States can take control of Washington

Symbols are sometimes powerful.

Last Sunday morning, the preacher emphasized a point in his sermon by waving his Bible in the air.

It looked tattered. Well-used.

Last week, at a town hall meeting, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin emphasized a point about government by waiving a “We, the People” booklet in the air

It looked crisp. Unused.

If you’re among the many who sense that our federal government is out of control, you owe it to yourself to read “The Liberty Amendments/Restoring the American Republic” by Mark R. Levin.

It contains proposed constitutional amendments that would return us to the republic created by the Founding Fathers:

– Establish term limits for members of Congress.

– Restore the Senate. (Give state legislators the power to choose senators.)

– Establish term limits for Supreme Court Justices and Supermajority legislative override.

– Limit federal spending and taxing.

– Limit the federal bureaucracy.

– Promote free enterprise.

– Protect private property.

– Grant the states authority to directly amend the Constitution.

– Grant states authority to check Congress.

– Protect the vote.

Levin, a lawyer, author and talk-show host who does not suffer fools gladly, has tapped into the nation’s widespread discontent with the federal government.

Recent polls show that, on average, 62.2 percent of us think government is headed in the “wrong direction.” Only 29.6 percent believe it’s headed in the “right direction.”

Levin’s explanation: “What was to be a relatively innocuous federal government, operating from a defined enumeration of specific grants of power, has become an ever-present and unaccountable force. It is the nation’s largest creditor, debtor, lender, employer, consumer, contactor, grantor, property owner, tenant, insurer, health-care provider, and pension guarantor. What it does not control directly it bans or mandates by regulation.”

All three branches of government have turned wild.

Legislative: “Congress operates not as the Framers intended, but in the shadows, where it dreams up its most notorious and oppressive laws. The people are left lame-brained and dumbfounded about their representatives’ supposed good deeds.”

Executive: The president “has exercised his executive ‘discretion’ to create new law, abrogate existing laws, and generally contrive ways to exploit legal ambiguities as a means to his ends.”

Judicial: The Supreme Court has “rewritten sections of the Constitution to accommodate the vast expansion of the federal government’s micromanagement over private economic activity.” The justices also have “laced the Court’s jurisprudence with all manner of personal policy preferences relating to social, cultural and religious issues.”

The fix? The Constitution and Article V.

Levin’s discussion of Article V is the heart of the book, rich in history and documentation. He leads us through the drafting of the Constitution and allows the Framers to share their fears about creating a monster. In the end, they tried to limit the federal government’s reach and they gave the states ultimate power. Only then were the states comfortable with ratification.

The arrangement worked well for more than a hundred years, but the monster eventually began to emerge and grow into what it is today.

Enter Article V. It allows the convening of a constitutional convention upon request from legislatures in two-thirds of the states. The delegates to the convention would be selected by the states, and the president, Congress and Supreme Court would be reduced to bystanders.

That is the way forward, Levin believes, and he urges we, the people, to work with our state legislators and persuade them to call for a constitutional convention. The states then can adopt amendments that will put the federal government back in its cage.

Every American should read “The Liberty Amendments.” It’s a serious book about serious issues. And if enough people stop complaining and start acting, the federal government can be brought under control and the Constitution can be restored to something more than a prop at a town hall meeting.