Thank you for returning to Common Sense Civics and Citizenship. This week’s newsletter we examines a few important constitutional issues before us. Sometimes, I think we fail to address these issues because very few people talk about current events from an American view of law and government; that is, they think politically, not constitutionally. So, please join me as we look at some civics lessons derived from the headlines. Our first article is about a petition circulating (two homeschool families presented this subject to me) to call an Article V Convention of States. Let’s begin…
Americans are concerned about our national debt ceiling being raised yet again. When the USA spends more than it takes in, it doesn’t have the money to pay its bills without taking extraordinary measures. If Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling, it affects our risk rating (we become a high risk). It also affects the interest rate we pay on our debt.
Americans are concerned about the number of people who collect a check while not holding jobs when jobs are available.
One glance at the US Debt Clock (link at the end of the article) tells a compelling story. Understandably, concerned citizens want to do something about it. A petition is circulating in the United States to call for an Article V Convention of States to amend the Constitution to address financial concerns. Let’s take a look…
Article V deals with the amendment process. Either two-thirds of both houses of Congress can propose an amendment OR two-thirds of the state legislators (34 states) can call a Constitutional Convention.
As an instructor, I teach that a new Convention of States could end up with unintended consequences, like:
- The first (and only) convention of states was called for the purpose of amending the Articles of Confederation. When the convention was finished, they came out with a whole new Constitution! Granted, it’s the best Constitution ever, but who can guarantee what would come out of the next Convention of States?
- In today’s post-Constitutional climate, would our first amendment rights be altered in any way? What about our second amendment right to bear arms, which protects our first amendment rights?
- What other revisions or amendments could this convention bring about in States’ rights? Property rights?
Proponents of an Article V convention call our attention to liberties being taken away at will. Just this past week, a prominent news organization was covering an important national story when the DHS restricted air space so no drones with cameras could fly and record daily events. What about the First Amendment right saying Congress cannot abridge the freedom of the press? Congress actually didn’t. Unelected members of the Executive Branch gave the order. You can see how there are two sides to the Article V Convention of States argument.
Another happening this week is that the Executive Department is asking to monitor monies going in and out of the bank accounts of the wealthy. Sounds good to some, but doesn’t this violate personal property rights? If their private property rights can be violated, so can yours.
Now, think about what rights you could lose in a brand new Constitutional Convention. What unforeseen alterations could be made to the Supreme Law of the Land you have to live under? No one can know what will go on in that room. One thing we can count on: America is divided these days into those who cherish our founding documents and those who would like us to become an entirely new country in the image of twentieth-century communism. A brief study of our founding documents themselves shows the genius of these documents and an exceptional understanding of human nature.
I do not recommend that you sign a petition without careful study of the pros and cons of an Article V Convention of States at this time in history. Instead, I propose that we:
- vote for candidates who have studied the actual US Constitution
- petition Congress to enforce the laws we already have
- become civic-minded people with an understanding that who we elect is how we are governed.
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.🇺🇸
Here is the link: https://www.usdebtclock.org