I have never been much good at raising money. All my political campaigns were anemically funded, and through my years as President of Cooley Law School, I was never able to tap into the kind of multi million dollar gifts that so many colleges and universities seem to be able to attract.
So it is no surprise to me that my recent overtures to generate funding for Convention USA have not set any records.
Of particular interest, however, is an exchange of emails that was occasioned by my fund raising initiative.
Here is where it started:
Spencer Gantt has posted a comment to your fund:
Your money goal is $100,000.00 So far, you've collected $600.00. Good luck on getting the other $99,400.00. I like your organization. I think it is the right way to go. But, when your first action in this particular quest to "put out the glad hand for money", you are not going to succeed. Every "Tom, Dick & Harry" in the United States has a computer. That's all that you need. You don't need money. Get people to donate their time, effort and zeal, and you just might make it. I'm willing to work "my ___ off" to make this happen. But, I'm not willing to give yours or any such organization even "one thin dime". Let me know what to do.
Here was my reply:
I read your comment on gofundme, Spencer, and I really appreciate your candid comments. I feel much as you do. I have been working my butt off for five years on this project. When I started it, I asked the delegates to pay $10 a month dues. It was very hard to recruit people. I probably collected less than $2,000 in dues. Finally I gave it up and let anyone register as a delegate. We got more people, but it has still been a slow process to recruit delegates.
I have written a book about it, which will be published this Fall. The book explains what we are doing on the Internet. Unfortunately, the web site needs upgrading to be able to perform the way I describe it in the book. I have a proposal from the web master to do the upgrade for $14,000. So far I have already invested over $30,000 in the web site. My darling wife, God bless her, doesn't want me to spend any more money on the project. I don't blame her. At our age (I'll be 85 next week, she in September) we have to be thinking about the end game.
I am hoping that the book will sell and generate some income that I can spend on the web site. Meantime, I'll take you up on your offer. I have worked with volunteers for many years. One thing I learned is that volunteers don't take orders. You have to let them help you in whatever way they want to help, when they want, and how they want.
So my question, Spencer, what can you do to help? What exactly are your willing to do? Clerical work? Communications? Recruiting delegates? Let me know. I'm glad to welcome you aboard.
One thing you might do is to register as a delegate. It doesn't cost anything and takes only about a minute of your valuable time. Not exactly working off any part of your anatomy.
That email brought the following rejoinder from Mr. Gantt:
Hello, Mr. Brennan,
I read your email over several times, and I appreciate your talking to me. Yes, you've been at this a long time, it seems, and I hope your efforts come to fruition soon. I only recently began to have an interest in this situation when Michigan became the 34th State to request a Constitutional Convention in accordance with Article V. Also, my daughter (age 44) became very enthusiastic about this event about a week ago and has been "hammering" me about it since.
If your wife has "put the brakes" on your efforts with the web-site, that may be a good thing. If $30,000 hasn't brought you much success in five years, it's doubtful any more money would help. As far as age is concerned, I understand what you mean. I'll be 73 myself next month.
I have a web-site, www.people-south.com, and under the "government" tab, there is a section called "Constitution" which I will change to "Constitutional Convention" this weekend. In this section I will be posting articles about Article V and what is happening in today's world regarding same. Also, today I created a Facebook page called "Article V Convention". I will be using this to promote a convention as well as my site.
I will register as a delegate, and will promote your site as much as possible. I would like to reference your site, and post various of your articles and info on my site and/or on the page with your permission, of course. I will do everything I can in promoting what you have already done, because I feel we have the "chance of a lifetime" here and there's not much time left. I hope we can make a difference.
Judging by your name, I suspect you must be of some kin to the Supreme Court Justice, William J. Brennan, Jr.
That email prompted another from me:
When I was the Chief Justice of Michigan in 1970, I attended a symposium in Colorado which included an opportunity to meet President Nixon. As I approached him in the receiving line, he read my name tag and said, "Ah, Judge Brennan from Michigan. Are you related to Justice William Brennan on the United States Supreme Court?"
"No, Mr. President," I said, " I am not related to him by consanguinity, affinity, or philosophy." Nixon had a hearty laugh.
I am delighted to hear that you will register as a delegate and help us to recruit more delegates. I don't know how much you have seen about our plan. The goal is to recruit 6,166 delegates - one for every 50,000 people in the U.S.
We already have the apportionment plan. There are 1,186 districts, drawn along county lines. In every district the ratio of constituents to delegates is not less that one to 45,000 nor more that one to 55,000.
I will send you a link that will allow you to see the map of every state and the convention districts in each. It's a home made job, but it's accurate.
The long range goal is to elect delegates in November of every even numbered year and to convene the convention in May of every odd numbered year. Delegates won't have to attend in person, but will be able to watch the proceedings on their computers - even participate remotely - and all delegates will be able to vote on all issues using their computers.
The big problem, of course, is credibility. Getting 6,166 delegates from all over the country, will go a long way toward giving us credibility. Another factor will be that our delegates will not just be volunteers, but will be elected by the people in their districts. These elections will be held on the Internet. The system of electing delegates on the Internet is one of the upgrades I am trying to do on the web site.
All for now. Again, thanks for your interest.
And I added this tidbit:
The web site that shows all the delegate districts is www.usconcon.com
As I said, it's a home made job but when I get some of that naughty old stuff called money, maybe I can get it done professionally.
By then Spencer Gantt seemed interested:
Thanks for your prompt response. I wasn't sure I had gotten through. Let me mull this over for a bit. I've had a "rough day" with my own web-site and need some "sit back for a while" time. I admire and appreciate what you are trying to do. With people being the way they are, I know it's difficult to get their attention (in large numbers). But I feel that as a People we cannot afford to let this opportunity pass by as it won't ever come again, I'm sure.
I'll get back with you later this evening. And, thanks again for responding. That in and of itself is unusual.
This is what he ‘got back’ with:
Sir, I'm puzzled. This site and convention that you are running, how will it be recognized by the "powers that be", that is, by the Congress or whoever approves a convention? Will this be the "actual" convention, or as just a group of people having their own convention?
A very good question. What Convention USA does will only be recognized by "the powers that be" when it becomes a significant political movement. It will only become a significant political movement if the amendment or amendments that it proposes are popular with the American people.
The "powers that be" are only the "powers that be" as long as the general population allows them to be the "powers that be." When the general public agrees upon and supports a constitutional amendment, the "powers that be" will scramble to get on board and pretend that it was their idea in the first place.
Do I think that the mainstream media will be receptive to what we do? Of course not. The mainstream media are part of the ruling oligarchy in America. Do I think that ordinary citizens can overcome the mainstream media and the "powers that be"? You better hope we can, otherwise the nation founded in 1787 will not survive the twenty-first century.
Spencer Gantt will surely be as good as his word when it comes to donating money. I can only hope that I have made a new friend for Convention USA.