by Aaron Warner
Friday afternoon in Rutland was both hot and a hot spot to enjoy the salt of the earth types gathered at the Vermont State Fair. The sprawling fair grounds was alive with the typical attractions: prize winning livestock, ancient farm equipment, blaring tractor engines, overhyped racing pigs, and loads of rides, prizes, and fried foods. For artisans there were unique cheeses and breads. For artistry there were quilts, paintings and jewelry. The good people of Vermont know how to hang out and enjoy one another with mutual admiration at a fair because no televisions are piped in with constant political complaints or accusations from team red or team blue. Team red, white and blue is the only one that matters and this is inherently understood at a state fair.
Nearly every registered voter in Vermont has concerns about both the direction of the federal government and its lack of accountability to the people they are sworn to serve. The political discontent is reaching a fever pitch, less so between parties and more now than ever between the people and their elected officials.
In January of this year Gallup reported some one million registered Democrats switching party affiliation to Republican, largely out of disenchantment with government overreach and mishandling of the COVID pandemic. Vermont Senator Sanders also recently reiterated a poll stating Americans show 16% approval rating for politicians, with a majority of Americans feeling their government is not working in their best interest to the point of even considering taking up arms against them.
Despite the recent assaults on the founding fathers and their historical sins, the integrity of the Constitution they formed remains stalwart. Still the longest living constitution in the world, its reputation as a beacon of truth and freedom the world over remains intact. Though these men were brought to bear arms against their tyrannical British government they foresaw such a time as now when, to avoid armed conflict, a provision was give to allow the citizens to exercise a special constitutional imperative if the federal bodies became recalcitrant to the will of the people. Namely, Article V which gives the people the ability to call a convention of states, Pelosi and McConnell notwithstanding.
Serried inside the Vermont Building at the fair was a battery of booths representing a variety of groups. Among them was the Convention of States (COS) offering hope and education to Vermonters who likely aren’t familiar with Article V. Of the thousands in attendance many hundreds were willing to give a listen and, more importantly, sign their names to the petition calling Vermont lawmakers to pass the resolution.
This past year saw a COS record number of Americans ally themselves with their mission. South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska and West Virginia brought the total to 19 of the necessary 34 needed to call the convention. In Vermont legislation has been introduced in past legislatures and is likely to be reintroduced this year. If Vermont and the other fourteen states with current legislation all vote to pass, the convention will be called. At which point delegates are selected from all states and the people’s will to power will become fully operational.
Talking with Vermont’s State Director for COS, Jason Herron, and District Captain, George Wilson, the excitement to see the people of Vermont waking up to their Constitutional prerogative is growing and fast.
“We’re seeing record numbers of people sign the petition” they shared. “We even had a Marxist lawyer stick around and chat with us about it. It was the coolest thing because the conversation went all over the place but we could agree we all want a convention of states.” Which sounds a lot like the type of progress wanted by most Vermonters.
COS relies heavily on volunteers, and like most political initiatives, it requires momentum. Right now, it has TONS of momentum as Americans have grown tired of Washington DC A.K.A “the swamp”. Senator Ted Cruz recently shared in an interview his journey from pro-COS to anti-COS back to pro-COS. Explaining his initial change of heart began with constituents worrying about a “runaway convention” that would instead take away liberties rather than establish term limits and fiscal responsibility, which are the COS stated goals. The runaway convention concern is not shared by either Herron or Wilson.
“The COS has legal precedence that precludes a runaway convention. It simply can’t happen”. When I asked them to explain they remind me the delegates cannot be lobbyists, or bureaucrats or any other swamp creature. If the convention is called, you can be assured it will amend the constitution to include term limits, balance budget, and regulatory amendments all sides of the political aisle can agree to.
Objections by lawmakers to the COS used to have merit, however the unanimous opinion among Americans, Vermonters included, is there are no good excuses anymore. 16% approval isn’t just a failing grade, it’s bordering on defenestration level discontent. It’s looking like a COS is the only thing that can save this country from outright civil war, and politicians will be among the first targeted if it comes to that. COS is designed to help us all avoid that kind of disaster.