Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

December 16, 2013

Convention of States bypasses Congress, president

The scope of the federal government’s control has reached a tipping point, including a burdensome tax code, a bureaucracy that suppresses economic growth and smothers the individual by issuing thousands of laws a year, NSA intrusions, a Congress that spends faster than it can tax and an executive that centralizes government with every act he takes.

The United States owes $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities, and entitlements are operating on annual deficits, destined for bankruptcy. Abuses of power have infiltrated nearly every level of the federal government.

Our government has grown to become the very thing our Founding Fathers fought to defeat, and the leadership of both national parties have demonstrated they are unwilling to restrain it. Advocates for limited government must recognize that our defensive strategy is not working.

We are failing. We have been bloodied, beaten down and knocked senseless by the statists’ crusade for a utopian society. Some may have conceded the fight, cynically proclaiming that the death of our constitutional republic is inevitable, succumbing to the blows of despotism.

However, there are those of us who are unwilling to condemn future generations to an existence of government servitude, economic ruin and societal instability.

Thankfully, there is plan in the Constitution itself. The Constitution has been amended 27 times, all via congressional proposal. There is a second method that several framers insisted be included for the purpose of circumventing the federal government. As James Madison wrote:

“Col: Mason thought the plan of amending the Constitution exceptionable & dangerous. As the proposing of amendments is in both the modes to depend ... on Congress, no amendments of the proper kind would ever be obtained by the people, if the Government should become oppressive, as he verily believed would be the case. Mr. Morris & Mr. Gerry moved to amend the article so as to require a Convention on application of 2/3 of the States.”

The framers anticipated this moment, and they provided an emergency cord for we the people. This course requires that freedom-loving Americans support state legislators who will pursue a convention of states to propose constitutional amendments, as described in Article V of the Constitution:

“The Congress ... on the application of two-thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which ... shall be valid ... as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three-fourths thereof...”

Incensed by the federal government’s overreach, 97 legislators from 32 states gathered at Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, Va., on Dec. 7, 2013.

Those attending say an Article V amendments convention should meet to craft constitutional amendments that would curb the government’s abuses. Three states recently pre-filed applications for such a convention.

Indiana Sen. David Long addressed concerns of a “runaway convention” by distributing materials on establishing rules for a convention, therein restricting the topics of amendments and ensuring that states retain their right to recall delegates who act outside of their authority. The legislators will meet again in May and December of 2014 to craft these rules.

A Convention of States bypasses Congress, the president, the courts, and even governors. It’s time the people reclaim the powers the federal government has seized and change how D.C. does business.

An Article V convention is in the spirit of our founding, and it’s been there all along, in the Constitution. While there is still time, do we not have a responsibility to defy the tide of tyranny? The moment has come to shrug off our apathy and make a stand, even if it’s a last one.

Garrett Humbertson

LaVale

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