Did you notice the line in the email, “I truly don’t care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The self-serving must stop.” This could be a line right out of the progressive’s playbook. The hidden agenda of the email was not to promote the amendment but to encourage people to move toward a constitutional convention. A place where others espousing goodwill will have the opportunity to argue away the current Republic, the protection of our rights and freedoms, and the checks and balances that our forefathers gave us.
Consider the warning of Benjamin Franklin. His words were spoken at the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787. “A lady asked Dr. Franklin, Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy. A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it.” [Notes by Dr. James McHenry, a Maryland’s delegates to the Convention; first published in The American Historical Review, vol. 11, 1906, p. 618.]
There exists a need for documented arguments / responses on this and other subjects relative to the Constitution. People need access to “right minded” information so that they can make sound decisions and fend off with confidence bogus ideas and communications designed to entrap citizens who are angry with the actions and behavior of their government. Threats like those identified above should be addressed in position papers by think tanks like The Heritage Foundation and The Curtis Coleman Institute for Constitutional Policy.
However, each of us bears a responsibility to educate ourselves. Listening to friends and discussing issues within groups may be interesting, but, it can also lead to “group think” when not grounded in truth and facts. A good starting place is for citizens to read the source documents of our founding fathers and the various debates and changes over the last 223 years since the close of the Constitutional Convention.
In 2012, we will celebrate 225 years of our present Constitution. We will also participate in the pivotal 2012 elections. Please commit now to reading the U.S. Constitution. Then, consider reading your state’s constitution. Let’s not chance false ideas of rewriting the U.S. Constitution. Let us hold our elected officials accountable to the Constitution that they swore to uphold.
[The Heritage Foundation has Free Pocket Constitutions.]
Dr. Bill Smith is a retired Air Force officer and former director of the $2.2 Billion European F-16 Co-production Program. He is a retired professor and is the editor of the ARRA News Service, Blogs For Borders and Conservative Voices. He is a conservative political activist, writes for several other sites and can be followed on Twitter (@arra).
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