Constitutional Traitors: Are You One?

In recent days the idea of using the Article V convention option in the Constitution received support in an article by Texas US Senator John Cornyn published on the Fox News website.  He noted “Recent polling suggests that a plurality of Americans support a convention to propose a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution if Congress will not do so.”  He made a good case for using the convention option by saying it “would be part of a national conversation that could last well beyond one or two election cycles. The very length of the convention and ratification process would allow the American people ample opportunity to judge proposed reforms, and ensure that they would strengthen the checks and balances that have served our nation well.”

A few days later, on the pages of the Wall Street Journal a strong case was made for a “repeal amendment” that would give state legislatures the power to veto federal laws, something worth proposing.  Though the oped by a professor and the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates did not say so, obviously Congress would never propose such an amendment.  That means using an Article V convention whereby state delegates could propose new amendments just as Congress has done, which the Speaker has acknowledged elsewhere.

At the same time a policy report from the Goldwater Institute recommended that “states seriously consider” using the convention option “to restrain the federal government.”

So the issue of using this convention option that Congress has refused to convene despite hundreds of state applications and that establishment powers on the political left and right have long opposed merits serious examination.  Start with this: Americans overwhelmingly say they love and respect the Constitution and usually specific amendments, though often different ones on the political left and right.  Three frameworks help understanding why most Americans oppose using the Article V convention option.  Two explain why convention proponents have not been able to impact most opponents that fit these two frameworks.  I offer a third framework or plan of attack which I believe will work.

First, consider the craziness framework.  Many Americans have been taught to fear using the convention option, even though it has never been used.  They are irrational.  This is like being afraid to eat the fruit of the constitutional tree first planted by the Founders even though no one has ever tasted or been harmed by the fruit.  Such people stubbornly think they are acting rationally; I think they are crazy and irrational.  This delusional thinking based on what is imagined to might happen is not easily changed, because such people have been purposefully and successfully brainwashed.  They have an emotional block. 

Rather than fear a runaway convention, people should fear our runaway politicians and government.  As quoted in the Goldwater Institute paper Ann Stuart Diamond pointed out that the interpretation that an Article V convention would or could rewrite the whole Constitution “is often a rhetorical ploy to terrify sensible people.”  The convention can only offer specific amendments.  It is time for Americans to recognize their fear of a convention as having no basis in fact.  And that those promoting fear themselves fear the reforms in government that a convention could propose.

Second, consider the analytic framework.  Many Americans use what they think are rational, substantive arguments.  Convention proponents use facts based on the exact language in Article V or other historical facts to objectively contradict wrong-headed thinking.  But correcting the record has not worked sufficiently, largely because opponents invent their own facts, ignore correct ones, and consume disinformation disseminated by convention opponents.  They have an intellectual block.  Cognitive dissonance works to prevent the pain of accepting new information incompatible with their negative views about a convention.

We should not invite, respect or participate in arguments by opponents that fit these two frameworks.  We should, in particular, recognize and condemn morally offensive fear mongering used intentionally by convention opponents.  Convention opponents seeking protection of their ability to influence the political system and selling fear and disinformation must face their constitutional guilt.

Converting convention opponents to proponents requires a paradigm change, which is very difficult.  However, the current justified high level of dissatisfaction with government, politicians and both major political parties and the strong desire for reform of government justify use of a new approach.

The patriotic framework better gets to the root of the problem from a rule of law perspective.  Rather than condemn convention opponents as irrational or ignorant, we condemn unpatriotic constitutional hypocrites.  When they openly oppose the convention option they are constitutional traitors.

With the patriotic framework we take advantage of frequent strong public support for constitutional amendments not proposed by Congress, including these: In 1996, 74 percent of Americans favored a constitutional amendment to limit the number of terms that members of Congress and the US Senate could serve.  In 2005, 76 percent favored an amendment to allow voluntary prayer in public schools, and in 1983 81 percent favored it.  In both 2000 and 2004 61 percent favored amending the Constitution so that the presidential candidate receiving the most popular votes would win, replacing the Electoral College.  In 1995, a balanced budget amendment passed the House but failed to meet the two-thirds requirement in the Senate by a single vote; this year there is a strong national movement to get it and a number of other amendments that would surely earn broad public support. 

The basis for the new framework is this: Virtually everyone professes respect and admiration for the US Constitution and knows that it includes a process for amending it.  But if someone opposes using the Article V convention option, then he or she is an unpatriotic constitutional hypocrite.  When they openly oppose a convention they are a constitutional traitor replacing the Founders thinking with theirs, putting themselves above the law.

Moreover, it is impermissible to pick and choose what parts of the Constitution are supported and obeyed.  Similarly, elected public officials who swear obedience to the Constitution cannot pick and choose which parts to obey.  Such behavior makes a mockery of the supreme law of the land, the rule of law, and our constitutional republic.  Silence by public officials on the issue is cowardly opposition to using the convention option.

No one can accurately forecast exactly what a convention would propose, but we do know that continuation of the status quo will not eliminate the corruption and dysfunction sustained by the two-party plutocracy.  The two major parties are rejected by 58 percent of the public for not effectively representing them, but a convention is far more attractive than forming a competitive third party.  Many reforms can only be achieved through constitutional amendments that Congress will never propose; this is inarguable.  Voting in elections to get reforms is passé.  A hard truth to take, but one that an increasing number of Americans have begun to accept.

Americans deserve the constitutional opportunity that Congress has deprived them of.

Americans must be taught this: Just by being in the Constitution the convention option demands public support.  Citizens are obliged to support it.  People cannot be allowed to have it both ways and be two-faced and hypocritical.  Embrace the convention option or be openly and aggressively condemned for unpatriotic hypocrisy and behavior that undermines the sanctity of the Constitution and the rule of law, both crucial for maintaining the integrity of our republic.

When it comes to reform and making government work for we the people, the greatest risk for the nation is not using the convention option.

What political powers on the left and right fear and oppose we the people must demand.  They are guilty constitutional traitors.  We must be courageous patriots.  There is no room for compromise with convention opponents.  We must shame and embarrass them; they are lousy citizens.  The time to argue about specific amendments is when the convention is in session and delegates must contend with public sentiments and later when proposed amendments are considered for ratification by states.

We cannot know with certainty whether holding a convention would revitalize the nation.  But refusing to use the convention option as a constitutional path to reform disrespects and undermines our constitutional republic.  The sorry state of the nation demands that we do more than just talk about it.  This year every candidate for the House and Senate should be compelled to publicly support using the convention option.  Lack of support for it should be grounds for defeating them.

[A shorter version of this article was presented at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School Article V symposium in Lansing, Michigan on September 16, 2010; contact Joel S. Hirschhorn, a co-founder of Friends of the Article V Convention, through delusionaldemocracy.com.]

 

 

The Non-Ground Zero Non-Mosque Mosqueteers

OK people, let’s calm down! Let’s just stop all this mosqlitizing and use a little common sense for a moment, shall we? Don’t make me turn this country around.

At its heart, the Non-Ground Zero Non-Mosque Mosque™  is a simple zoning application gone awry. If the gutted shell of that ex-Burlington Coat Factory sat almost anywhere else on Earth, the NYC Planning Department would be looking at how much traffic the place would generate and how many toilets to require per person. Instead, it’s caught between creating an international incident and/or sparking Civil War II.

What ever happened to the idea that governmental decision-making should be forced down to the local level? I mean come on Tea Baggers, it doesn’t get any more local than a planning department.

There are literally dozens of places this kerfuffle could’ve been avoided, but as usual, many people were busy helping demagogues turn themselves into demigods instead of simply minding their own business.

Encouraging the Bullies
It didn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that building anything remotely connected to Islam was going to be an uphill battle in today’s America. Of course, the Muslims could’ve simply opted to put their center somewhere else, but they’re under no obligation to voluntarily abandon their Constitutional rights. Although they shouldn’t be surprised at the blowback either. And quite frankly, giving in once they started down this road would’ve been a mistake anyway. There is no better way to encourage bullies than to back down from them when threatened.

As for the anti Mosqueteers, they seem to have bought into this newfangled delusion that the Constitution is up for a vote whenever you don’t like something.  To hear them tell it, if Muslims want to erect a religious venue the Constitution cannot be allowed to stand. However, if the Baptists want to nail the 10 Commandments to every flat surface in the Republic, it’s a Constitutional right. I’m not sure if this is a terminal case of disengenuosity or a complete inability to recognize irony when it bites them on the ass.

Ground Zero used to be two gleaming towers of steel. A brace of buck-ass krazy kamikazes turned it into a smoking hole in the ground. Many people (not Christians or Muslims or Jews or Atheists, or Druids… just plain folks) died. It was a horrific thing, especially if you had friends or family there or were just coming out or the subway as the towers fell.

When Lunatics Run Amok
But as bad as it was, bad things happen when lunatics run amok. As much as Commander Mission Accomplished would’ve like you to believe there is a “war” we can “win”, it just ain’t so. The best we can do it mitigate the problem by taking reasonable counter measures – duct tape, roll-plastic, and MRIs for airline passengers need not apply.

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Americans were pissed. They looked upon the wreckage-choked harbor as a hallowed place where the nation could focus in an attempt to never let such a tragedy happen again. Today, tourists from across the globe, including a hefty number of Japanese, come to visit the place with cameras in tow and leis on display. The place is no less hallowed because of the gauche tourists and would be no less hallowed if a Shinto shrine went up.

In essence, both places are geographic spots on a map. Soil is soil. They are special because we made them special. They are hallowed because we all agreed they are hallowed. The point is that when someone from the opposite of the policitical or religious spectrum agrees with you, shut up and stop arguing with them. You’re on the same side.

If not, we’re no better than those krazy kamikazis. If there is a war to be won or lost, it will be decided over the idea that crazies can knock down some expensive real estate and we will willingly make ourselves more like them.

After all, that was exactly their intent.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

Voting Out the Constitution

People usually remember the 1960s as a time of great strife over civil rights. If you were alive back in the day, the images of police dogs ripping into lines of civil rights marchers or white-sheeted thugs dancing around a burning cross is still a chilling thing and proof that America was indeed going through wrenching social change.

Many would also like to believe that the country has made great strides in the interim, and we have. But, there’s more to accomplish and the nation now finds itself spending much of its energy on fighting to simply hold onto the advances already made. Civil rights advancement is now threatened by organizations and morally dishonest politicians bent on carrying us back to 1864.

Yesterday’s decision to strike down California’s Prop 8 anti-gay marriage law was sound. The judge did an impressive job of listing all the factual and legal reasons – 80 in all – showing that the law is unconstitutional. A improvement to celebrate, but also an event that highlights anti-civil rights crudaders’ thinking.

Tim Wildmon of the sarcastically named American Family Association reacted with shocking vitriol, calling the court’s decision, “a tyrannical, abusive and utterly unconstitutional display of judicial arrogance.”

Wildmon Is Has a Queer Notion
Wildmon believes one of the principles at stake is ignoring the California voters, which he sees as unconstitutional. In doing so, Wildmon – who uses the 10th Amendment as a fig leaf himself – introduces the queer notion that the Constitution is up for a vote whenever you don’t like what it says.

Similar to the rabble rousing for amending the 14th Amendment in the immigration battle, what Wildmon is proposing is that the Constitution – designed to be difficult to amend – should change to bend to the will of the latest ideological blowhard to come on the scene.

Mr. Wildmon, I ask you…if Californians voted to outlaw heterosexual marriage would you express the same fondness to the validity of their vote?

Wildmon also believes the “tyrannical and abusive”, Bush-the-Elder-appointed, judge should have recused himself from the case.

“It’s also extremely problematic that Judge Walker is a practicing homosexual himself, ” Wildmon said. “He should have recused himself from this case, because his judgment is clearly compromised by his own sexual proclivity.”

What I find “problematic” about Wildmon’s charge is that he is exhibiting his  own “proclivity” to act as a heterosexual, homophobic, quasi-religious leader. In other words – or more correctly Wildmon’s – “[Wildmon] should have recused himself from this case, because his judgment is clearly compromised by his own sexual [and religious] proclivity.”

I suspect the only judge Wildmon would find acceptable is an ordained Christian minister with a demonstrated track record of ignoring the Constitution in favor of a Christian Sharia-like theocracy – or a teabagger – whichever pinhead stepped forward first.

Americans are becoming increasingly unfamiliar with the basic tennents of the Constitution.They apparently believe that any hot head’s cause can simply be enacted by a simple vote. The Constitution is not the “McConstitution”. You can’t vote cheeseburgers off the menu because you don’t like them.

They believe that if there is a “war” on, the President, under no one’s authority other than his own, is permitted to suspend the Constitution’s guarantees against warrantless search or to hold prisoners indefinitely without charge.

Many Americans believe that the Constitution guarantees them freedom of religion, but also support depriving anyone other than Christians (they’re aren’t too hot on the Catholics either) of their similar freedom. Don’t like mosques too close to your shrine? Protest and file suit as Pat Robertson’s minions have done, but don’t be honest enough to mention that if it had been a Christian church you would’ve been praising the idea like it came from, well, God.

From Constitutional Ignorance, Instability Flows
From Constitutional ignorance, great instability flows. Unfortunately, those with such beliefs fail to see the unintended blow back from their muddled position.

Teabaggers and their similar-thinking ilk, like to wear tri-cornered hats and screech about keeping Big Gummint off their backs. If allowing someone to marry the person of their choosing is too much government involvement, then why isn’t government being on a gay person’s back equally bad?

Bush the Lesser did much to chip away at many civil rights during his reign and in areas like the conduct of our misbegotten wars and gay rights,  The Messiah™ continues walking the same swampy path.

One day, the blow back from their actions will come to haunt them and the people who cheered them. One day an administration will take office that isn’t so tolerant of their cavalier positions and decides to warrantlessly tap their phones, close their churches, or collect deep background on twerps like Wildmon.

And when they do, they’ll claim the same Constitutional protections because they changed the Constitution to allow it.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

Voting Out the Constitution

People usually remember the 1960s as a time of great strife over civil rights. If you were alive back in the day, the images of police dogs ripping into lines of civil rights marchers or white-sheeted thugs dancing around a burning cross is still a chilling thing and proof that America was indeed going through wrenching social change.

Many would also like to believe that the country has made great strides in the interim, and we have. But, there’s more to accomplish and the nation now finds itself spending much of its energy on fighting to simply hold onto the advances already made. Civil rights advancement is now threatened by organizations and morally dishonest politicians bent on carrying us back to 1864.

Yesterday’s decision to strike down California’s Prop 8 anti-gay marriage law was sound. The judge did an impressive job of listing all the factual and legal reasons – 80 in all – showing that the law is unconstitutional. A improvement to celebrate, but also an event that highlights anti-civil rights crudaders’ thinking.

Tim Wildmon of the sarcastically named American Family Association reacted with shocking vitriol, calling the court’s decision, “a tyrannical, abusive and utterly unconstitutional display of judicial arrogance.”

Wildmon Is Has a Queer Notion
Wildmon believes one of the principles at stake is ignoring the California voters, which he sees as unconstitutional. In doing so, Wildmon – who uses the 10th Amendment as a fig leaf himself – introduces the queer notion that the Constitution is up for a vote whenever you don’t like what it says.

Similar to the rabble rousing for amending the 14th Amendment in the immigration battle, what Wildmon is proposing is that the Constitution – designed to be difficult to amend – should change to bend to the will of the latest ideological blowhard to come on the scene.

Mr. Wildmon, I ask you…if Californians voted to outlaw heterosexual marriage would you express the same fondness to the validity of their vote?

Wildmon also believes the “tyrannical and abusive”, Bush-the-Elder-appointed, judge should have recused himself from the case.

“It’s also extremely problematic that Judge Walker is a practicing homosexual himself, ” Wildmon said. “He should have recused himself from this case, because his judgment is clearly compromised by his own sexual proclivity.”

What I find “problematic” about Wildmon’s charge is that he is exhibiting his  own “proclivity” to act as a heterosexual, homophobic, quasi-religious leader. In other words – or more correctly Wildmon’s – “[Wildmon] should have recused himself from this case, because his judgment is clearly compromised by his own sexual [and religious] proclivity.”

I suspect the only judge Wildmon would find acceptable is an ordained Christian minister with a demonstrated track record of ignoring the Constitution in favor of a Christian Sharia-like theocracy – or a teabagger – whichever pinhead stepped forward first.

Americans are becoming increasingly unfamiliar with the basic tennents of the Constitution.They apparently believe that any hot head’s cause can simply be enacted by a simple vote. The Constitution is not the “McConstitution”. You can’t vote cheeseburgers off the menu because you don’t like them.

They believe that if there is a “war” on, the President, under no one’s authority other than his own, is permitted to suspend the Constitution’s guarantees against warrantless search or to hold prisoners indefinitely without charge.

Many Americans believe that the Constitution guarantees them freedom of religion, but also support depriving anyone other than Christians (they’re aren’t too hot on the Catholics either) of their similar freedom. Don’t like mosques too close to your shrine? Protest and file suit as Pat Robertson’s minions have done, but don’t be honest enough to mention that if it had been a Christian church you would’ve been praising the idea like it came from, well, God.

From Constitutional Ignorance, Instability Flows
From Constitutional ignorance, great instability flows. Unfortunately, those with such beliefs fail to see the unintended blow back from their muddled position.

Teabaggers and their similar-thinking ilk, like to wear tri-cornered hats and screech about keeping Big Gummint off their backs. If allowing someone to marry the person of their choosing is too much government involvement, then why isn’t government being on a gay person’s back equally bad?

Bush the Lesser did much to chip away at many civil rights during his reign and in areas like the conduct of our misbegotten wars and gay rights,  The Messiah™ continues walking the same swampy path.

One day, the blow back from their actions will come to haunt them and the people who cheered them. One day an administration will take office that isn’t so tolerant of their cavalier positions and decides to warrantlessly tap their phones, close their churches, or collect deep background on twerps like Wildmon.

And when they do, they’ll claim the same Constitutional protections because they changed the Constitution to allow it.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

Voting Out the Constitution

People usually remember the 1960s as a time of great strife over civil rights. If you were alive back in the day, the images of police dogs ripping into lines of civil rights marchers or white-sheeted thugs dancing around a burning cross is still a chilling thing and proof that America was indeed going through wrenching social change.

Many would also like to believe that the country has made great strides in the interim, and we have. But, there’s more to accomplish and the nation now finds itself spending much of its energy on fighting to simply hold onto the advances already made. Civil rights advancement is now threatened by organizations and morally dishonest politicians bent on carrying us back to 1864.

Yesterday’s decision to strike down California’s Prop 8 anti-gay marriage law was sound. The judge did an impressive job of listing all the factual and legal reasons – 80 in all – showing that the law is unconstitutional. A improvement to celebrate, but also an event that highlights anti-civil rights crudaders’ thinking.

Tim Wildmon of the sarcastically named American Family Association reacted with shocking vitriol, calling the court’s decision, “a tyrannical, abusive and utterly unconstitutional display of judicial arrogance.”

Wildmon Is Has a Queer Notion
Wildmon believes one of the principles at stake is ignoring the California voters, which he sees as unconstitutional. In doing so, Wildmon – who uses the 10th Amendment as a fig leaf himself – introduces the queer notion that the Constitution is up for a vote whenever you don’t like what it says.

Similar to the rabble rousing for amending the 14th Amendment in the immigration battle, what Wildmon is proposing is that the Constitution – designed to be difficult to amend – should change to bend to the will of the latest ideological blowhard to come on the scene.

Mr. Wildmon, I ask you…if Californians voted to outlaw heterosexual marriage would you express the same fondness to the validity of their vote?

Wildmon also believes the “tyrannical and abusive”, Bush-the-Elder-appointed, judge should have recused himself from the case.

“It’s also extremely problematic that Judge Walker is a practicing homosexual himself, ” Wildmon said. “He should have recused himself from this case, because his judgment is clearly compromised by his own sexual proclivity.”

What I find “problematic” about Wildmon’s charge is that he is exhibiting his  own “proclivity” to act as a heterosexual, homophobic, quasi-religious leader. In other words – or more correctly Wildmon’s – “[Wildmon] should have recused himself from this case, because his judgment is clearly compromised by his own sexual [and religious] proclivity.”

I suspect the only judge Wildmon would find acceptable is an ordained Christian minister with a demonstrated track record of ignoring the Constitution in favor of a Christian Sharia-like theocracy – or a teabagger – whichever pinhead stepped forward first.

Americans are becoming increasingly unfamiliar with the basic tennents of the Constitution.They apparently believe that any hot head’s cause can simply be enacted by a simple vote. The Constitution is not the “McConstitution”. You can’t vote cheeseburgers off the menu because you don’t like them.

They believe that if there is a “war” on, the President, under no one’s authority other than his own, is permitted to suspend the Constitution’s guarantees against warrantless search or to hold prisoners indefinitely without charge.

Many Americans believe that the Constitution guarantees them freedom of religion, but also support depriving anyone other than Christians (they’re aren’t too hot on the Catholics either) of their similar freedom. Don’t like mosques too close to your shrine? Protest and file suit as Pat Robertson’s minions have done, but don’t be honest enough to mention that if it had been a Christian church you would’ve been praising the idea like it came from, well, God.

From Constitutional Ignorance, Instability Flows
From Constitutional ignorance, great instability flows. Unfortunately, those with such beliefs fail to see the unintended blow back from their muddled position.

Teabaggers and their similar-thinking ilk, like to wear tri-cornered hats and screech about keeping Big Gummint off their backs. If allowing someone to marry the person of their choosing is too much government involvement, then why isn’t government being on a gay person’s back equally bad?

Bush the Lesser did much to chip away at many civil rights during his reign and in areas like the conduct of our misbegotten wars and gay rights,  The Messiah™ continues walking the same swampy path.

One day, the blow back from their actions will come to haunt them and the people who cheered them. One day an administration will take office that isn’t so tolerant of their cavalier positions and decides to warrantlessly tap their phones, close their churches, or collect deep background on twerps like Wildmon.

And when they do, they’ll claim the same Constitutional protections because they changed the Constitution to allow it.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

Diaries

Advertise Blogads