Indiana Senate Bills 224 and 225 provide guidelines and restrictions for Indiana delegates to a constitutional convention.
What? The last constitutional convention was held in 1787. Delegates met in Philadelphia ostensibly to make corrections and improvements to the Articles of Confederation. Stewart, The Summer of 1787, 2007, p. 10. Eighteen of the 73 delegates did not attend. Patrick Henry refused to attend, claiming he "smelt a rat" in Philadelphia. What ensued was a wholesale scrapping of the Articles of Confederation and drafting of the Constitution.
Introduction of bills that provide guidelines for the conduct of Indiana delegates to a constitutional convention should cause some alarm.
1) Why do we need to change the Constitution?
The minority that wrested the presidency from the popularly-elected candidate in 2000 and now clings to power by whatever means available would appear ready to provide "change." First, they would want to get rid of some of those pesky rights people have. (Read: Roe v. Wade; Baker v. Carr, and one-person/one-vote.) Maybe they could come up with a fool-proof (and they would need that) formula by which even they could not lose that grip on power upon which they so perilously cling. Simple amendments would not do. The process is too long and drawn-out. With a simple convention, tons of cash can flow into the pockets of whomever and there you have it—a constitutional convention.
2) What would be the spectacle?
The media coverage of a constitutional convention would be abhorrent. After all, the 1787 convention was held in secrecy. In the summer months in Philadelphia, the windows of the Statehouse (what we now call Independence Hall) were shut so no one could hear the delegates as they debated. Delegates were forbidden from disclosing what transpired behind those doors and windows. A bad nightmare: Sarah Palin is selected by the Republican Party as a delegate and, each day, gives a rundown of the day’s proceedings. Wait—that’s if the proceedings were not already broadcast. The delegates would grandstand in such a manner as to make each other blush. After all, their work would be to re-write the Constitution. As coverage of the erosion of our rights and liberties would proceed, we would be treated to commercials, probably unleashed by every Super PAC that could buy time (and Go Daddy—those folks seem to buy time everywhere), to pound forth the propaganda of its masters.
That our State Senate has passed these measures should set off a couple of alarms, especially amongst those of us who voted for the lesser of two evils the past few elections. (Note: I have voted for some Republicans, but not very many. Drew Young diverted me in his run for Marion County Prosecutor.)
"Both" parties have histories of gerrymandering. That such a measure comes now would indicate, when coupled with other measures (in States that voted for Obama) to change the manner in which electoral votes are awarded.
If a minority wishes to cling to power, we need to be aware. The last thing we need right now is a constitutional convention. Besides, coverage might pre-empt some of my favorite shows. Oh—that’s right. We have DVR.
Kudos to Doug Masson for the alert on this in his Masson’s blog.