THE PLAN TO GET US TO A CONVENTION
Rediscovering the Land of the Free Through a Convention of the States
The Constitutional Amendment Process
A Systemic Breakdown
The 1780s were a heady and important time for our country. Early in the decade, Americans enjoyed the sweet fruit of their war for independence as the war was ended and peace was established. In March 1789, our first President and Congress were elected to office. The newly adopted Constitution divided power among the branches and levels of government while guaranteeing essential protections to the American people. The world had never seen anything like it.
Against this backdrop, President Washington delivered America’s first inaugural address, noting that the “preservation of the sacred fire of liberty” and the “destiny of the republican model of Government” are “entrusted to the hands of the American people.” How well do we measure up to that ideal today?
The introduction to this website summarized five major areas of concern in our federal government today, so we won’t repeat them here; it ended with this statement:
When we honestly and realistically face the facts, we must acknowledge that we are in an existential crisis that could determine whether we remain a vibrant republic with a promising future or a tired nation whose best days are past.
But the choice is ours to make: we can ignore all of the warning signs and continue to drift into a twilight zone of national decay or we can assert the People’s sovereign power and impose new rules on Washington: rules of accountability, discipline, transparency, civility, and the rule of law.
Here is the reaction to our governmental problems of one legislative leader:
“The time is right for the states to exert the constitutional authority provided to them by the Constitution’s framers and to propose amendments that could set us on the right path again. For there is far more to fear from state inaction against a dysfunctional and overreaching federal government than there is to fear from states banding together to address some of America’s most pressing problems."
Linda Upmeyer, Former Iowa Speaker of the House
A Second Act for America
Conscious of our nation’s grave challenges and aware of the limitations of politics, as usual, Act 2 was established in 2014 to bring together all 50 states to discuss, develop and promote vital reform measures at the national level. Our founders, Frank and Carol Keeney, sought to ignite a rediscovery of federalism, local control, and prosperity for all people while ensuring that American citizens feel heard and truly represented by their elected officials. This renewal will be the second act of our political drama.
Our Strategy for Success
In recent decades, fierce partisanship has gripped the federal government and rendered it incapable of initiating meaningful bipartisan reform. The burden falls on “We the People” to step up and cure the dysfunction in Washington. We must initiate the action to transform this dysfunctional mess into an effective, efficient governing body. We are the last best hope to save our republic and way of life for future generations of Americans.
Our future depends on 7,000 state legislators in 50 states. All of them need to trust each other and join together to make changes to the constitution. Those changes will give us better leaders. Social trust is “one of society’s most fundamental building blocks” according to WSJ Reporter Kevin Vallier. Social trust is diminished by corruption, polarization, partisan political leadership, decline in religious faith, biased main streamed media, social media platforms, intellectual ignorance of the wisdom of the populace, and other social issues. We are in deep trouble! The United States is the only established democracy to suffer a loss of social trust.
The traditional method of opposition to highly charged issues does not work. We need to take action to get better leaders and reform the processes by which decisions are made.
Path To Reform suggests that there are four steps to successful reform:
Remember always that corrupt leadership is the core problem. Our Founding Fathers and their successors for many years fought and argued according to the same basic Constitution we have today and preserved our freedoms to inspire the creativity and hard work that yielded the progress of our nation.
Obtain better leaders by seeking appropriate reforms to the Constitution through the action of the states pursuant to a convention authorized by Article V of the Constitution.
Focus our efforts on building consensus on a non-partisan platform by reaching out to three blue states and three red states. From this consensus, we will develop a plan to reach legislators in all 50 states and inspire state support and enthusiasm for a convention.
Plan a conference of states in August 2022 in Denver, CO, to test the success of our efforts and lay the groundwork for a full convention of states in 2023 to consider reform amendments
Host a conference of states in August 2023 in Indianapolis, IN
The Constitution, Article V
The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
The Constitutional Amendment Process
In Article V, the writers of the Constitution gave us two ways to amend the Constitution in order to implement government reforms: (1) the action may be initiated in Congress by a two-thirds majority vote in both the House and Senate, or (2) it can be started by the states if two-thirds of them (34) agree to call a convention to consider reforms. In either case, a proposed amendment must be subsequently ratified by three-quarters of the states (38) to become law. This high bar for ratification ensures that the American public broadly supports the change, which is the mark of a strong, vibrant democracy.
It is obvious that the most direct route for reform is through Congress; the state option was provided to ensure that the People have a way to redress their grievances if Congress is unwilling or unable to act. But because of changes that have occurred in the workings of Congress in recent years, it appears that the congressional option is not viable today and reformers must work through the state legislatures. The occasional bill for reform that is introduced in Congress is for show; no serious effort for reform is being made there. As a consequence of these dynamics, the state approach has been adopted by virtually all of the citizen reform groups, including Act 2.
Historically, we have never needed to resort to a convention to accomplish desired reforms. Whenever Congress saw that the mood of the country favored a reform they jumped to the head of the parade and initiated the amendment action. But the evidence does not indicate that Congress will do so in today’s harsh political climate.
Today our federal government is gridlocked, dysfunctional, and in desperate need of repair. The American people should be storming the doors of our legislative bodies, demanding remedial action. We must not allow fear-peddling opponents of reform or pedantic scholars, regardless of their good intentions, to hinder our efforts to achieve constructive, meaningful reform. The voice of the People, calling for a convention of states to propose amendments under Article V of the Constitution, must be respected and honored.
If we fail to act, we may be remembered as the generation that presided over the death of the American Experiment.