This op-ed was previously published in the Boulder City Review by Ron Russ.
Before launching into the topic of today’s column, I hope you and your family enjoyed a bountiful Thanksgiving celebration featuring togetherness, good food and, perhaps above all else, good health. I am particularly thankful for my wife and family, the many blessings received over the last year and to be counted as a citizen of the United States of America.
Regardless of your political party affiliations or leanings, our U.S. midterm elections had a little something for everybody to rejoice and lament. It was, in this writer’s lifetime experience, the biggest mixed bag of unpredictable results using our past as prologue.
Employing history as a predictor, the awful inflationary pressures leading many to believe we are already in a recession, has always been a bellwether for political change. Bill Clinton’s erstwhile strategist and political gadfly James Carville coined the expression, “It’s the economy, stupid,” often credited with “Bubba” unseating George H.W. Bush amid a marked recession. The party in charge is routinely blamed for a bad economy and voters, especially in non-presidential midterm elections, exact electoral retribution. Amazingly, not this time — when the high cost of everything continues to pummel voters nationwide.
The Democrats have been engaged in nonstop chest-pounding for throttling mainstream media’s predicted “red tsunami.” Characterizing what both sides forecast would be overwhelming gains by Republicans as a tsunami or “red wave,” wound up having little pushback in the lead-up to Nov. 8. By holding onto their slim majority in the Senate, the “world’s greatest deliberative body,” can do what our Founders intended — act as cooler heads to offset the House of Representatives.
With a Republican House majority, albeit slim, the GOP gets two things they desperately wanted. The so-called “power of the purse,” and “the gavel.” By being able to elect the Speaker, Republicans now are in a position to name committee members and chairs and do what they’ve been threatening to do since Joe Biden became president: investigate whatever they deem appropriate for our national discourse.
With the assuagement of one-party rule, many are celebrating what’s known as “divided government.” A return to checks and balances. But, once again looking to history to predict our future, I believe one word will dominate what we see out of Washington, D.C.: gridlock.
Americans overwhelmingly want members of both parties to work with each other, to be conciliatory in their approach when makings laws and watching our budget. To be fair, anyone believing that’s to come likely wears a tinfoil hat with a propeller on top. Most political prognosticators believe as I do, it’s going to be brutal.
Alas, there is hope. But I, for one, have virtually no faith it will come from anywhere near our nation’s capital. The status quo is simply too intoxicating for those who live and work in D.C. to put themselves in rehab. Intentionally step off the gravy train? Bah, humbug!
The one thing we can count on from those within our federal government caste system is to hold onto power, increase their influence and thwart any effort to put themselves or their buddies in check.
Professional politicians and unelected administrative state workers have a vested interest in making sure no one ever messes with their near-perfect lives. They are more resistant to change than Richard Simmons is to giving up his short-shorts.
The idea Washington can and will fix itself is on par with a brain surgeon operating on their own melon.
The hope to which I refer is to amend the Constitution. Now, before you point out my rank hypocrisy — based on the last few paragraphs— I am not proposing federal legislators offer self-immolating amendments.
The beauty of this idea was put forth by our Founders who, in their infinite wisdom, foresaw the tyranny of a massive, ever-growing and thoroughly out-of-control federal government. It is enumerated in Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution. A-5 enables two-thirds of the states to call a “convention for proposing amendments” to the U.S. Constitution and, amazingly, the federal government has no say as to what the states propose — or pass.
OK, to be fully transparent, Uncle Sam gets to determine the time and place the convention will be held and, no, they can’t say “only on planet Mars.”
In 2014, the group Convention of States Action was formed. Their initial mission was to get state legislatures to pass resolutions committing them to participate in a convention of states, or CoS. A-5 demands no less than 34 states are needed for a CoS and 38 states required to ratify any proposed amendments. As of this writing, 19 states have passed resolutions.
What amendments could states force into the U.S. Constitution? How about the most popular request to date: term limits. You and I know D.C. politicians would never vote for that. Second ranking goes to ending federal overreach with things like the Department of Education. Here in Nevada, we already have school boards and districts and no need for Washington to tell us how to administer the 3 R’s — and tax us for the privilege. Also in the top three: a balanced budget amendment. Just try to imagine our political betters having to live within their/our means.
For those that may fear a runaway convention, or infiltration by Anti-American activists, no constitutional amendment can be ratified and adopted without passage by legislatures from 38 states, another brilliant check from those who created our ingenious system.
Although getting another 15 states on board is no easy task; in fact, it will likely be a slog, the upside to all liberty-loving American citizens should be obvious.
We just may be able to restore real hope by putting the brakes on this runaway train.
To learn more about CoS, you may go online to: https://conventionofstates.com.
The opinions expressed above belong solely to the author and do not represent the views of the Boulder City Review. They have been edited solely for grammar, spelling and style, and have not been checked for accuracy of the viewpoints.
Ron Russ is a Los Angeles transplant, living in and loving Boulder City since 2020. His career in commercial broadcasting spanned more than four decades including a brief stint as the announcer for Fox’s short-lived “The Chevy Chase Show.” In another lifetime Ron performed stand-up comedy in Los Angeles. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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