Today, September 17 is Constitution Day, but very, very few Americans know this or will celebrate it. If you think of yourself as a politically engaged, civic-minded and patriotic American, then I urge you to celebrate today by expanding your mind about a critically important but never-used part of our Constitution.
All you have to do is go to www.foavc.org the site of Friends of the Article V Convention and spend some time learning the truth about the option given to us by the Framers because they anticipated that Americans would lose trust and confidence in the federal government. That day has surely arrived. So I beg you to suspend your current beliefs and fears and open your mind to learning the truth about this option.
An Article V Convention was envisioned as a temporary fourth branch of the federal government that, once convened, was not under the control of Congress, the President or the Supreme Court. The Convention of state delegates could only propose constitutional amendments, just as Congress has done during our history, and like those they would have to be ratified by three-quarters of the states.
So why have we never had an Article V Convention?
Congress has refused to obey the Constitution and the oath of office by not respecting the one and only requirement for a Convention given in Article V. That is applications from two-thirds of the states. Well, here is an indisputable fact that you can verify by going to www.foavc.org: there have been over 600 such state applications and our group is the first and only group to make these available to the public (our job of posting these is not quite yet complete).
Why has Congress refused to allow us to have an Article V Convention? They and all established political interests on the left and right fear direct democracy as manifest through such a Convention. They fear many kinds of constitutional amendments that are the only way to obtain major, systemic political reforms. Many examples of possible amendments are on our site, though our organization does not advocate for any amendment, staying totally committed to a nonpartisan advocacy to compel Congress to grant us the first Article V Convention.
Want to rid the political system of corruption by moneyed interests? Then contemplate an amendment that would remove all private money from all political campaigns and activities, replacing it with strict and pure public financing. This approach has been called Clean Money/Clean Elections and has worked when adopted by several states.
Want to eliminate the perverse impacts of using the Electoral College for presidential elections? Then contemplate an amendment replacing it with the popular vote.
Want to reduce the excessive powers accumulated by the presidency? Then think about an amendment prohibiting presidential signing statements that undermine the legislative actions of Congress, and also making unconstitutional for Congress to, in any way, transfer its power and authority to declare war to the president.
Not only go to www.foavc.org to expand your knowledge, please consider becoming a member of our organization so that we become strong enough to impose effective pressure on Congress to obey the Constitution. What a fine way to celebrate Constitution Day.
Joel S. Hirschhorn is the author of Delusional Democracy – Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government (www.delusionaldemocracy.com). His current political writings have been greatly influenced by working as a senior staffer for the U.S. Congress and for the National Governors Association. He advocates a Second American Revolution, beginning with an Article V Convention to propose constitutional amendments. He is Chair of the Independent Party of Maryland.