I’m an avid supporter of the Convention of States project. The reason why is simple. Our country has devolved to the point that nothing else will fix its problems. We need a solution as big as the problems that face us. In fact, if your time is short, skip to the end of this article. You will probably agree with my conclusions without me explaining how I personally got there.
How I got involved in politics
Let me tell you how I got involved with politics. My wife and I were early adopters to home schooling. We schooled our children informally as they were growing up, then got a lot more structured the second official year of our home school. Then the local school district decided we were guilty of truancy, so they prosecuted us. After eight months, our HSLDA attorney David Kallman got us off. But the next school year, the school district prosecuted us again. This time, after only six weeks, L. Brooks Paterson, our County Prosecutor at the time, decided that Oakland County would no longer prosecute home schoolers. That’s the shortened version. Maybe some day I will give more details. But there was a takeaway from this. After my home school prosecutions, I decided that I would ALWAYS be involved in politics. I am convinced that damage to our society can come quickly and devastatingly.
My Life with the Republicans
I ran for and won the small office of Precinct Delegate for the Michigan Republican Party. If you don’t know what that is, you should check it out. It’s an easy way to get involved without massive time or money commitment. I began several years of low level political involvement by being a Precinct Delegate.
Here’s how it seemed to me. I was, and still remain, nobody in particular. But I heard a quote from Helen Keller once. She said, “I am only one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but I still can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” That’s the spirit of my little efforts with politics.
Most of my efforts, from what I can tell, were unfruitful. They didn’t produce a change. I remember being at a phone bank once during a primary election, and the other Republican candidate had money. We just had spirit. We were making a number of calls, but the opponent had the money for computer generated calls going to hundreds of people while we were making our dozens of calls. There really are a hundred ways that money votes more than people vote. One of the frustrating things was that the best candidate was not always the candidate that the Republican Party would back. In fact, the best candidate was rarely backed by the Party.
I Left to Work with a Third Party
After about ten years working with the Republican Party, I burned out. There had been too many examples of fake conservative Republicans getting elected, even the candidates I was working for, and they just a tool of the Democratic Party. The Democrats since JFK have become more socialist, and the Republicans have become more like Democrats. Almost no one represents the true conservative. They are marginalized. Conservatives are identified are purged by the Republicans. They are demonized by the Democrats.
So I started working with a third party, the Taxpayer’s Party. I ran for office some times, knowing I wouldn’t be elected, but trusting that I was getting out a message that might do some future good. It was during this time that I became more familiar with some of the other candidates and some of the other third party issues. I would usually be part of a town hall meeting or an informal debate on some of the issues. I loved that environment. I felt I was probably doing as much good as I was doing with the Republican Party. I learned a lot of outsider political ideas during this time. I also learned to appreciate what the Founding Fathers had given us when they put together the Constitution. It was a great learning experience.
I Came Back for Ron Paul
I came back to working with the Republicans when Ron Paul ran for President, but I also noticed how the Party worked against him. In my county we could go to the State’s Republican Convention, but we had to agree to vote for Mitt Romney for President. This was before Romney had the Presidential nomination locked up. In case you don’t know it, Ron Paul didn’t have a real chance at the Presidency because of the establishment Republicans.
Later, among Democrats, we saw the same thing. Bernie Sanders didn’t have a real chance at the nomination for the Presidency. This is standard Washington DC tactics. DC reinforces themselves through several tactics that, as you begin to understand it, will just churn your stomach. The establishment media, the Hollywood establishment, the educational establishment, the military establishment, and all the other establishments are highly resistant to change, and are interdependent on each other.
Then Came The Donald
Wow. The Donald. But how did he do it? He financed his Presidential run himself, and spoke directly to the people. And guess what? There were other people who were just as frustrated with establishment politics as I am. Surprise, surprise – enough were frustrated with politics-as-usual to elect Trump as our President.
Right now Americans feel trapped in an abusive relationship with their government. The 2016 election proves it. But how can we change as a country? Well, the election of Trump is a start, but I don’t believe Trump can drain the swamp by himself. There are too many pieces of the political puzzle that reinforce each other and feed on each other.
Also, if Trump is the answer, what will happen when we elect the next President? He will just undo what Trump did. He will change Trump’s policies as quickly as Trump changed Obama’s policies. That’s because there is too much power in the Presidential executive orders right now. We the People constantly lose our wealth and our freedoms because of this problem.
Where Do We Go From Here?
What have our political “solutions” been so far?
• We were told to elect the right person. After working hard on electing the right person, though, we were constantly betrayed when they get to Washington DC.
• We were told to elect the right Party. But we have at times had a virtual stranglehold of one Party over another and has not resulted in any benefits for the average citizen.
• We’ve tried to elect good candidate even if they couldn’t raise good money. It’s virtually impossible to do so. I believe it was Will Rogers that once joked, “We’ve got the best government that money can buy.” Only it’s not funny.
• Some of us have promoted a third political party. But this usually divides the vote among like minded people. It usually ends up electing the wrong guy to office.
• We have tried reforming our political Parties. But the establishment is deeply entrenched. Think of Ron Paul, and others.
• We have tried to limit government by balancing the budget. Except that balancing a budget is not popular among the Republicans or the Democrats right now. The Republicans get the military spending they want by allowing the Democrats to have welfare spending they want.
We have a highly centralized government structure right now. It’s getting more centralized all the time. In a sense, at east until Trump was elected, it didn’t matter who we elected to federal office, because they were going to give their authorities over to international treaties and agencies. It also didn’t matter who we elected to state level offices. Did you know that it’s estimated that 65% of a state budget is spent on items dictated to them by federal laws? So the federal government is spending all that they spend in their budgets, plus more because they have to borrow to run the government, plus 65% of the state budgets.
Every year American citizens find that their vote counts less and less, their opinions count less and less.
COS – The Game Changer
The Convention of States Project is a game changer to most of the problems that I just mentioned. The key to it all is that the changes will come from the States, not from the federal government. The states are starting the process, and controlling the process. The entrenched federal government has no choice but to follow the lead from the States.
For instance, concerning the Balanced Budget Amendment, if it becomes a part of the Constitution, then the federal government, by whatever mechanism they choose, will have to abide by it.
With term limits, the federal government will have to abide by it. Right now, a company or an organization can pay for a candidate once (either legally or illegally), and they will have their votes for the next thirty years.
There are many other ways the COS might propose an Amendment to rein in federal government overreach, but I am trying to keep the length of this article shorter. One of them might be to not allow the federal government to make one rule for America, then exempt themselves. That is something that is increasingly common among federal laws.
Will a Spiritual Spark Ignite the COS?
Personal revival brings institutional reformation. I think that spiritual revival might bring a Convention of States, or even vice versa. The First Great Awakening in the 1730s brought about thinking that led to the American Revolution. The Second Great Awakening was from about 1790 through the 1850s and brought about the thinking that led to the Civil War, and the freeing of slaves. I’m ready for America’s Third Great Awakening. In the Bible, first the structure was fixed (the wall around Jerusalem) through Nehemiah. Then the spiritual revival came through Ezra. But in American history, it came in the opposite order. Let’s watch for this. It might happen again.