Convention of States: A solution as big as the problem in Washington
Approximately two weeks ago, a representative of Convention of States reached out to The Crossroads Chronicle and inquired about the possibility of using this publication to relay information about Convention of States, an organization that boasts a grassroots network of more than 5 million supporters and volunteers, representing every state legislative district in the nation. Its mission, according to the organization’s website (conventionofstates.com) is to “restore a culture of self-governance in America and to curtail federal overreach. COSA’s primary focus in accomplishing this mission is using a limited Article V Convention to propose constitutional amendments that impose limitations on the size and scope of the federal government, including a balanced budget requirement and term limits for federal officials.”
In response to the request, The Chronicle has granted the below space to Robert Hein, the legislative liaison for COSAction in Georgia, who wrote the following:
Following the 2020 Presidential Election and a year of pandemic shutdown, I realized that yelling at the television was doing little good. The results of the election and the way it was covered by most of the liberal media left me feeling frustrated. It feels like our voices are not heard in Washington.
This led me to Convention of States. COS is a 501(c)(4) non-partisan, non-profit organization. We are a grassroots army of average citizens who are concerned about Congress’s lack of judgment and reason. We want to share our voices about a federal government that is out of control and no longer listens to its citizens.
The primary goal of COS is to call a Convention of States under Article V of the U.S. Constitution. There are only two ways the Constitution can be amended.
One is for Congress to propose an amendment – which has resulted in 27 amendments over the last 233 years.
The other is for two-thirds of the state legislatures (34) to call for a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution. If a convention occurs and amendments are proposed, three-quarters of the states (38) are needed to ratify each one. So far, a convention has not occurred since the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788. While there have been many interstate conventions held over America’s history this would be the first Article V convention called by the states and held to propose a limited set of amendments.
COS is calling for a convention to propose amendments for term limits, fiscal responsibility (like a balanced budget), and restoring the balance of power between state and federal governments. COS has 15 states already and is on the verge of obtaining three more.
In Georgia, we have almost 62,000 supporters who have asked us to notify their state representatives and senators that COS wants a convention to change the way business is done in Washington.
Congress will never willingly give up its powers. In 1951, they imposed a two-term limit on the president under the 22nd Amendment, but they are not willing to do the same for themselves. However, there is almost universal agreement among the people of America, meaning people like you and me (that excludes career politicians, party members, strategists, consultants, and the liberal media) who want a change for those in control in Washington. More power and control need to be given back to the American people.
Almost 80 percent of voters agree there is a need to call for term limits and a balanced budget. Washington is not listening or hearing us and refuses to do anything about it. There is overwhelming bipartisan agreement between average, non-politician citizens, regardless of whether they tend to vote conservative or liberal.
I often hear television commentators say, “The partisan bickering and name-calling has never been this bad.” That makes me smile because political disagreements, rancor, disputes, and even duels date all the way back to Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, and other Founding Fathers. Washington feared that the formation of political parties (“factions”) would lead to the downfall of The Republic.
In the 18th century, term limits were called “rotation in office.” Rotation was designed to prevent corruption among politicians who might gain too much power if they stayed in office too long.
There was vigorous debate among the founders at the 1787 Constitutional Convention about the need or effectiveness of forced rotation in office. Ultimately, term limits were rejected in favor of frequent elections every two years as a check on corruption.
Thomas Jefferson was apprehensive about abandoning the principle of rotation, fearing it would lead to abuses of power. In a December 20, 1787, letter to James Madison, Jefferson commented on his objections to the proposed 1787 Constitution. He told Madison, “… I dislike, and greatly dislike, … the abandonment in every instance of the necessity of rotation in office, and most particularly in the case of the President. Experience concurs with reason in concluding that the first magistrate [the President] will always be re-elected if the Constitution permits it. He is then an officer for life.” (Jefferson Writings, The Library of America, publisher, Ninth printing, 1984, p. 916.)
If the founders had been able to look through a “window in time” 234 years into the future and see the average time served in Congress, perhaps they might have adopted “rotation” or “term limits” after all.
Jefferson stated in his Dec. 20, 1787, letter that the Constitution should be amended once it “has been duly weighed & canvassed by the people [and] seeing the parts they generally dislike.” He was optimistic that future generations of Americans would fix problems through experience and and learning what is not working.
Haven’t we reached the point where we must use this last remaining and legitimate resource? Shouldn’t Washington be held accountable? Will you answer the call to take action, sign the COS petition, and offer your time as a volunteer? COS offers a solution as big as the problem. Visit ConventionOfStates.com to join the fight.”