Developing our constitution in 1787, George Mason proposed language in Article V allowing states a process to amend the constitution in the event the federal government became oppressive. The language enabling states to propose and ratify amendments was unanimously agreed upon.

It is now, ironically, conceivable the states could be controlled and used by power groups with designs to use this constitutional process for their own oppressive self-interests.

Wisconsin has now become the 28th state to request a national convention to amend the U.S. Constitution, putatively to force the federal government to operate a balanced budget. While needed, details how available money would be prioritized and what population or programs would suffer is speculative. Six states are now needed to reach the 34 to request the convention and then a total of 38 to ratify amendments.

Ideally, this would reflect the goal envisioned by our constitutions’ authors. However, numerous politicians and careful observers see potential dangers in this political endeavor, being cognizant of current machinations absent in 1787.

Author and law professor, Michael Stokes Paulsen has said such a convention would have the power to propose anything it sees fit. State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, has expressed fears that some proposals could undermine our basic freedoms.

It is surely plausible other issues and amendments would be proposed and passed that could drastically change our constitution — longstanding freedoms and protectionism; some of which are already being attacked or are compromised: freedom of speech and press is frequently verbally attacked by our president and many of his supporters, while GOP legislators remain silent.

Our due process assurances in Articles lV,V and VI are an interpretation away from being compromised by the 2001 Patriot Act.

A concern here is what could develop. when one political party, also controlling the majority of states, appoint convention representatives through their governors and dominant legislative bodies, to perform this role.

Wisconsin’s selected seven would be representing 6 million citizens ... or would they?

Is it not feasible the individuals hand picked by the party, and ordered to follow instructions or be dismissed at the convention, will also be fully complying with self-serving, aggrandizing, directives from powerful corporate and deep state officials?

A risk exists that this convention could dramatically alter our nation’s principles, laws and operation as profoundly as a military coup d’etat. This constitutional process would be just as fruitful for its architects. The convention could well serve one party as a useful method to achieve all ends that disappointedly failed them at the national level. It could also strengthen its national power, and become one exclusive party with weak challenges and restraints.

The possibility of our president acquiring something akin to Germany’s Enabling Act of 1933, under a similar situation, should make Americans shudder. Such an act gave their party leader, ultimately and permanently, sole legislative powers for all laws. Given outcomes contrary to what our constitutional framers intended, shows this convention carries risks requiring a caveat worth heeding.

lncredulous developments can and have happened — in America as elsewhere.

Consider this: In 1933, a Wall Street group contrived a plan involving several million dollars, to assemble a veterans army of 500,000 and obtain weapons and ammunition from the Remington Arms company to overthrow Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration and replace it with a fascist state. While the plot was thwarted, and denials made, Congressman John McCormack, later speaker of the House, said, “ This was a threat to our very way of government by a bunch of rich men who wanted fascism.”

Lloyd Holmberg resides in Onalaska.


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