Bring On the Elephants
Mark Levin has made the case for a constitutional convention called by the states in order to consider certain very carefully drawn amendments -- The Liberty Amendments. Every one of my stars aligns but one -- that is the "ministerial" role of the existing Congress.
I trust Congress about as far as I can throw the building I'm sitting in and fervently hope such a convention would actually sit in in Prairie Rapids, maybe in Honolulu, maybe in Austin -- anywhere but inside the Beltway.
Otherwise -- sign me up Mark, I'm in.
Because like any number of other emotionally exhausted conservatives, I am past tired of trying to convince the federal government to reform itself. Burned out trying to get them to stop debasing the Constitution, rewarding itself and its friends out of our pockets, crushing individual initiative and industry and lowering our children and grandchildren's standard of living. And I'm really, really sick of the unconscionable and unconstitutional power being exercised by Supreme Court.
But now I don't have to talk to them any longer. All I and everybody else has to do is petition our state representatives, and the president, Congress, the Supreme Court, the army of bureaucrats and their of regulations, their fines, sanctions and consent orders, drones, NSA, FBI and their cronies, can't do anything to stop us.
Unless, that is, they want to drop all pretense of this being a constitutional republic and start locking us up in re-education camps. But it's doubtful they have the cojones for anything like that. Once the handwriting is on the wall, it's likely they'll do little more than try to lock their pensions in and run for home before the roof falls down on top of their heads.
Because that's the sort they are.
But perhaps what's even more exciting about Mark Levin's program is that given events on the ground, something much like it suddenly seems possible. Not probable, not likely, not yet, not by a long shot -- but possible.
The Republicans now control a majority of state chambers and the majority of governorships. All by itself, this means little because the Republican Party establishment's umbilical cord is knotted together with the Democrat's. Yet they were voted into office because they seemed more conservative than the alternative, know it, and are so craven that they and many, many Democratic state office holders can be stampeded.
Especially since there's the electorate and then there's what may be the electorate. Read Andrew C. McCarthy writing in National Review on November 10, 2012:
...But the story [of the election] is not about who voted; it is about who didn't vote. In truth, millions of Americans have decided that Republicans are not a viable alternative because they are already too much like Democrats. They are Washington. With no hope that a Romney administration or more Republicans in Congress would change this sad state of affairs, these voters shrugged their shoulders and became non-voters.
"This is the most important election of our lifetime." That was the ubiquitous rally cry of Republican leaders. The country yawned. About 11 million fewer Americans voted for the two major-party candidates in 2012 -- 119 million, down from 130 million in 2008. In fact, even though our population has steadily increased in the last eight years (adding 16 million to the 2004 estimate of 293 million Americans), about 2 million fewer Americans pulled the lever for Obama and Romney than for George W. Bush and John Kerry.
So if the imagination of those missing millions of conservatives staying home in droves can be enlivened by Levin's proposal, who knows what eye of what needle can be threaded out in Bismarck, even in Albany?
And let's not forget that there are some very powerful ghosts weighing in behind constitutional lawyer Levin. Indeed, in listening to Levin explain his thinking one can't help but hear their words instead -- "we knew" they seem to be saying "the federal government could expand into a monster which could devour the republic and so we left you people and you the states a device which will if you have the courage, will reduce the government back to the level we at which we first assembled it -- now use it."
When you think the issue through you realize that lifelong assumptions about federal power are and have been wrong. When the Supreme Court pronounces on the issue, it isn't at all the end of discussion. When Congress passes a law and the president signs it doesn't means the law will stand. The idea that we even have a congress and a president doesn't have to stand. Because there is a greater power in repose all these two hundred and more years gone by, a convention of the states. And the fact that it's been sleeping means nothing except that if you object to dealing with it, are indignant about dealing with it, are afraid of dealing with it, you shouldn't have woken it up by allowing the nation to descend into such a state. Indeed as Jubal Harshaw of Stranger in a Strange Land might say:
"If you're going to turn our country into a circus, than you shouldn't complain about elephants."
So bring on the elephants.
Such a convention would be much like putting a loaded pistol in the hands a severely abused wife. She no longer has to supplicate herself, plea not to be hit, worry about the children. Instead she can now back him out the house and put her life in order.
And won't Washington howl about being backed up. Bluster, declare the convention unconstitutional, try to bribe and suborn delegates over and over again but the people they'll be up against this time are different than the standard inside the Beltway creature they're used to dealing with. If they're state legislators, they're often part-time, which means they operate in the real world not the phony, bloated construct which is Washington D.C. But no matter who they are, they are not representing a district looking for bacon to be brought home or maneuvering for a large salary and perks. There just there unpaid and anxious to get home after doing the right thing for the nation.
What a concept!
And there is precedent because delegates to such a convention would be stepping in the footsteps of the barons of the thirteenth century when they confronted King John at Runnymede and forced him to reform governance. To sign what came to be called the Magna Charta.
And we can take the spirit of Kipling's words about that day, in that world, to heart today in ours:
When through our ranks the Barons came,
With little thought of praise or blame,
But resolute to play the game,
They lumbered up to Runnymede;
And there they launched in solid line
The first attack on Right Divine,
The curt uncompromising "Sign!'
They settled John at Runnymede.
Richard F. Miniter is the author of The Things I Want Most. He blogs at richardfminiterblog.com.