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Re: “Want term limits? That will require a convention of states,” editorial, Jan. 23:
We’re currently bombarded by pundits, politicians and activists who insist that “government is broken” and that we need this amendment or that amendment to fix it. We are often promised a magic pill in the form of a convention of states that will fix all these issues.
We currently have two “let’s fix what isn’t broken” measures being touted by politicians and activists alike. One is the term limits legislation co-sponsored by two of our own — Rep. George Holding and Sen. Thom Tillis. Both have now jumped on the amendment bandwagon and in doing so, have given some attention to the other — a faltering constitutional convention/convention of states movement.
Although the Article V con-con and a convention of states are two entirely different events, most don’t understand the difference and thus consider them synonymous. Both efforts always rally under the banner of the balanced budget amendment and a term limits amendment. Both are equally misguided and dangerous.
We cannot deny that something needs to be done about the career spendthrift politicians, but we must resist the siren songs of a convention of states/con-con and a BBA and term limits. The COS advocates promise that “no bad amendments will get through the ratification process,” and yet we know that four indisputably disastrous amendments — the 16th, 17th, 18th and 26th — have done so already. The other promise con-con/COS advocates make is that the event will be convened with a mandate only to propose one or two amendments. Again, patently false. There are no rules that exist for a convention of either type as both conventions write the rules after being convened. Promises of such limitations are at best naive wishful thinking and at worst, knowing lies.
We are told that Congress doesn’t work and spends too much money. True and true. We’re also told there are too many career politicians wrapped up in their own power and just not enough democracy to effect change. True and abjectly false. The problem is not that we don’t have enough people voting, but that we have too many? This is not a democracy, but a constitutional republic, a fact seemingly lost on not only the general public, but the media and politicians. Given that everything happening in government is a direct result of the elections, the cause for the Washington mess is not a broken Constitution, but a dysfunctional electorate.
A con-con, convention of states, balanced budget amendment or any other half-baked scam isn’t going to fix the systemic problem as evidenced by the record of the voting electorate. It will, however, cement power for a small elite by destroying our individual rights. Can anyone really be so gullible as to believe that convening a group of delegates from our current population to determine the disposition of our rights will result in an outcome anywhere near the constitutional protections we have now?
The real problem is oft overlooked and is taboo in the media and elsewhere. It is the electorate that is broken, not the Constitution. The 26th Amendment, giving the vote to an 18- to 20-year-old inexperienced and easily manipulated demographic, has undeniably contributed to the election of left-leaning and devout socialists into a constitutional system designed to avoid the destructive evolution of robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Couple that with a very much dumbed-down general population produced by an educational system, itself broken, and you have the perfect recipe for layers of easily manipulated voting blocs. Both of these things are then coupled with a large segment of the population being conditioned to believe it’s perfectly fine and moral for more than half the population to pay no federal taxes. Relying on the heavy and ever-increasing taxation of the remaining population provides the perfect recipe for the collapse of society, and thus, the nation.
No, term limits won’t fix the problem, it will only give even more control to the parties. No, a balanced budget amendment won’t fix the problem, it will only give politicians an excuse for raising taxes on “the rich.” No, elimination of the Electoral College won’t fix the problem, that will only allow the five largest population centers to elect every president. No, a con-con/convention of states won’t fix anything either, it will only allow our individual rights of speech, thought, defense, privacy and due process to be swept away in one fell swoop.
Advertising a product but delivering a different one is known as bait and switch. That’s exactly what term limits, a convention of states and a balanced budget amendment do.
Editor’s Note: The Times waived its 350-word length limit to permit this writer a fuller response to a Times editorial.