This week is the seventh installment of the project Jill and I started several weeks ago. We’ve both talked about how important the upcoming 2020 election is. And every day, the current president continues to laugh at our Constitution. To him, it’s a silly little document.
Just this week, Trump proclaimed that he was the Chief Law Enforcement Official of the country. Really? I thought that was the Attorney General. When you’ve been emboldened by your fellow Republican Party to do as you please, though, I guess you can call yourself whatever you want. He’ll get no pushback, so why not?
But while so many of us detest what this president does daily, the fact remains that a significant portion of the United States does not. It’s hard for a lot of us to grasp. How is this possible? Do they not see what we see? No, they do not. And trying to convince them otherwise is a pointless endeavor.
It’s easy to get discouraged, but we’ve got to keep our eyes on the prize: Defeating this president on November 3, 2020. As I’ve stated many times before, complacency is not an option. Only a large scale voter turnout, on the scale of Barrack Obama’s in 2008, will ensure that Donald J. Trump will not retake the oath of office on January 20, 2021.
In Part V of our project, I wrote about how corruption in our politics gives people a reason to stay home. The one-percent crowd owns our politicians, so what’s the point? It’s easy to see why people do not have confidence in their elected leaders anymore. Plus, the fact we may have two billionaires duking it out for the presidency does make you cringe.
But there are ways for us to stay engaged in the process. And if we don’t, we risk apathy breeding apathy, and Donald Trump wins again. In my post, I pointed to a grassroots organization, RepresentUS, who are trying to affect change at the local, state, and national levels through proposing anti-corruption laws that aim to make government work for the people, not the lobbyists and well-connected.
Thanks to my friend Scottie over at Scotties Toy Box, I found out about another group aiming for something similar. But this particular group has something much more significant as a goal: A proposed 28th Amendment to the Constitution that would bring us free and fair elections, and remove the corrupt influence of money. The group is called Wolf-Pac. You can access their website here. While their goal is much more of a long-term solution, they’ve already gotten five states to sign on to their plan.
Since Congress is unable and unwilling to do anything of the sort, Wolf-Pac wants to go the route of proposing a Constitutional Convention to get the Amendment to Congress for a vote. Article V of the document provides the path to do so.
There are only two ways to propose amendments to the Constitution. Either 2/3 of Congress or 2/3 of the states can propose an amendment, the latter through a convention. In either case, it must be approved by 75% of the states (currently 38).
The last, and best example of how a convention produced change was the 17th Amendment, which allowed for direct election of Senators, who before that time were appointed by state legislatures. Even back then, you can see how such a practice was seen as corruption due to the disproportionate influence wealthy individuals, and special interests had over the process.
It was the people, though, who made a difference. They used petitions, local legislation, ballot referendums, educational campaigns, resolutions calling on Congress to propose a Constitutional Amendment, and applications for an Article V convention to propose an Amendment.
While the movement for a convention came up one vote short, Congress reacted by proposing the amendment themselves, which ultimately passed and became the 17th Amendment. It wouldn’t have happened without the massive grassroots effort from the electorate.
And it’s the only way we can do it in 2020. While thinking long-term, which is what this fight would entail, might not necessarily motivate potential voters, maybe if they realized how such an Amendment would affect positive change in America, they’d think differently.
For example, Wolf-Pac points out that independent studies have shown that overall public opinion holds “only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” However, that same study identified a measurable correlation between what those who could afford lobbyists wanted, and what laws were ultimately passed.
It’s why issues most important to the people seemingly never get addressed. And even when it does, the resulting legislation tends to be watered down due to constant lobbying from the economic elites. We have remedies for this—but it’s going to take staying engaged and not giving in to the corporate and wealthy who think we do not have the heart or desire.
It’s hard to say whether a Constitutional Convention could be successful. There are worries that if an actual convention were called, it could lead to a so-called ”runaway convention” where rogue delegates could exploit the process and make proposals that were outside the scope of the permissible convention topic; in this case, campaign finance reform. But whatever the case, the cause itself is sound. Those wanting to contribute or volunteer can access all of that information on the website.
Without civic engagement, we’re doomed to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over and expecting a different result. Last I checked, that’s called insanity. Groups like Wolf-Pac and RepresentUs are but a few who are trying to finally put a stop to the madness that is our political system of the United States of America.
Now that we have a man in office who openly scoffs at the Constitution itself, we must get to work. The Trump team wants us to disengage. They want us to believe that our vote doesn’t matter; or that illegals are voting by the millions. The fact a sitting president would even make that claim is beyond despicable. But he did, and millions of his followers believe him.
Our late iconic friend, Congressman Elijah Cummings, said it best: “We’re better than that!” Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, we can all agree that what we have in place isn’t working for most Americans. The change we seek isn’t supposed to be easy.
The rights many of us now enjoy were paid for by the blood, sweat, and tears of others. That’s because the status quo is hard to dislodge. Now entrenched, the economic royalists will defend their turf with an enthusiastic passion that must be met with not just equal, but transcending vigor. Engage now, or forever hold your peace.
You can find Jeff and Jill’s table of contents for our project here.