Let’s open the founders’ gift 

Pocono Record Letter to the Editor

Mar 13, 2019

On Sept. 15, 1787, the Philadelphia Convention was coming to a close. The Constitution was completely drafted. The founders of our nation were about to go home. Suddenly, however, Col. George Mason of Virginia stood up and addressed the assembly. He said that they had made a terrible mistake, that the document they drafted was wrong. He said that they had given the power to Congress to propose amendments should they deem them necessary, but they did not give that same power to the people acting through the states. Then he asked a very important question: He asked whether anyone believed that a federal government that became tyrannical would propose amendments to restrain its own tyranny?

According to James Madison’s notes, there was no debate, which is remarkable for a group that fought over syntax, diction and punctuation. His notes simply read, nem con, which is Latin for “No comment.” They added the second clause to Article V of the Constitution — the clause that gives us, acting through our state legislatures, the power to call a convention and propose some amendments of our own.

Article X states, “The powers not delegated to the United States [government] by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, belong to the states respectively, and to the people.” Our federal government is operating far outside its constitutional bounds. There is a movement afoot to call a convention. Thirteen of the requisite 34 states have passed legislation calling for a convention to:

  1. Reign in the power and jurisdiction of the federal government
  2. Set term limits on legislators and judges
  3. Implement taxation, spending and debt limits.

Let us open this founders’ gift. Now is the time. Let us sign the petition and join the movement at conventionofstates.com.

Mark Van Houten, East Stroudsburg