Article V - The Convention of States: A Town Hall with COS Action in Des Moines Iowa
Updated: Feb 23
Convention of States Action AT The Iowa State Capitol Today: HJR4, the Convention of States Resolution, passed out of the house sub-committee with a vote of 2 to 1. Now it's on to a full committee vote at 2:30 PM in Room 103.
Convention of States Action Town Hall
Des Moines Iowa
Location: Franklin Jr High School Des Moines Iowa
On the 21st of February 2023, there was a convention of states town hall meeting held at Franklin Jr High in Des Moines Iowa. The convention of states is of course based upon Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution. The following is a summary of that town hall. Including pertinent information and thoughts on Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution.
What is Article 5?
Article 5 of the Constitution sets out the rules for amending it. It states that an amendment must be proposed by either Congress or a national convention, and then ratified by three-fourths of all state legislatures or conventions in those states. Though the process is more complicated (as it should be) than this last paragraph lays out.
Article 5 Text
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
The town hall was facilitated by Convention of States Action. The two keynote speakers were
Mark Meckler https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Meckler, and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Santorum. The purpose of the town hall was to inform Iowan's of the current need for a convention of states. They covered as best as they could their reasons for a convention of states (COS) and hopes for the future of our nation. They outlined the present state of our nation and conveyed the well known facts about the inside and outside influences that are tearing at the very fabric of our countries well being. The three main items that the COSA wants to address are,
1 . Term limits for congress
2. Limiting the debt ceiling
3. Limiting federal overreach
During the town hall Rick Santorum duly noted that constitution has been changed, usually by the actions of congress and the courts. He particularly noted that many people sitting in the town hall meeting were at one time in our history, not allowed to even vote. He was referring to women and people of color. If it wasn't for our political action and legal due process, it would have been impossible to change the constitution and to bring the idea of fairness and equality to the nation and its citizens. But he reminded the assembly that it took courage to accomplish our goals, He stated “Don't tell me if we do nothing that things are going to get better”. So what is the something “to do” that Rick is talking about. He's talking about convening a convention of states in which the states and their chosen delegates could exercise their grass roots bottom to top (as it was originally designed to work) for redress of grievances. The convention would have strict ground rules outlining the delegates duties and oaths. Those ground rules could include criminal charges if they violated their oaths.
The idea of a convention of states is not a new one and was in fact was intentionally built into the constitution as a safety valve between the states (states rights) and the federal government (centralized power). And though many source are very vague on the history of the last time that a convention of states was attempted. It seems that most sources agree that the last time that a true COS was attempted was in 1787, and it seems that many opponents of the article V convention of states refer to the 1787 COS as a “runway convention”. That negative terminology is still being floated today by (shockingly) organizations like the John Birch Society. And it even became an item of contention at the Iowa 3rd district convention last year.
However, the idea of the runaway convention has been debunked, and its a very poor justification to reject the idea of a COS based upon on a convention that convened one time, over two hundred years ago.
Its important to understand that the founders of the country knew something very clearly. (And I truly believe that our founders were well educated, moral and wise men.) And that was... That centralized power, ie. Kings, Queens and oligarchies had and still have the propensity to take (seize) power. And once power is attained, they simply want more power. We are currently sitting at a dark crossroads of our history in which the worst nightmares of the founders are being realized. If the last three years of our history have proven anything, it's that yes, even our government can go too far and can become abusive when they are given latitude to do so. Thomas Jefferson, our third President, who was a great intellectual of his generation, also recognized that the government that he helped to create could and did abuse power. In a letter written on December 25th 1920 to a contemporary. Jefferson explains the state of affairs within the government during that time. In that letter, he states the following;
* We are working hard to protect the freedom of Iowans. Please support us in this fight.
"Monticello Dec. 25. 20.
If there be anything amiss therefore in the present state of our affairs, as the formidable deficit lately unfolded to us indicates, I ascribe it to the inattention of Congress to it’s duties, to their unwise dissipation & waste of the public contributions. they seemed, some little while ago to be at a loss for objects whereon to throw away the supposed fathomless funds of the treasury ... but it is not from this branch of government we have most to fear. taxes & short elections will keep them right. the Judiciary of the US. is the subtle corps of sappers & miners constantly working under ground to undermine the foundations of our confederated fabric. they are construing our constitution from a coordination of a general and special governments to a general & supreme one alone"
So in hind sight. Politics haven't changed in two hundred years. We cannot keep doing the same thing over and over and be forced to wait another two hundred years for anything to change. Because they wont. Its up to the grass roots implement the changes.
So what happens when we do nothing? Well... It could go something like this. And this might sound kind of familiar to you and some of your family and friends too. We could wake up one day and we find that we have been ordered to stay at home and to stay in our houses. You could find out that stores, schools and your workplace have been closed, and off limits to you and your family. You could find out that your job is now demanding that you undergo an experimental medical treatment, or be assigned to reeducation training before you are allowed to return to work. Then BAM! You also suddenly have restrictions on voting, and now it seems that your vote not only doesn't, it seems like the people that were elected into office at the different levels of government, state, federal and local can no longer hear your voice. Does this sound crazy to you? It should, and you know??? That's exactly what happened over the last three years.
What are some solutions? Well, we tried voting. And yes. We had some limited successes. And some things got better and they could get better over time. But then again. It hasn't done much to rein in things like rampant inflation, failures of government to conduct due diligence by not taking public safety and public complaints seriously. By allowing an open border to our south and allowing a free flow of narcotics and criminals to cross into our country unchecked, not to mention that crime has been allowed to flourish in major cities throughout the United States all while crying out to defund and cancel the police. In fact the democrats in Iowa are now actively calling for the legalization of marijuana in Iowa. All things considered, the timing of this proposed legislation could not be worst and its an example of misguided governance. Some people say that “we just to to elect better people”. Perhaps... But this only gives us one voice of one elected person. Instead of a collective of voices that speak together as one. Its just not a good idea (or good politics) to burn the bridges of Article 5. Especially when your standing in the middle of a battlefield, and that bridge happens to be completely necessary to not only your reach your objectives, but necessary as an escape route from a really bad situation.
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