A Convention of the States Could Solve Our Problems

Garrett Summers | @g_summ300

Under Article V of the Constitution, the states have the power to call a Constitutional Convention to amend the Constitution. Two-thirds of state legislatures (34) must pass statements in support of a Constitutional Convention for the convention to be called. In the past, all Constitutional Conventions have been called for with one amendment in mind. Currently, the Convention of States Action Program is taking petitions to give to state legislatures to show public support for a Constitutional Convention, but no specific amendments are named. The movement wants the legislatures to create and draft these new amendments, with the only caveat being that they must limit the federal government’s power. The federal government will have no power over the convention, nor will it have any vote or say in the amendments up for debate. This allows the representatives that are closest to the people to propose amendments that are truly supported by the people.

A Drastic Reform of the Constitution

Congress and the Constitution

The only other way for the Constitution to be amended is for two-thirds of each house of Congress to approve an amendment and then have it approved by the state legislatures. With a Constitutional Convention, the states can propose the amendment and vote on it without any input from the federal government. If you happen to be a small government conservative, it sounds like a wonderful situation to be in. Besides that, the last time the Constitution was amended was 1992. In today’s political climate, the likelihood of two-thirds of either house of Congress, let alone both, is next to nonexistent. In recent history, Congress couldn’t agree on how to spend money, that resulted in the longest government shutdown of US history. Therefore, the states must band together and create amendments to the Constitution that makes the Federal Government do its job.

A Balanced Budget

While the Convention of States Action Program does not name any specific amendments to be created, there are a few that are thought to be considered if the convention were to happen. The potential amendment with the most support is to force Congress to create a balanced budget each year and not continue to raise the national debt by $1 trillion each year. The national debt stems from greedy politicians hanging onto their power. They cannot please everyone with a finite budget, so they artificially stretch the budget to afford everyone’s wishes. This is a disastrous solution.

Just like in your private life, the federal government cannot take loans indefinitely. Eventually, the loaner will want the loan to be paid and, as of right now, the federal government only allows room in the budget for the interest of its current loans to be paid. If the current debt were to be called for collection today, the federal government would have a tough time finding room for these payments in the budget and may have to default on these loans. This would destroy the country’s credit, crash any investment in the economy, and harm the economy. Let’s make them start to remedy the debt through a balanced budget before we are faced with a dire circumstance.

No More Career Politicians

Another popular potential amendment is to impose term limits on Congress, which is a very contested topic. Sometimes, a representative does not have one’s constituents’ best interests at heart. However, if citizens find a champion that truly fights for their interests, whether non-constituents like it or not, it is hard to tell the voters that they cannot continue having that individual represent them. On top of this, a representative can gain more experience through more time spent in their position.

The population, specifically young people, should take responsibility for electing every official that represents them and not just the president. Too many people choose not to vote for lower representatives and, because of this, the same people vote and elect the same people year after year. If there was a higher number of citizens voting for and holding their representatives accountable, the need for term limits would be nonexistent. This is an issue that would be better handled through education and voter movements.

What About the Draft?

One amendment that would be interesting to see during a Constitutional Convention would be one that abolishes selective service and the draft. Giving the federal government the ability to conscript citizens into the military, against their will, flies in the face of every notion of bodily sovereignty. In his book On Liberty, John Stuart Mills wrote, “over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.” No one, including the government or the majority, has a right to another’s body. Forcing people to fight in wars that they do not agree with is an affront to bodily autonomy. Passing this amendment is one step in the direction of giving individual liberty back to the people.

A modern convention of states returns power back to the people and, hopefully, limits federal power. Sign the petition, take action, and take our country back from the federal government.

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