Planning

Seattle is as far away from Washington as you get in the contiguous 48 states.  Which makes it a good place to start.  The primary goal is to come to an agreement that voting at the Convention will be one state, one vote; that only one Amendment  — dealing with a balanced budget  — will be in order at the Convention, and that that Amendment contain provisions for land transfers and regulatory reform.  A good day’s work, if achieved.  If that is accomplished the next step is to agree on a subsequent time and place to meet in order to expand the participation to as many states as possible.  The obvious time is December, in between the regularly scheduled meetings of ALEC and the NCSL.  Those meeting take place in D.C., which is an hour’s drive from Annapolis.

The State House in Annapolis is the Capitol of Maryland, built in 1772 and the oldest State Capitol still used by a legislature.  Between November of 1783 and June of 1784 it was the U.S. Capitol, where the Continental Congress met.  It was here on December 23, 1783 that General George Washington tendered his resignation as Commander in Chief of the Army.

The Maryland legislature is one of the bluest in the country, and I’m not at all sure they’d put the welcome mat out for this December meeting.  Maybe the Governor, a conservative Republican, would have some influence with them.  If there’s no room at the State House that would be available, maybe we could meet at the Naval Academy.  Or we may wind up in a hotel.  We’ll see.

It’s hard to say, this far out, what would be covered at Annapolis.  One thing would be to recommend to the Convention what its rules should be.  The Assembly of State Legislatures has been working on that for a year and a half, so maybe they’ll have something to propose.  Another item is the funding of the Convention.  Some amount of money will have to be spent in organizing and conducting this Convention.  We should not rely, in any way, on Congress to pay for it.  Seattle and Annapolis will be privately funded, with the National Tax Limitation Committee paying the bills.  The actual Convention should be paid for by the states.  If 26 states kicked in $50,000 you’d have $1.3 million, enough to cover it.

Another possibility is to recommend a site for the Amendment Convention to Congress.  I think the Capitol at Richmond, designed by Thomas Jefferson, would be best.  Houdon’s bust of Washington is prominently displayed there.  I’ve seen replicas, but never the original.  It’s as precious as any work of art in America.  Houdon captured Washington, the man.  A lot of people think of Washington as a blue blood Virginia aristocrat, with powdered wig and all.  In fact George Washington was a soldier, and a man’s man.  He was the kind of man other men followed in war.  In high school he’d be captain of the football team, not class President.  He’d be the middle linebacker, a stud, and when he told the guys up front to hold that line they’d do it or die trying.

There were two American foundings, the first at Jamestown in 1607, the second at Plymouth in 1619.  The Virginians gave us our libertarian philosophy.  The Puritans up north were anti-libertarian.  They were Bible thumping religious fanatics that would burn you at the stake if they thought you were a witch.  Their political legacy is the modern Democratic party, which will destroy anyone out of line with its politically correct dogmas.  American political history is, in some ways, the story of the fight between these two visions.  It started with Jefferson against Adams, and we’re still fighting.

We’re with Jefferson, and liberty.  So let’s meet in Richmond.

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