Conference on the Constitutional Convention (ConConCon) will be happening at Harvard Law School this coming weekend, and you'd have thought that we might not have waited for like 220 years to get even this far. But, then again, amending The Constitution used to be possible, like adding States and growing The Nation once was, but both of those things pretty much stopped pretty early in my lifetime.
We got fat, we got sassy, and we got lazy. Not that anything this complicated ever is really that simplistic, but please don't underestimate the importance of the connection. After I stumbled into a life as a "Major Marijuana Offender" (according to the government in both my PreSentence Investigation Report, and on the Wanted Poster (I swear to god) circulated when I became a fugitive for a time), and while I was still gainfully employed as such, I was blessed with visiting The Third World often (and I can't stress how much it pains me that the title is almost as relevant today as it was 30-40 years ago when I first discovered the reality that life so grim existed on a paralell with our own relative opulence). Mexico, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Thailand, Belize, Panama, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Aruba, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Tortola, Haiti, Dominican Republic, too many places in the Bahamas to count. And now so many of these places have something, and so many of our people really, really want to cry.
It doesn't surprise me at all that the poor dumb suckers on the right hate life, and have no real interest in challenging the real powers that be. What are they going to do, admit both that no part of the power system we have now really works like they are being assured by BUSHCO/Koch that it does, and face the fact that they have been completly defrauded on this whole "original intent" thing?
But what about the left? Why are we so afraid to stand face on against the clear challenges that are moving inexorably towards us? Pretty much everything we're doing today fails because the original design was simply insufficient for our times. What once started out pure has long since been perverted, polluted, co-opted, or otherwise. And peoples around the planet who should be our allies in this struggle are selling their futures for pennies on the dollar while we content ourselves with trying to minimize our losses because we're too afraid to even try anything else.
THE SECOND AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION!
From their web site:
Democracy in America is stalled.
From the Right and the Left, citizens are increasingly coming to recognize that our Republic does not work as our Framers intended. Reform of any kind is stalled by a status quo that profits from blocking change. No side in the political debate benefits from this inertia.
The Framers created a method for escaping from captured government—an Article V Constitutional Convention. If two-thirds of the states pass resolutions calling for a convention, then all sides will have the opportunity to argue for the changes they believe will restore our Republic. Any amendment proposed must then be ratified by three fourths of the states to become law.
On September 24th, people from across America and across the political spectrum will convene at Harvard University to discuss the advisability and feasibility of organizing towards a Constitutional Convention. The conference's lead organizers are both proponents and opponents of an Article V convention and we actively encourage the participation of those who support a convention and those who oppose holding a convention at all.
Lawrence Lessig and Mark Meckler will co-chair the conference. Lawrence Lessig is the director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He co-founded Change Congress, which aims to reduce the influence of private money in American politics. For more, see "How to sober up Washington"—an essay by Lessig and Mark McKinnon on corruption in Washington, voters' disillusionment, and the need for an Article V convention. Mark Meckler is the Co-Founder and a National Coordinator for Tea Party Patriots (along with his Co-Founder and fellow National Coordinator, Jenny Beth Martin), the largest grassroots tea party organization in the nation with over 3,500 chapters spanning every state.
Has a Constitutional Convention ever been held?
Not since the Constitution was written in 1787. But they've almost happened since—for instance, by 1910 nearly two-thirds of states had called for a Constitutional convention to propose that United States Senators be directly elected. (They were previously appointed by state legislatures.) This compelled Congress to put forth the 17th amendment, which was ratified in 1913 and established the current mode of choosing U.S. Senators.
Are you worried about a runaway convention?
Some raise concerns about the possibility of a "runaway" convention, whereby large swaths of the Constitution would be overturned in a unthinking frenzy driven by overzealous conventioneers. But the Constitution makes it clear that changes suggested by a Constitutional Convention would not take effect unless ratified by three-fourths of states, most likely via passage by those states' legislatures, so as few as 13 of America's 99 state legislative chambers could block an amendment that is too extreme. Only those amendments that are able to achieve a very high threshold of support would stand a chance of ratification.
This is the same way in which amendments offered by Congress, through the more familiar process, would be ratified: In many respects Congress can be considered a standing Constitutional Convention. It's when Congress is intransigent because the interests of Congressmembers themselves are in question—when, say, we want to change the campaign finance laws by which Congressmembers get elected—that we must empower ordinary citizens to force the changes we need.
Amending the Constitution is a reckless move. Why are you rushing into an Article V convention?
The purpose of this conference is not to call a convention. The purpose is to have a conversation about how such a convention would work and whether it would be a wise decision. Many of the conference's participants—perhaps the majority—believe that an Article V convention should not be called.
Will there be a live webcast? Will you post videos afterward?
Yes, there will be a live webcast at conconcon.org. We'll also have tools for remote participation. If you're on Twitter, Flickr, or other social media sites, you can tag your posts with the hashtag #conconcon. After the conference, we'll post videos online as soon as they're ready.