This article was originally published on the Missouri Scorecard.
As a mother, I have tried to teach my children from an early age that wrongdoing always has consequences, even if we can’t predict those consequences at the time.
Right now, Missourians—and all Americans—are witnessing the tragic consequences of having allowed our federal government to violate the Constitution’s boundaries on its power and jurisdiction.
We are right to be outraged by the continued flow of enormous sums of our tax dollars to an organization that happily harvests human baby parts in the course of its gruesome daily business. We are right to be outraged that bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., have effectively declared war on coal—the source of 80% of Missouri’s electric energy.
But the truth is, these are but two of the most recent consequences of federal power grabs that we, the people, have failed to correct. Many Americans have cheered at the prospect of expanded government “services” over the past several decades, never stopping to consider whether the Constitution provides any authority for the new federal undertakings.
As Mark Levin points out in Liberty and Tyranny, “[T]he federal government is the nation’s largest creditor, debtor, lender, employer, consumer, contractor, grantor, property owner, tenant, insurer, health care provider and pension guarantor.”
In short, our massive federal government now operates far beyond the bounds of its specific, enumerated powers. In allowing it to do so, we have enabled it to swallow up our right of self-governance—and now we cringe in horror at the consequences.
The feds take our money, and they decide which educational standards and assessments to push on our state and local officials.
They take our money, and they decide what kind of health care we will have to purchase for ourselves.
They take our money, and they enact onerous administrative regulations that crush businesses, end jobs, drive up prices and eliminate the competitive edge for American manufacturers.
They take our money, and they decide it is well-spent on organizations that dismember babies.
The trouble is—we are the ones who should decide.
For too long, we have failed to use the one constitutional means we have of reasserting our authority over issues that our rightfully ours—Article V’s Convention of States process.
Article V provides a process that allows the states, collectively, to put all three branches of the federal government back in their rightful place and to reject Supreme Court “interpretations” of our Constitution that pervert its original meaning and defy the will of the people.
Here’s how it works: once 34 state legislatures (two-thirds of the states) pass applications for an Article V convention on a specified topic, the states send delegations to meet in convention and propose specific constitutional amendments to further their stated goal. Amendment proposals that are supported by the majority of states at the convention are then sent to the states for ratification. Three-fourths of the states (38 states) must ratify any proposals made at the convention in order for them to take effect.
Citizens for Self-Governance is working to trigger an Article V Convention limited to proposing amendments that “impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress.” Four states have already passed the application, and a record 36 state legislatures began considering it in 2015.
Missouri was one of those states that made significant progress this year toward passing the application. In fact, the Missouri Senate overwhelmingly passed the application with a vote of 26-5. However, Missouri’s House of Representatives failed to bring the measure up for a vote before the session expired.
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In addition to teaching my kids that wrongdoing has consequences, I also teach them that failure to do good when they have the opportunity of doing it is its own kind of wrongdoing.
The wise men who drafted our Constitution with the aid of Providence provided us with a recourse for such a time as this. That recourse is the Article V Convention of States process. As we witness the increasingly alarming consequences of a federal government gone rogue, it is our duty to use this constitutional means of reclaiming our self-governance.
It’s time for us to decide again.