Most Americans have no idea how close we are to essentially being completely taken over by corporations and the wealthy. If the right can find a way to take control over 6 more state legislatures they can force what is called a Constitutional Convention, where they could amend the constitution in any way they desire. Neither President, Congress nor the Supreme Court would have a say. This would be the fulfillment of a quest they have been seeking since the early 70’s.
The article below by Brendan O’Connor, found in FUSION gives a brief synopsis of this effort and it’s current status. How did this possibility arise, you may be wondering? Basically, the Founders of the United States Constitution provided a tool which governs the passage of amendments. “That tool is Article V of the United States Constitution, which governs the passage of amendments” and it provides two ways an amendment can happen:
- An amendments is supported by two thirds of the members of the both the House of Representatives and the Senate and then ratified by at least three quarters of the states. “Since its ratification in 1788, the United States Constitution has been amended 27 times.” Every amendment has been done this way.
- “On the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states (34, altogether), [Congress] shall call a convention for proposing amendments.”
That all sounds reasonable until you take a look at what has changed, what new tools, legal manipulations, etc. have occurred since ratification of the constitution. The powerful have not been asleep, although the same cannot be said for most of the rest of us. Since 1788 corporations have become people and they have also found religion which we must protect and did I mention that money is now speech. I don’t believe our forefathers foresaw such unbelievable power grabs. Yes, “right-wing billionaires … (have been busy) buying themselves a new constitution” and they are extremely excited exclaiming. “We have a chance to do something extraordinary … a chance to save this republic from the fate that has faced every other republic. They’ve all gone extinct. We have an opportunity because the Founders gave us a tool.” Sounds like they are going to save the American republic for the American people. These guys must be great, principled individuals, unless they have an “alternate” definition for “the American people”.
O’connor’s article begins by documenting a recent “practice convention” held at historical Colonial Williamsburg (VA) for a weekend of role play.” Taking a brief look at the “proposed (fake) amendments” gives a chilling look into the minds behind this effort. Various groups have been actively involved in this covert (but not hidden) effort to reshape / redefine the American constitution to rigidly reflect the vision of a certain subset of the American people. Here is somewhat of a summary (caution: in most cases the slick names of many of these groups have nothing to do with their actual purpose):
- Christian right groups: “Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), Alliance Defending Freedom, God’s Harvard, Patrick Henry College“
- Lobbying efforts: “Citizens for Self Governance, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the infamous, corporate-funded bill mill that puts state legislators, lobbyists, and advocacy groups in rooms together to discuss issues and craft model legislation”.
- Establishing control: Although touted as a fight for states rights, “it’s not about states rights, it’s about local control,” Michael Farris, the homeschooling advocate, explained during a panel at ALEC’s States & Nation policy convention in 2013. The former contains echoes of the debate over slavery, he warned. “You just steer the language in the proper direction.”
- Circumventing democracy (and the American people): Watching ALEC meetings you soon realize, “’you really don’t need people to do this,’ an Article V proponent told Wisconsin state representative Chris Taylor, a Democrat who attended an ALEC summit in 2013 and wrote about the experience. ‘You just need control over the legislature and you need money, and we have both’.”
- They are very close to their goal: For Congress to call a convention, three quarters of state legislatures (34, altogether) need to pass resolutions petitioning it to do so. We are closer than we’ve ever been to this happening.” They only need about 6 more states.
- What would happen next? We really don’t know. “The fact that there is no historical or legal precedent”. there are so many logistical, not to mention legal questions, but I feel certain those with the most power, the most money will control the outcome. O’Connor deals with many of these in more detail. Bottom line is “There are absolutely no rules,” David Super, a constitutional scholar at Georgetown Law School … said … “The only place you could find such a rule would be in Article V, and it doesn’t say anything about it.”
- Who is pushing for this and why? It seems that the groups pushing for such a convention are dominantly from the right, conservative, “the same billionaires that ushered in the triumphs of the radical right over the past ten years are funding and betting on the success of this project.” Corporations, though largely ignored by O’Connor’s article would seem to be drooling over the possibilities here as well. “An Article V convention … (would seem to be) a way of ending the struggle between business and government once and for all.” A merger between business and government (somewhere between oligarchy and corporatocracy with, a bit of kleptocracy thrown in, of course). Oh, the American people – they are not forgotten, they are explicitly omitted.
Read all of O’Connors article for a broader picture, but most of all, stay alert, be concerned and vigilant.