Right-wing lawmakers in 28 states are trying to hold a constitutional convention for the first time since 1787 under the guise of imposing “fiscal discipline” on our federal government. But the reality is a convention will likely result in a wholescale rewriting the Constitution, taking away our rights, abridging our freedoms and hurting working people.
That should worry everyone regardless of their politics.
A constitutional convention won’t be limited to just one item. Every right and protection in our nation’s founding document will be up for debate – free speech, freedom of religion, the right to bear arms, the right against unreasonable search and seizure, the right against cruel and unusual punishment, and so on.
“Working people everywhere should be on guard. The forces behind this effort to hold a constitutional convention are right-wing groups that have been working long and hard to erode our freedoms. Make no mistake. A convention of this sort will jeopardize the bedrock principles of our democracy,” AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders said.
Unlike calls by some progressive groups to amend the Constitution to improve our nation – by doing things like getting money out of politics – the right-wing drive is aimed at potentially gutting the key freedoms that make up the American character.
Thankfully, not every state is on board with this runaway, right-wing train.
This year alone, three states changed their minds over holding a constitutional convention: New Mexico, Maryland and Nevada. In every instance, people from across the political spectrum said no because they understood the threats that a runaway convention presents.
The Wisconsin Legislature is deciding whether to become the 28th state to call a constitutional convention. That will happen if 34 states say yes. There has never been a convention called to amend our nation’s founding document since the original constitutional convention in 1787.
The group spearheading this effort is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a leading advocate of right-wing causes. ALEC is also behind the “right-to-work” effort aimed at destroying collective bargaining rights at the state level.