Ed. Note: While other states are moving forward, or strategically retreating, on the Convention of States issue, the Texas Legislature is reaching some critical dates. This Thursday, February 26, is the day to lobby the Lege with CoS and March 5 is the public comment date. March 12 is the date it will be voted on in Austin. (Paste this link in your browser for more information: http://www.tinyurl.com/m2qtgpu on Austin events.) Republished from Roanoke.com, by James Willis, freelance writer and political activist, February 20, 2015.
After several days of defending their resolution calling for an Article V Convention of States, Virginia lawmakers withdrew their bills in both the House of Delegates and the state Senate, conceding that they simply didn’t have the votes (“House scraps states convention bid,” Feb. 6 news story).
According to an email sent out by the Convention of States Project, the move was a strategic retreat rather than a defeat.
Call it what you will, I think it is pathetic that so many lawmakers in the state that produced men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason and James Madison are so timid in their defense of liberty. Jefferson was certainly right when he referred to: “ . . . timid men who prefer the calm of despotism to the boisterous sea of liberty.”
For those who may not be familiar with this issue, the Founding Fathers provided us with two methods of amending the Constitution.
The first method is the one most people remember, where amendments are proposed and voted on in Congress, and if passed by a two-thirds majority in both houses, sent to the state legislatures where they must be passed by three-fourths of the states before they are ratified.
The second method was provided to allow the states to bypass Congress when it becomes unresponsive to the people (sound familiar?) by calling for a Convention of States to propose amendments, which must then be passed by a two-thirds vote of the convention and then by three-fourths of the states before they are ratified.
No one but proponents of a big, all-powerful government would disagree that the federal government has encroached on the powers intended to be reserved to the states and the people, allowing it to grow too large and too powerful.
The government we have now bears little resemblance to what the Founding Fathers had in mind, and it has become the No. 1 threat to the freedoms it was created to protect.
Reducing the size, scope and power of the federal government is essential to protecting the freedom we inherited, and it is our responsibility to get the job done. Ronald Reagan warned us that “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size” and those who expect Congress to fix this are delusional.
Opponents of the Convention of States expressed their fear of a runaway convention that would allow progressives to destroy our Constitution by passing their own amendments. While that might be theoretically possible, the truth is they can do that now even without a Convention of States.
There are plenty of progressives in Congress who would love to repeal the First and Second Amendments, and in fact one such amendment was pushed by Sen. Harry Reid last year, but the measure never went anywhere because it did not get enough votes.
Any amendments passed by the Convention of States would have to pass with a two-thirds majority of the delegates to the convention, and then by three-fourths of the states, something that is not likely to happen.
Even though that danger exists, the danger of waiting for Congress to voluntarily give up power and reduce the size of the federal government is much greater. We cannot simply pretend this problem will go away on its own, and the longer we wait to fix this the harder it will be.
My question for those Republicans in the Virginia legislature who opposed this measure is, if you don’t like this method of limiting the power of the federal government, how would you do it?
If a better method exists, I’m all ears, but so far I have not heard it.
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