Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Convention of States, Keeping our Republic, and Remembering our History

COS pin

Last night my fearless leader (grassroots coordinator for Northern Virginia) had a Convention of States event in Alexandria. Would any of his team attend? I volunteered myself and my son, who had joined me to help at our COS booth at the Occoquan. Actually my son was having an enormously busy day but at the last minute opportunity reigned so we drove together to Alexandria to listen to my fearless leader speak to a group of citizens about the urgency of Convention of States.

My son was totally impressed with the presentation and wanted to hang out with our grassroots coordinator as long as he was willing to talk about Convention of States. I wasn't surprised. From the first time I met our coordinator, I knew I had to get my son to meet him!

So...did you know that Convention of States volunteers like my fearless leader, myself and many others are willing to come to your group to speak about the bi-partisain problem in Washington DC and the non-partisan solution that our Founding Fathers gave to us?

Did you know that Convention of States is:

Did you know that Convention of States wants to propose amendments to the Constitution to:

Did you know that eight other states have already called for a Convention of States?
  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Louisiana
  • Oklahoma
  • Tennessee

Why are we petitioning for a Convention of States? Because of the bigger questions:

When our Founding Fathers separated from England, they knew America needed a federal government, but they didn't want the government to have too much power. Thus they gave them as little power as possible under the Articles of Confederation. That didn't work either. During the war Washington couldn't get funding or supplies for his troops.  After the war commerce between the states was so difficult that more problems were created than solved. etc, etc, etc. Something had to be done.

Therefore the states sent delegates to a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia with the intent to form a new government. The Founding Fathers conceded they needed to give the federal government more power. However they were still very careful in regards to how much power they gave the federal government.

Our Founding Fathers were well-educated. They knew their history. They remembered that Ancient Greece fell because of democracy, which was one man one vote. Mob rule destroyed Greece. Ancient Rome didn't do any better with a republic, because there were no checks and balances. England tried to blend the two a bit, with a monarch. But even then the monarch had to be reined in: King John and the Magna Carta, Cromwell, the Glorious Revolution...

During that time Virginia was settled by Britain in the early 17th century. Our very first representative government in America began in Virginia, in Jamestowne, before the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts. These men were burgesses who represented their neighbors. By the 18th century the Virginia government had moved to Williamsburg. You can see the capitol today in Colonial Williamsburg. On one side sat the Governor's Council, formed by men appointed by the king to represent him in Virginia. On the other side sat the burgesses, who were elected to their positions by their neighbors.

All was well. Virginia became the largest, wealthiest, most populous, and most British of all the colonies. Education was important. Even the grammar level, which is the most George Washington obtained due to his father's death, was far more than we see in many colleges today. Education in the 18th century was of the classical nature. At the grammar level students studied Latin, Greek, philosophies, sciences, etc. Many, like James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, continued their education through the rhetoric level and beyond, learning law and honing their rhetorical skills. Those with education often went on to represent their districts as a public service, not as a career.

Then after the French and Indian War the king imposed taxes on the colonies without allowing them any input. The colonies were in an uproar. Their heritage as Englishmen, with rights to representation, had been ignored. Despite years of boycotts and discussion with the king to have him recognize the representative governments in America, the king continually ignored the colonists.  Eventually war broke out.

While Thomas Jefferson was at a convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a historic document was being written at a different convention in Williamsburg, Virginia. A group of burgesses which included George Mason and James Madison, wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights in May of 1776. Mason, in fact, led the committee.  The second paragraph of the document says:

That all Men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent natural Rights, of which they can not by any Compact, deprive or divest their Posterity; among which are the Enjoyment of Life and Liberty, with the Means of acquiring and possessing Property, and pursueing and obtaining Happiness and Safety. (Virginia Declaration of Rights)
A copy was sent to Thomas Jefferson, who a few weeks later drafted the Declaration of Independence.

 We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (Declaration of Independence)
I am not suggesting that Thomas Jefferson plagiarized George Mason. However I am saying that our Founding Fathers were of like mind. They had all studied many important works of history and political theory that have been written during the course of history. They knew their history. The idea of  liberty for all was not a novel idea to any of them. They read about it in the writings of Locke, Voltaire and  Montisquieu. They heard the pleas for liberty from various peoples across the ages as written in books of history since the dawn of time. However, our Founding Fathers were the first to put the ideas on paper with ink, then risked their lives by signing documents like the Declaration of Independence.

They risked. their. lives.

None of our Founding Documents were trivial. Great weight was put upon each word that was enscribed onto parchment for all time. Our Founding Fathers knew exactly what they were discussing and writing for all people for all time when they wrote the Declaration of Independence (which declared our government legitimate), the Federalist Papers (which rationalized the Constitution), and the Constitution (which became Supreme Law of our country).  (The Legal Basis for a Moral Constitution by Jenna Ellis, Esq.) They were willing to give up their lives of leisure to allow us, the citizens of the future, to have our liberties. In short, they did not want tyranny. They did not want big government.

However, after the failure of the Articles of Confederation, our Founding Fathers conceded that the federal government needed a few more powers than had been granted them under the failed system. Yet, not too much power, only that small bit of power that the states couldn't do on their own. The failure of the Articles of Confederation drove home the federal powers which should be enumerated in the Constitution.  

Under the Constitution, the Framers gave these powers to the federal government:
  • military
  • interstate commerce
  • immigration
  • money
  • treaties
  • postal system
  • patents
The states have these powers:
  • education
  • social welfare (including care for the poor, healthcare, housing) 
  • all commerce and commercial products
  • food
  • farming
Obviously our federal government today has increasing control of the powers the Founding Fathers meant for the states. Our Founding Fathers knew this could happen someday. After writing Article V of the Constitution, which explains how Congress writes amendments that are ratified in the states, George Mason (remember him?) stood up. He reminded his fellow delegates of the likelihood that the people would need to have the ability to rein in big government. The other delegates agreed. They added a second way to propose amendments...through the states. Ratification is still done the same way as what we are used to through the states.

Those who oppose Convention of States due to fears of a runaway convention need not worry. Our Founding Fathers had a plan for that too. There are checks and balances properly in place. In fact, Convention of States is the check in balance the Founders put in place for We the People to check the federal government. Ratification through a Convention of States is the same as it is when the federal Congress proposes amendments which is through the states. (Be sure to read the link above for many more proofs!)

Part of the problem with today's government has been interpretation of the Constitution. There are many lawyers who are taught today that the Constitution is fluid. They believe the Social Contract Theory. That is not what the Founding Fathers believed. Just read the Declaration of  Independence that says that we are endowed with natural rights. The Founding Fathers were very specific. They never intended government to use the Constitution to take rights away from the people. (The Legal Basis for a Moral Constitution by Jenna Ellis, Esq.)

At the end of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin walked out of the statehouse. A lady who was passing by asked him, "What kind of government did you give to us?" Franklin replied, "A republic, if you can keep it."

The question each of us need to ask ourselves is "Are we keeping the republic?" The Founding Fathers intended that we be ever vigilant. Are we vigilant? Some of us are. Some of us are only talking about it. Some of us need to take action.

Let's do so through the legal means under Article V of the Constitution that the Founding Fathers gave to us and fully expected us to use. Let's call a Convention of States to propose amendments to rein in big government and secure a future for our children and their children. The federal debt is at $17 trillion. Powers are continually taken away from the states. We the People have been largely ignored by the federal government.  Even if the most wonderful president in the world came to office and did completely wonderful things to set things straight, a future president would surely come  later to wipe all that out. Only Constitutional amendments will rein in big government, because the federal government will never put a rein on their own power.

Learn more and sign the petition at www.conventionofstates.com

No comments:

Post a Comment