By Josh Barker
Everyone says that the young people are the next generation. The future of this world and particularly this nation belongs to us. The decisions we make, the questions we ask, and the answers we get will change the world. We won’t be kids forever. The Convention of States Teens of Georgia or COST is working on behalf of the Convention of States movement to get the message out to young people. Whether it’s making speeches at schools, churches, public events, or even just talking to their friends about it, they’re making a difference. However, recently they tried a new idea, a dance. The idea was pretty simple, have a dance at a church or the local community center and talk about Convention of States and have fundraising from the dance be donated towards the national movement. They used social media, like Facebook to put the event online and make it public. Over 100 people got invited and many more saw the link. The idea was directed towards 7th grade and other students in Middle and High School.
The dance was held at the Howard Community Center in North Macon. COST put together the dance. The theme was the Mid-Summer Night’s dream. The decorating crew put mason jars with candles around the room, white Christmas lights through the chandeliers and on the floor, greenery around the room, and other little touches to the main room. Glow sticks were also given out about halfway through the dance. There were several activities, besides the main event, dancing. There was a dessert competition which helped with providing food. There was also a limbo competition. About an hour and a half into the dance, Browning Sandusky, the local teen captain, explained what the Convention of States movement is. After his speech, several people signed up to join the movement.
All people who attended the dance, with the exception of the 10 to 15 chaperons, had to pay $10. There were almost 100 people overall. There were also COST Georgia t-shirts for sale. Overall, the dance raised $720, however $1440 was donated to the national organization because for a limited time an anonymous person was matching donations.
Browning Sandusky said that his favorite thing about the dance was that so many people came. “It was great to see the support of the COS movement, and it really spread the word of it out there.” He said that it was “definitely worth the effort,” and he hopes to have another dance in the near future. Amelia Boland, one of the event’s teen organizers, agrees. “My favorite part of the dance was when Browning Sandusky gave a speech about Convention of States and almost 100 teenagers heard about the movement and responded with support.”
So what about those of you who are looking at this and want to do something like it? Boland says you can do it. She said that the hardest part is “setting a date and making it happen,” however with the right crew and dedication, any dance can come together perfectly. “Hosting the event was surprisingly simple when everyone came together to work toward a common goal. Some of our volunteers were excellent bakers and brought food, some of our volunteers helped with decorating, everyone invited friends, and it worked out beautifully.” She said that because everyone worked together they could add extra “mini-events” like the limbo and dessert baking competition. She says that COST loves brainstorming for future events. “We are planning to host more events soon. We expect opportunities for events to broaden as our group continues to grow.”
Overall, Boland says it was a success. “Almost 100 people are now familiar with Article Five and received pocket Constitutions. Many of the teens who participated expressed interest and support for the movement, and it was a great night of fellowship for volunteers and participants.” In summary, “It was a great experience, and it effectively spread awareness about the Convention of States movement.”
So what is the Convention of the States? There are many problems in our nation right now with a National Debt already $18.4 Trillion growing at almost $15,000 a second, huge amounts of unneeded federal regulations that can literally shut down small neighborhood lemonade stands, the federal government taking away the state’s control of certain things like education, and many more things. The solution if the Convention of States.
Our founding fathers knew that problems could arise where our Constitution needed to be changed. They gave us a way for it to be changed, by passing an amendment through 2/3 of both houses. However, there’s a big problem; how can we change the Constitution when the federal government is the problem if they aren’t willing to change voluntarily? Those who drafted the Constitution had this question in mind, and so when writing the 5th Article of the Constitution, the article that talks about how to amend the Constitution, our founding fathers put in one little phrase that could save our nation in such a time as this. It reads as follows:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress…
If we were to call for a Convention of the States, we could fix these problems. We could pass Constitutional Amendments at the Convention, and then the state legislatures would ratify it. The organization Convention of States has a plan to help call a Convention of the States, fix this country, and save our Constitution, “because sometimes what you need is not a change in personnel, you need a change in structure,” Dr. Michael Farris who along with Mark Meckler co-founded the COS organization said regarding the Convention of the States. The Constitutional lawyer who has argued before the US Supreme Court, 7 US Circuit Courts of Appeal, and 10 state Supreme Courts agrees that it is time to take action and that structure really is key. “The Founders understood the importance of structure,” Farris says, “and they gave the power to the states to create a new set of rules when the Federal Government oversteps its boundaries. We need to recalibrate the rules to take power away from Washington DC and give it back to the people and to the states.”
The organization is calling for state legislatures to pass a joint resolution to have a convention of the states, not based on one particular amendment, but on a topic. The reason they are calling the convention is for the purpose of limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government. While they aren’t calling the convention officially for one amendment in particular, there are several amendments we can expect at a Convention of the States. Some possible amendments include a balanced budget amendment, reducing federal spending power, reducing the federal regulatory power, a prohibition of using international laws and treaties to govern domestic affairs in the United States, limiting executive orders and federal regulations to enact laws (because Congress is supposed to be the only branch passing laws), imposing checks and balances on the Supreme Court including term limits, and placing a limit on federal taxation.
Already four state legislatures have taken the charge and passed the resolution. Just this year on May 21st, the state legislature of Alabama passed the resolution being the first state to do so this year and Texas and Kansas are considering the possibility. Last year, Florida, Alaska, and our own state of Georgia passed the resolution. It is important for young people like us to be informed about these matters. It is important that you know what is going on in the world and your country.