Of Constitutions and Conventions

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When I was in high school (25+ years ago!), I had a history teacher with some pretty intriguing ideas about what would happen in North America.  For one, he predicted that Quebec would secede from Canada, causing the remaining Canadian provinces to seek to join the United States.  My Canadian friends can correct me if I’m wrong, but that doesn’t seem to be a strong possibility at this time.IMG_8755

Another of his predictions was that a new US civil war was coming, this time not based around race but around abortion.  He foresaw that there would be “abortion” and “life” states, just as there had been “slave” and “free” states prior to the US Civil War.

Honestly, at the time I found his predictions to be outlandish.  Another US civil war?  Preposterous!

However, events of the past few years, and particularly of the past few months, have caused me to remember my teacher’s predictions and to wonder if maybe, just maybe, he wasn’t on to something.

An “Article V Convention”

Yesterday, I saw a news story that really surprised me – the governor of Texas is calling for a Constitutional Convention of the States.  (You can find the story here.)  What does this mean?

When the US Constitution was written, the Founders created a system of checks and balances.  This is US Government 101.  Well, part of those checks and balances was investing rights, responsibilities, and powers to the individual states as well as to the Federal government.  I believe these “States Rights” were largely reduced in the aftermath of the Civil War because that was the official platform for the Confederate States.  (We can argue real vs. stated reasons for the Civil War another time.)

Today we have a situation where most of us would identify as US citizens before we identify as citizens of a particular state.  Yes, here in the melting pot of Washington, DC, you hear people declaring their connection to a particular state, but most of us are not often in such a regionally diverse environment.  We are Americans first and New Yorkers, Californians, Nebraskans, etc., second.

Texas has always been different.

Today Texas is taking a stand against “Federal overreach,” against the Federal government infringing upon Texas state-centric interests.

The question I’m left with today is whether this is the start of a new movement by States to curtail Federal power, a rise of the States so to speak, or is it the precursor to my history teacher’s predicted dissolution of the United States as we know it today.

If the convention never materializes or if it results in decisions Texas doesn’t agree with, will Texas seek to leave the US just as Britain has voted to leave the EU?  Will there be a Texit?  And what domino effect with that have? Will Texas stand alone, or will other States follow suit?

I can’t predict what will happen next, but I will be watching in the following weeks, months, and possibly years to see how this situation evolves.

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