Thanks to the internet, I’m able to read articles and commentary by a wide selection of conservative scholars and thinkers. Among the best are people like Richard Fernandez, Walter Russell Mead and Angelo Codevilla. They all get it. They realize the path to a peaceful resolution of the cold civil war being waged in this country is a revitalization of federalism. Leave the people of South Dakota and California to themselves, to live their own lives, according to their values. That’s how we can get along with each other.
Typical of this scholarly output is an article by Codevilla, “The Cold Civil War.” This is a brilliant man, who understands this country as well as anyone. But he’s a scholar, not a politician. He knows where we are, and where we need to go, but he doesn’t know how to do it.
Indeed, the politics at the federal level looks hopeless. Total Republican control of the federal government, by purported conservatives, and complete gridlock. What is to be done?
The answer is in the Constitution, but unless you’re a politician, you can’t see it. Article V is a challenge given by the Framers of the Constitution to the group of politicians they believed would always be closest to the people: the legislators of the several states. They were to be the last line of defense for American liberty. If Congress and the federal government threatened that liberty, the State Legislatures, acting in concert with one another, would have the power to intervene.
In the United States, the people are sovereign. Not the federal government, or the Supreme Court, or Congress and the President. Sovereignty is defined as supreme power or authority. Under the Constitution, that ultimate power and authority rests with the state legislatures, representing the people. Article V provides gives them the mechanism to exercise that power and that authority.
Any group with that kind of power is rightfully looked upon with suspicion. Especially if they’ve never exercised that power since it was given to them in 1787. This natural suspicion is especially prevalent among a small group of state legislators who oppose any use of Article V, for fear it will be abused. This is the target audience of the Phoenix Convention of States.
Initial reports from the Denver ALEC meeting are very encouraging. 22 legislators from Arizona attended, and spread the word about the Phoenix Convention of States. Even at this very early stage of organization, there’s no doubt that a quorum of 26 states will be represented. Thus, Phoenix will, indeed, be the first national Convention of States since 1861.
In order to successfully use Article V, it’s necessary for the 50 state legislatures to organize. Phoenix is billed as a Balanced Budget Amendment Planning Convention. But it’s also an organizing convention.
What form that organization will take will be decided in Phoenix, by the Commissioners in attendance. It’s the most important thing they’ll do. At the least, a Committee of Correspondence will be established, to keep the lines of communication open. How this all develops is impossible to foresee. But it will develop.