The following article was written by Andrew King and originally published on Hillsdale.net.
Students at Hillsdale College are pioneering a national first.
On Wednesday night, the members of the school’s chapter of Citizens for Self-Government hosted two of the organization’s national leaders, President Mark Meckler and Senior Advisor Jim DeMint. Hillsdale College’s chapter is the inaugural student club for the organization which advocates for the return of federal power to the states and to local government.
“Part of my case to you tonight is that we do have a terminal patient called the United States of America,” DeMint said, during his opening remarks. “Our original Constitution has been replaced by years of precedent and case law... There is nothing off limits to the federal government.”
Citizens for Self-Government’s primary lobbying issue is the Article V Convention of States — whose proponents suggest would serve to fix the state of affairs described by DeMint. Under Article V of the United States Constitution, the states are granted the power to petition congress to call a convention gathering delegates from all 50 states to propose constitutional amendments. Amendments that are adopted must then be sent back to each of the 50 state legislatures and ratified by three-fourths of the states to be added to the constitution.
The Convention of States is not an uncontroversial topic within conservative circles. Hillsdale College’s Professor and Chairman of Politics, Mickey Craig, is opposed to the idea, in large part because he says it is impractical.
“I think it’s a waste of time and resources that could otherwise be put toward electing conservative candidates,” Craig said. “To amend the constitution requires 34 state legislatures to do it. And I’m doubtful [that you could get that many] to call a Convention of States.”
However, the group’s young leaders are hopeful that a resurgence of conservative thought among millennials could push the country into these waters.
“In order to have something be... a popular belief you need 10 percent of the population,” said the College chapter’s co-president Lucy Meckler, who shares the role with Weston Boardman.
“That is 34 million [United States citizens]. Right now we have about 3 million, growing 1,000 a day. Which means that college campuses are essential to that, and especially with the recent backlash in millennials really being the Bernie Sanders generation, I think it was necessary to have someone that stood up for something like Citizens for Self-Governance... I think with this anti-establishment movement, it really fits in perfectly with the Millennial ideology and what we believe.”
DeMint said that student organizations are vital to the movement’s future.
“All of the students here within a few years will be all over the country working, some in Washington,” he said. “So planting the seed here and setting an example for other colleges and universities is encouraging.”