229 years later
Catherine Drinker Bowen's Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention May to September 1787 (Boston: Little, Brown, 1966) was published before political correctness erased the spiritual aspects of our framers intentions from history books. To call what they did a "miracle" wasn't such a bold move in 1966. George Washington had called their work a miracle in a letter to Lafayette and James Madison had used the same terminology when writing to Thomas Jefferson. Evidently there was a supernatural feel to what those brave men accomplished.
Whether this republican form of government would work was still an unanswered question. Those men were in uncharted waters and the world was watching with cynical, skeptical, waiting eyes. That 55 colonists from 12 of the 13 colonies could agree on a document like the United States Constitution is perhaps miracle enough. Two of the more incredible aspects of this miracle still amaze me. Their vision and truthful anticipation of the result reveal their own questions about the form of government they proposed. Vision and truth are miracles in any context.
The truth was that they weren't sure it would work either. Eric Metaxas, in his recently released book If You Can Keep It (New York: Viking, 2016) wrote of a conversation between Benjamin Franklin and a Mrs. Powell when the meetings adjourned. She asked, "Well, doctor, What have we got? A republic or a monarchy?". Franklin replied, "A republic madam---if you can keep it". Apparently the framers themselves had questions about the feasibility of a government like the one proposed in the Constitution. That it has been the supreme law of the land since 1787 is perhaps the most obvious miracle of those hot, hard days of deliberation and debate.
But, in a second blush, the vision they wrote into the Constitution may be even more miraculous. Evidently they knew something about the depraved inclinations of mankind too and wrote into the document solutions should the government they envisioned be perverted into something else. It is Article V, the provision for amending the Constitution of the United States. The truly incredible, visionary element in this article is that they anticipated an occasion when the states would have need to amend the Constitution. Perhaps there would be a day in the future when abuses in the government would require intervention by the states.
Such a day is upon us as we celebrate the 240th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. With a broken two party political system, an ineffective division of powers, career legislators, an imperial presidency, a totally out-of-touch judiciary, and a mammoth, debt producing government, the time for an Article V convention is now.
There's really little sense in me attempting to explain the process in this limited space. I'm a novice at these things at best. Instead, let me ask my readers to do four things in this regard---
1. Read Article V of the United States Constitution by clicking here.
2. Visit, read, and study the information on the the Convention of States web
site by clicking here. Sign the petition.
3. Visit the state government web site for your state. You will find a listing with
contact information of every member of your state house of representatives
and senate. Make note of those numbers. Call your state house representative
and state senator. Ask them to support legislation calling for a Convention of
4. Pass this information on to everyone on your contact list, including FaceBook
friends and Twitter and Instagram followers.
The 2016 election is heating up now. Party Conventions will happen in the next month. This means the candidate selection process, presumed until the conventions, will be finalized, Vice Presidential candidates most likely announced, party platforms completed, and most campaign organizations will be operating at speeds and in venues we've never experienced before. The likely candidates share one unique trait this time: they both have very high negative likability numbers. As a result there will be much confusion as we approach November 8, 2016, election day.
No, the Convention of States cannot happen before the next election. But, the process can escalate and move toward fulfillment. So, read the data, sign the petition, and call your state representatives and senators now.
Your children and grandchildren are counting on you.