All of us came here because we knew the country couldn’t go on the way it was going. So it falls to all of us to take action. We have to ask ourselves if we do nothing, where does all of this end. Can anyone here say that if we can’t do it, someone down the road can do it, and if no one does it, what happens to the country? …[A]sk yourselves if not us, who, if not now, when?
–President Ronald Reagan, 1981
Since President Reagan spoke those words over three decades ago, Americans have watched their liberties become eclipsed by the ever-growing reach of a federal government that has escaped its constitutional bounds. We have watched as a fiscally irresponsible Washington, D.C. pushes our nation ever closer to the brink of economic disaster.
But as we near the height of presidential election season, most voters I know are feeling some combination of disappointment, frustration, and shock. And just beneath those emotions, I sense something much sadder: a grim resignation to any political fate, harnessed to the realization that with political gridlock and gamesmanship reigning in Washington, D.C., no candidate nor party could possibly salvage the kind of robust liberty and economic vitality America once knew.
Today more than ever, the Founding Fathers’ sage recognition that “men are no angels” counsels the people to take refuge in the processes those wise statesmen of old designed for the protection and preservation of our liberty and self-governance.
What is desperately, urgently needed to bring about real reform is not a simple change in personnel, but rather a structural repair. A revitalization—in modern, unequivocal language—of the limitations on federal power, and a rejection of the myriad Supreme Court decisions that have expanded that power by misinterpreting constitutional text.
Without these foundational repairs, America’s next president (regardless of party) can continue to bully state and local governments through illegitimate executive orders. Congress can continue to control state policy decisions by holding our tax dollars hostage until the states comply. And our next President will choose the one individual who will effectively determine whether our right to bear arms will continue to have any practical meaning.
We must prepare for the very real possibilities that confront us. And many are preparing.
All across the nation, state legislators are awakening to the realization that they—no, that a process they control—is the people’s last line of defense against an overbearing federal government.
As the abuse of power in Washington, D.C. becomes ever more brazen, citizens in every state of the Union are organizing to insist that their state representatives use the authority vested in them under Article Five of the Constitution to restore our Republic and put the feds back in their limited place by proposing constitutional amendments.
It falls to us, as keepers of the Founders’ vision of a lasting Republic built upon the fundamental principles of liberty and self-governance, to prepare for the use of this Article Five process that is now indispensable to the restoration of health to our body politic.
While the convention of states process was well-known and familiar to the Founding Generation, it is unfamiliar to modern Americans because we have neglected to use it.
That’s why Citizens for Self-Governance is organizing the first-ever gathering of state legislators from across the nation to participate in a simulated Article Five convention to propose constitutional amendments. At this unprecedented event on September 22 and 23r, these state delegations will perform a test run of an Article Five convention called to consider amendment proposals that “impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and set term limits for its officials and for Members of Congress.”
They will convene in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, where such patriots as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and George Mason once nurtured the concepts of self-governance and individual liberty that are the hallmark of “the American experiment.”
They will use the very rules and protocols used by those great patriots, in the form of historically-based draft convention rules crafted by the world’s leading Article Five scholars, Robert Natelson and Michael Farris.
These state delegations, at this Simulated Article Five Convention, will show the world that the process designed by the Founders is in proper working order and is ready to be deployed as the ultimate “check” on the power of Washington, D.C.
Because, after all…If not us, who, if not now, when?
To learn more about the Simulated Article Five Convention, visit our dedicated Simulation web page, or register for a live webinar with Convention of States Project Co-Founders Mark Meckler and Michael Farris.