Article V

In a follow-up to yesterday's post, it was suggested on knuckledraggin.com site that I check out conventionofstates.com, which I did. Much of the information was nothing new to me but just said in different ways. Naturally they are selling a product/idea so they want to make it as palatable as possible.

The site is well written and well thought out as you would expect. To me that brings with it both good and bad. It seems professional, as it should, but to the common man that could also mean big money behind it bringing into question their true motives. Healthy scepticism hat on.

I do take those things into consideration when researching and gathering information from various sources but it is still valuable to assist in making your on common sense judgements and decisions.

The site covers many of the major questions that are raised about the Article V convention and the process surrounding it. The problems with most if not all of their answers is they are based on what they call historical precedent, since there has never been an Article V convention called. They dismiss many people with differing viewpoints on Article V by basically saying history speaks for itself. Of course, many of those people are also using history to raise their questions using differing interpretations, more on that idea later.

That's the real problem here. As I stated in my article yesterday, Article V as written is vague, there are no specifics. Conventionofstates says that is because the Founders had 32 pre-Constitutional conventions and so the processes and procedures were already set as far as they, the Founders, were concerned. To me, a common sense person, that is logical. However, it's also logical for me to read the Federalist Papers and other documents and be able to fully understand the Founders intentions about the contents of other areas of the Constitution like the general welfare clause and the commerce clause, both of which have been absolutely abused through legal "interpretations".

Therein lies the problem of the conventionofstates and others arguments. Even though they are perfectly valid, they use interpretations of history and intent. Nothing stops someone else from using the exact same history and intent and interpreting things in a totally different way. We've seen this over and over throughout our history especially with the judicial system. Much of our current case law comes from "interpretations" in this manner.

That to me is the most dangerous part of any consideration of using the Article V amendment process. If one group can interpret the processes and procedures one way, another group can interpret them in a totally different way there is nothing physically stopping them.

One interpretation says there is no way for there to be a run-away convention. The other interpretation says they can do whatever they want in the convention and are not limited by historical precedent.

One interpretation says the States make the rules. The other interpretation says Congress makes the rules.

One interpretation says the States select the delegates. The other interpretation says Congress selects the delegates.

So who determines who is right?

Common sense tells us this is not a good situation to be in. When there are not set rules and the rules are "up for grabs", those with the most power usually win and in this situation that would be the federal government, unfortunately. We've seen the States back down almost 100% consistently.

So again, I state, this whole situation is not one that I want to see happen. Partially because of all the unknowns surrounding the Article V clause but mainly because of my knowledge and understanding of human nature and government as a whole. Government's one and only goal is power, growing and maintaining power. So, it's common sense to expect the government will do everything possible to use an Article V convention for it's own purpose no matter that the Founders intended that not to be the case. Our government ignores the Founders intent each and every day so nothing new there.

This Article V process is a political process. By being a political process that mean by nature politicians will be involved. That also means acquisition of power for them by any means will be the goal. If we think otherwise we are being naive. Their actions have shown us this over and over. Their intent is to grow government, whether federal or State.

I believe the folks at conventionofstates have good intentions, so did the Founders. They are not the ones that concern me. It's the ones that seek to twist and distort the interpretations of history to meet their particular agendas that concern me. Unfortunately, there are no definite, established ways to do that consistently. Yes, it might be done but the cost for failure is catastrophic.

I still am of the mind we have no choice but to pursue an Article V convention but I am also even more convinced the possibility of an opposing "interpretation" taking things down the wrong path is very real and must be considered and even expected to happen. To do any less is to beg for failure and we all know what failure means.

Conventionofstates appears to be the largest and most organized of the Article V pushes. With that being the case, I would like to see them include a strong push for a major inclusion of private citizens in the process they are suggesting to the States. If the States were to mainly, if not 100%, use private citizens as delegates instead of politicians, that would go a long ways towards building acceptance of any amendments that would come out of the convention. It would also help to build/rebuild bridges within society that have been destroyed by the current administration in the areas of race particularly.

I just watched a video of Mark Levin at ALEC 2014 speaking about the calling of a new constitutional convention, what he is calling a "convention of the States".

I have long been opposed to this idea for many reasons. Yes, it is in the Constitution. Yes, I fully support and defend the Constitution. However, this area of the Constitution is, unlike most of the rest of it, very vague. It does not contain the usual deep thought processes of most of the rest of the Constitution. I think this could possibly be because of it's late inclusion in the final writing of the Constitution within 2 days of it being signed. Not much time for refining it and unfortunately it shows.

The concept is there, the reason behind it and it's intent are all very valid, but the process is not defined. In the world of 1776 that would have been dangerous. In the world of 2014, it's a disaster begging to happen.

Below is the comment I posted at theconservativetreehouse.com in response to the video. It explains where I stand now on this issue:

"

He wants one example of how a Constitutional convention can be “hijacked”, how’s the first one for evidence? The first convention was called for the express purpose of amending the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution of the time. We all know the end result, an entirely new Constitution, so it CAN happen and there is nothing in the current Constitution to directly prohibit it.

There is also the little thing of the wording of the current Constitution that states that CONGRESS shall call the convention once it is requested by the States. There is no wording there to support the process the Levin is proposing whereby the States just decide and then call their own delegates. There is no mention of HOW the delegates will be appointed, he’s making assumptions.

That is the problem with Article V, it’s vague, and we all know how government has used those situations in the past to it’s benefit and our detriment as citizens.

IF, and ONLY IF, the States can control the situation can this even remotely be successful. Even then, AFTER, amendments have been made we must ensure they are followed.

We have seen too many instances where the States will start something and then back off and let the feds have their way. If that happens once this thing starts, we’re done, there is no stopping it or reversing it at that point.

One of the things the Founders were so blessed with was their knowledge and understanding of human nature.

They knew and understood it is in our nature to become tyrannical and use our power to enslave others and take their freedoms and liberties. That is why they were so careful to attempt to put controls in place to limit that possibility. We have seen evidence of what their fears were, come to fruition over the last 200+ years and never more than today.

If there is even a microscopic crack in the process that is used to make a “convention of the States” happen, that crack will be used against us and if control of the process is lost by the States, it’s not hard to know the outcome, history and human nature has given us a multitude of examples.

So, just how much do we trust ourselves, our States? Do we have the Statesmen of 1776 currently in our States or do we have politicians that are there for their own enrichment?

Speaking of my State of South Carolina, no way would I trust them to do this. Yes, my State government is controlled by republicans. So what?

Levin spent 10 minutes of that speech telling us that both republicans and democrats are doing the same things in Washington and so we should think they aren’t in our States too? Really? They are there for one reason and one reason only, power. They want to have power and remain in power, it’s human nature. Once morals, ethics, and religious standards are tossed out the window as they have been in America today, humans revert to their base nature.

That was the difference in 1776, we had moral and ethical people that formed THAT Convention. Their thoughts were mainly for the Country. Where do you see that attitude widespread in ANY State government today? I challenge anyone to present proof.

So am I saying we shouldn’t do this? My mind says yes, we should run away from it because the evidence of history and human nature shows how it will most likely end and it will not be how we want. It will end with the final destruction of America as it was founded.

However, my heart says, we’re already dead, that America no longer exists even today. So if there is even a small chance that it will succeed, we have to try. BUT, we have to try with our eyes wide open, not through the rose colored glasses of Mark Levin and others.

We have to see through the glasses of history and human nature, knowing all the forces that will be against us being successful. Knowing they are even more powerful than they were against the original Founders. Their forces were external, ours are internal, close to us, and therefore even more dangerous and effective.

If a convention of States is successfully called there will be major attempts to hijack it from all directions. If even one is successful we lose, forever. America dissolves immediately with no hope of resurrection.

From that point, the only option left will be a call to arms. In all honesty, I believe that is the end result in this no matter which way we go.

However, as is supported by the laws of nature and nature’s God, those actions should be defensive in nature. Meaning, we should exhaust all options before that happens unless forced to defend ourselves before those options can be used.

So, those are the stakes in this gamble as I see them. Are we willing to accept them? Do we have a choice? Unfortunately, I fear we don’t. We’ve painted ourselves into a corner by being asleep at the wheel for the last 100 or so years."

As you can probable tell, I've been dragged kicking and screaming to this conclusion.

There is no way I trust anyone in federal, State, or even most local governments to do this for me. I can count on one hand the number of people I personally would trust with this outside of myself.

So, with that being said, and since there is no established process for this in the Constitution and we are just "winging it" anyways, let's go all out. Let's go all wild here with how we get this done.

It's, according to Levin, the States that will dictate the process. Then let the States pick delegates from US! We the People! Not politicians. Not legislators. Everyday, normal people. You and me.

Pick us to do this, then we can't say we were railroaded by politicians. If we fail, it's OUR fault, but if we succeed, it will be the biggest form of success we could ever have. We could once and for all show the rest of the Country and the world that we AREN'T racist. We can include ALL colors of Americans in the process. No, we still won't make everyone happy but that will never happen anyways, it's human nature.

With a process of this type we could bring back the common sense so lacking in government today. The common sense of the common man. The same common sense the original Founders brought to the table in the writing of the original Founding Documents.

We would have no agenda to stay in power as politicians would. We would have only one agenda, the Constitution.

So how could this happen?

I would suggest a test of some type. A civics type test, similar to the one given for citizenship except maybe even more in depth. Then, an interview, if you passed the test, by a panel of people knowledgeable about the founding of this Country, the Founders, and the original Founding Documents. Knowledge of the law doesn't matter. That is what has destroyed the Country to this point, mindless, senseless laws. We need people who know what the Founders intent was and want to return to that. Not lawyers looking for ways to twist things to fit what they want it to say. In fact, if I had my way, I would disqualify all lawyers from the process. Since juries are made up of 12 people, there should be 12 delegates from each State. That should be enough people to give a good cross section of the State's population. Enough to give a broad consensus of opinions.

So, once the process for selecting the delegates is established, the States move forward with that. Once selected, the delegates from each State would then meet and establish their amendment objectives. That way when the Convention officially starts, there is a base to work from and each State is totally on the same level.

Once the convention has started, that's where the States stop.

They then turn over all responsibility to the delegates to do their jobs. No interference. Much like juries are sequestered. The delegates expenses are paid in full and some reasonable amount given to help support them during their time away from jobs and family. Other than that, they should be mostly separated from any outside influences for however long the process takes. This would be a job taken because of desire to help the Country, not one to benefit you financially. It will be a hard job and it should be.

This is where we know if the States are serious about the process or not. If they are not willing to do something like this but choose to retain control and use politicians as the delegates, we know it's still about power and not about the Country and the Constitution. I don't want to hear any garbage about the experience and knowledge of the legislators being needed. They have failed at their jobs, now it's our turn.

So, bottom line. I don't want this to happen. I don't think the outcome will be positive for the Country and the Constitution. However, it appears it is the last option we have short of immediately taking up arms or letting the Country be destroyed from within. It may still be destroyed with or without this action but at this point in our history I see no other choice.

Again, if we must do this, we must do it with our eyes open. Knowing that all forces against us will be attacking in force from all directions using any means they see fit, both legal and illegal.

I'm not saying my ideas are the only ones that will work but to say as Mark Levin does that it's not possible for a Convention to be hijacked is not only naive, it's absurdly dangerous. Who would have thought we would be where we are as a Country 20, 30, 50 years ago? To have arrived at a point where a convention of the States is possibly the only hope left to save us and even that probably won't not work. If you are going to push for a convention at least push it with the truth that people need to hear so they aren't surprised when the "impossible" happens.