13:12 GMT30 May 2020
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    Conservative lawmakers in the US are seeking to summon a constitutional convention in a bid to introduce amendments restricting the power of the federal government.

    Former Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn has said that the US was three or four years away from the next convention adding that the US is failing as a nation and the convention could be the only answer to address the existing problems in the country.

    Sputnik has discussed the issue with Michael R. Shannon, political commentator, Newsmax and Cagle Syndicate columnist, author of the book "A Conservative Christian's Guidebook for Living in Secular Times.”

    Michael R. Shannon: We have to have a call for a Convention of States; and it is either the state legislatures themselves call for it, which has happened in a number of legislatures, or individual states have a Constitutional Convention which calls for it. It’s either two-thirds or three-quarters of the states to call for it before it happens. Unfortunately, although I strongly support this, right now the chances of it happening are small.

    Sputnik: The last Constitutional Convention took place 230 years ago, why is it needed now?

    Michael R. Shannon: Because there have been developments since then that the founders didn’t foresee and the current entrenched political class in Washington won’t do anything about. Last month they collected almost $1.5 trillion in tax money yet they still borrowed 680 billion additional dollars. That is a crisis.

    Sputnik: Tom Coburn, a veteran Republican lawmaker, said “we are in a battle for the future of our country; we are either going to become a Socialist Marxist country like Western Europe or we are going to be free.” What do you make of Mr. Coburn’s statement?

    Michael R. Shannon: Tom Coburn is a great American. He is from my home state of Oklahoma and he is an honorable man. When he was in Congress, he term-limited himself to 12 years and when the 12 years came up he left Congress.

    He then ran for the Senate and he again [limited himself to] 12 years; but he actually left before his 12 years were up because he got cancer, but he wasn’t going to run for re-election. He is a man of his word and I think he is correct here.

    Another one of the liberty amendments, or the amendment proposed to this Constitutional Convention is term limits on federal office holders and I strongly support that too, because once again the entrenched political class, “I’m a Conservative” and by this I mean both Republicans and Democrats resist anything that in any way impinges on their power or their prestige. And term limits does that in a big way.

    Sputnik: Do you personally share the view expressed by Mr. Coburn that the convention is the only answer to the problems the US faces today?

    Michael R. Shannon: Yes, because as I said the entrenched political class won’t do anything to address this. For an amendment to be proposed to the Constitution the other way it has to pass the House and the Senate with a either three-quarters or two-thirds majority and that’s not happening.

    On any of these [issues] – balanced budget, term limits, repealing the 17th amendment which returns the election of senators to state legislatures instead of direct election – none of these things were getting out of Washington. So, you are going to have to go around Washington and that’s why the founders provided this other alternative.

    Sputnik: Critics argue that such a convention could rewrite the US Constitution and destroy the protection of rights, is it really so?

    Michael R. Shannon: It certainly could. It could adopt the Communist Manifesto if it wanted to, but what they don’t tell you here is that the amendments that come out of this Constitutional Convention have to be approved by three-quarters of the states.

    So the chances of a runaway convention doing anything are just simply non-existent.

    Sputnik: Why do the people want to restrict the power of the Federal Government? What is the reason for discontent?

    Michael R. Shannon: They take in $1.4 trillion a month and they still have to borrow another $600 billion.

    The Federal Government is out of control, it spends more than it takes in. It has more power than it’s willing to pay for. It is morally corrupt to indebt future generations for the spending of current generations. The Federal Government is too intrusive, and it’s not the way the Constitution was designed.

    Sputnik: How united are the Conservative groups in their approach to the changes needed in the United States?

    Michael R. Shannon: I’m not sure about the 17th amendment, but I think that the balanced budget and term limits are all on the program there. After that there are splits in the Conservative side as there are splits among the Leftists.

    The biggest split in the Conservatives is some of them fear what they call a runaway convention, which you mentioned earlier, which is that it just won’t happen because the document they have produced still has to be ratified. So there is division on our side.

    I wish we could get everybody to agree and say “let’s have the convention first,” but we don’t even have that right now.

    Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Michael R. Shannon and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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