Friday, May 4, 2012

BUSY, BUSY, BUSY

Some folks have asked me why I haven’t been “Blogging again.”

Long story. Thirty years ago, I wrote a law review article entitled Return to Philadelphia. In it, I argued that it is time for the people of the United States to hold a convention to propose needed amendments to our federal constitution.

If you have a couple of hours to wallow in constitutional theory and politics, I urge you to
visit www.returntophiladelphia.com. I stand by every word of it.

That law review article led to an invitation to address the Federalist Society on the campus of Yale University. You can find that speech at www.thelastprerogative.com.

Fast forward twenty-five years. The Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy invited me to do a reprise of my speech at Yale. That set me about exploring the Internet to see what, if anything, was happening in the area of constitutional amendments or reforms.

Which led to the creation of a committee called Friends of the Article V Convention, and a web site at www.foavc.org.

What I discovered is that there are fistfuls of proposed constitutional amendments dancing around on the Internet, each with a dedicated coterie of supporters and a gaggle of opponents.

But there is no place for them to come together, discuss, debate, revise, and seek broad based approval of their ideas. There is no place to weed out the impractical, and the radical, or to vet the workable, the necessary and the possible.

And so, a couple of years ago, I formed a non-profit corporation called Convention USA, Inc. and launched a web site at www.conventionusa.org.

The idea is to provide a place where all Americans can gather to voice their concerns about our great nation, and to participate in the process of refining constitutional amendments which will help to assure that the blessings of liberty we have enjoyed will be preserved for our children and grandchildren.

There is no shortage of citizens who are shaking their fists at the sky. Howard Beale, the deranged television commentator in the movie, Network has become a contemporary icon, shouting out the window that he is mad as hell and isn’t going to take it any longer.

Americans have taken to the streets and the public square to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the federal government, the politicians, the corporations, the courts, the economy, the national debt and just about everything in between.

And for every marching, chanting, sign carrying, occupying, unhappy citizen, there are hundreds and thousands at home throwing slippers at their television sets and grousing about the state of the republic.

2012 is a leap year, an election year. Some folks will vote for anyone who is not an incumbent. Many more will stay at home, disgusted with politics, political parties and incessant campaign advertising.

What is slowly bubbling up in the American consciousness is the fact that we have problems that can’t be solved by voting someone out or voting someone in.

The founders of our nation intended to create a system in which there would be checks and balances. Where the ambition and self interest of some would counteract the overreaching of others. Where the oath to support the constitution would be the single unifying force that molds disparate partisans into a functioning union.

A constitution doesn’t tell us what laws are to be made. It tells us who will make the laws, who will enforce them, who will interpret them. A constitution is a blue print, a user’s manual, if you will, that tells us how the government is to function, not what it is to do.

Anyway, after several years of sputtering along, Convention USA is catching on. We now have 151 delegates whose voter registrations have been verified and another 86 still being examined.

In all, they represent 46 of the 50 states.

As political movements go, it is barely an acorn. But it’s growing.

And keeping me busy.

1 comment:

  1. Your Honor:

    May I invite you to a forum in Grand Rapids on 7 June on the very questions that you raise in your last post? I have listened to your presentation of 16 September 2010 archived on YouTube. I know that you will have something to say about the advisability of amending the Constitution to "overturn" Citizens United v Federal Election Commission (U S 2010).

    I am a Michigan attorney (P 27802) with an abiding interest dating from my law school days (Wayne State U, 1977) in preserving for the people the constitutional rights that appear to be eroding. The screaming and shouting from left and right is all off the mark, in my opinion.

    We should be focusing on the way our creatures, corporations, are taking all of the air out of real political discourse. We are left with juvenile food-fights, as evidenced by the embarrassing Republican presidential primaries this spring.

    Here is the working title for the discussion:
    The place of corporations in the Constitution and the American political process: Who is really in charge here?

    Some of my colleagues are ready to argue that we are living in a fascist state. I advise them to avoid that loaded term, but in essence, they are correct. Weren't the Italian and German fascist regimes examples of states run by and for the benefit of the prevailing economic powers and enterprises?

    Please consider appearing with other panelists in Grand Rapids on Thursday evening, 7 June, on IGE Talks.

    I will be happy to discuss details with you.
    My e-mail address is ridet.vince@aol.com and my telephone number is (616) 301 9766.

    Thank you

    Vince Schumacher

    ReplyDelete