Big Government Extremism

How big is too big?  Yeah, yeah, wipe that smile off your face…it’s not a dirty joke. These days, it’s a very serious question.

When it comes to government, how big is too big?

This is a question a lot of people are asking these days, as the federal government keeps on getting bigger and bigger, while the ability of normal, everyday people just to live their lives seems to diminish day by day.

For those of us who love freedom, the situation seems to get more and more helpless all the time.  Our freedoms are taken from us, and what recourse do we have?  We can’t depend on politicians to do the right thing.  We need to cut spending, but they’re addicted to the power the federal budget gives them – lobbyists come fawning, they get the inside stock tips (and even get to design policies that inflate their bank accounts, if they’re careful about it).  We need term limits, but how could we possibly trust those who are addicted to power to limit that power?  These days, the power of incumbency is almost tantamount to a lifetime appointment for a United States Senator with a recognizable enough name.

Just look at how far we’ve come: a nation that was born in protest against a tyrannical government now faces a government wielding more power against its people than our founders ever would have put up with.  There is nothing in the life of the average American that isn’t effected in some way by interventionist government policies and regulations.  With new programs like Obamacare, it’s only getting worse – now every American is compelled by the government to either purchase health insurance, or pay a fine.  Whether you can afford it or not…and with the law pushing health insurance premiums ever higher, fewer Americans will be able to afford either the insurance or the fines.

But finally, someone is preparing to do something about it.

A new movement is growing in America to reign in the power this federal behemoth.  A group of legislators from 32 states recently met at Mount Vernon, Virginia.  The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the possibility of holding a convention of the states in order to amend the U.S. Constitution, the overall goal being to reign in the out-of-control federal government.  According to Article V of the Constitution, agreement by two-thirds (33) of the states’ legislatures is required to call a convention, and it takes three-quarters (38) to ratify any proposed amendments, either by a convention with 3/4 of the states represented, or by affirmative votes by legislatures in 3/4 of the states.

 

This is both encouraging, and a little frightening.  For starters, calling a constitutional convention is an extreme measure – it truly is a last-ditch effort to bring the federal government to heel.  After all, it’s difficult enough to pass constitutional amendments through the more traditional means of getting two-thirds of both houses of Congress on board.  The convention process was included in the Constitution to give the states a way to get around a federal government that has failed to do its duty under the Constitution – which is what we have today.  It truly is quite disturbing that we are left with little choice other than to invoke one of the most extreme measures written into our Constitution in order to ensure that our rights are not steamrolled by an out-of-control federal government bent on tyranny.

 

But a constitutional convention could be dangerous, especially if they go into a convention with two-thirds of the states represented.  America’s original constitutional convention, held in 1787 in Philadelphia, had a simple mandate: to correct the errors inherent in the Articles of Confederation.  By the time the delegates were finished, they had completely defied the scope of their original mandate and produced a whole new system of government.  As it turned out, it worked out well that time – after they added in the Bill of Rights to assuage several justifiably skeptical states that would not vote for ratification otherwise.

The big question is, could America go 2 for 2 on constitutional conventions?  What’s to stop a new convention from going the way of the 1787 convention, scrapping its original mandate, and starting over from scratch?  Can we trust the delegates to stick to proposing amendments?  And even if they do stick to the amendment process, can we trust that their amendments will restrict the feds, rather than empowering them to take us even further toward tyranny?

If your state is one of the 32 already considering the convention process (I’m trying to find a list, but haven’t located it yet), write, call, and email your legislators.  Voice your support for bringing the federal government back within its constitutional bounds, and make sure you stress the importance of ensuring that a convention of states be kept within strict guidelines, to perform the functions of amending the Constitution to bring our federal government to heel.

As the power of the federal government increasingly leaves average Americans powerless, a convention of states could be a very, very good thing that could bring power back to the American people…but as always, it is up to us to be vigilant.

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