The following was written by Patrick Murray, a Convention of States supporter and retired U.S. Army Colonel.
“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”
Every member of the Armed Forces takes an oath that includes those words. Members of Congress take a similar oath, and the President swears to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.
That exceptional document established a limited government alongside substantial individual liberty for the citizenry. So, for elected officials, be they in Congress or the White House, their oaths require staying true to that unprecedented experiment our Founders established. That powerful combination of limited government and individual liberty against a backdrop of free markets unleashed the greatest expansion of wealth, opportunity and knowledge in history. Nothing else comes close.
How’s that working out for us?
Our federal government has become a massive parasite with a crushing $18+ trillion of debt that increases every second. The federal registry, the repository of regulations, exceeds eighty thousand pages, with countless new market and liberty-crushing edicts being added every month. Career politicians have recklessly overpromised government largesse to the tune of well over $100 trillion. There isn’t enough money in the world to cover that. It doesn’t take a fortuneteller to know that this isn’t going to end well.
I used to think that it was just the Democratic Party to blame for this damage, that if we could only elect more Republicans we could turn things around and take back our country. That’s why after twenty-five years in the Army I decided to retire and run for Congress. It afforded me a “look behind the curtain,” and the more I looked, the less I liked what I saw. The inconvenient truth is that the government and career politicians of both parties are destroying this nation. The American Dream is officially on life support, and Washington is reaching for the plug. Another unavoidable fact is that governments and career politicians never voluntarily give up the wealth and power they have amassed.
So what do we do about it?
In the Army we were taught that when faced with an untenable situation, good leaders find a way to change the conditions on the battlefield. And that is exactly what we have to do; we must change the conditions on the political battlefield. If we, the people, are going to take back our country, we must seize the initiative, and a Convention of States can do precisely that.
I'm my book Government is the Problem, I argue for a Convention of States for the purpose of enacting Congressional term limits and a Balanced Budget Amendment. This one-two punch will go a long way toward restoring our Republic. But first, we have to convene a Convention of States, and the best vehicle to get us there is this organization, aptly called the Convention of States Project.
It isn’t going to be easy, and it will take some time. That’s understandable; we didn’t get ourselves into this mess overnight, and there are powerful interests of all political stripes with much to lose that will fight this tooth and nail. But make no mistake—this is not only doable, it is going to happen.
America’s Founding Fathers were all-too familiar with dealing with an overbearing government. Drafting the Constitution over two centuries ago, they clearly foresaw our predicament and gave us a way out. One man in particular, Virginian George Mason, was adamant that Article V include an option to amend the Constitution apart from Congress and the federal government. Mason argued that unless there was an alternative separate from the federal government, “no amendments of the proper kind would ever be obtained by the people, if the Government should become oppressive.” By the way, George Mason was also a Colonel in the Army. So we owe him a salute in more ways than one.
In closing let’s recall the means by which we became a nation. The American experiment came out of great ideas conceived by brilliant minds. But without brave, selfless soldiers, those ideas would have remained just that – ideas. America was forged on the battlefield where we seized our independence by defeating an oppressive foe. From then until now, soldiers have been the ones who secured our liberty and have maintained it since. That's why as a veteran I strongly support the Convention of States movement. Because there is no statute of limitations on our oath. If you're a veteran, this is your cause.
Patrick Murray is an Army veteran of 25 years. In 2010 and 2012 he was the Republican nominee for U.S. Congress in Virginia’s 8th Congressional District. He is the author of the just-published book Government is the Problem. Patrick lives in Alexandria, VA.