As most of you know . . .
The vast majority of Americans is concerned about the future of their democracy—and is unsure of how to organize a respectful, honest and fact-based national discussion that results in some valuable upgrades over a short period of time.
While Article V of the U.S. Constitution does provide an avenue, it’s never been used because of various concerns.
So as a semi-retired corporate and trial attorney, university professor and mediator, I assigned to myself the role of:
- Making the Article V convention process workable
- Ensuring the process is open, fair, and democratic, and
- Having the process produce highly popular and valuable results in short order.
Now I’d like to share the results of my journey with you—and respectfully request your assistance as follows.
1. American Concerns
First, I looked to the national polls to begin identifying the concerns most Americans had with their government and political process. Interestingly, most of the concerns boiled down to a single thing: a profound lack of trust or confidence in the media and the political process. The survey results were striking. Approximately:
- 9 out of 10 Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing (86%).
- 9 out of 10 Americans believe they received false or misleading campaign information (90%).
- 4 out of 5 Americans are dissatisfied with the nation’s political system (78%).
- 4 out of 5 Americans believe lobbyists bribe members of Congress (81%).
- 2 out of 3 Americans believe members of Congress give priority to special interests before their own constituents (66%). 
- 2 out of 3 Americans believe they cannot trust members of Congress to tell the truth (65%).
- 3 out 5 of Americans have little or no trust in the media reporting the news fully, fairly and accurately (57%).
- See more polling results.
2. Avenues to Strengthen the Democracy
Second, I looked to the four legal avenues available to the people to strengthen their democracy:
- Elections – Electing new people to office (ala The Tea Party).
- Protest – Taking to the streets (ala The Occupy Movement).
- Congress – Asking Congress to make the changes (Lobbying).
- Amending the Constitution – Proposals accepted by 75% of the state legislatures/conventions.
It was pretty clear that the results of the first three options—elections, protests and Congress—were mixed and unreliable. So I began looking into the fourth option—amending the Constitution.
As an attorney who’s drafted numerous documents establishing businesses, trusts and other organizations, I had no difficulty in considering amendments to the Constitution especially since a lack of trust goes to the very heart and viability of a democracy itself. Indeed, as with any organization, strengthening the fundamental core document (in this case, the Constitution) is by far the most effective and permanent way for the participants to create for themselves more trust.
3. Support for Amending the Constitution
Third, I began looking into whether Americans were willing to step forward and strengthen their constitution, if necessary, and I found:
- Frequency – The constitution had already been amended on average once every eight years—and the last two amendments were twenty-one and forty-two years ago.
- Time – It typically takes an average of 1.7 years to secure the support of 75% of the states to ratify a proposed amendment—and the 26th amendment in 1970 was ratified in less than four months.
- Sources – While Congress proposed 27 of the 27 amendments, The People themselves had never proposed an amendment themselves by way of an Article V convention.
- Term Limits – Almost 4 out of 5 Americans already support term limits for Congress (78%).
- Balanced Budget – Almost 3 out of 4 Americans already support a balanced budget amendment (74%).
- Campaign Financing – Almost 3 out of 5 Americans already support an amendment on campaign financing (62%).
4. Making the Article V Convention Workable
Fourth, since restoring the people’s constitutional right to bypass Congress, get together and explore proposals to strengthen the democracy themselves seemed to be just what was needed, I began researching what it would take to make the Article V convention process workable.
Finally, after considerable proprietary legal research, meeting with constitutional law experts, and using some creative lawyering, I’m convinced I’ve created a reliable way:
- To make the Article V convention process workable
- To ensure the process is open, fair, and democratic, and
- To have the process produce highly popular and valuable results in short order.
For you non-attorneys, making an Article V convention workable is a very big deal and I expect there will be those that will want to undermine the process or steal the proposal. Therefore, for those reasons, I won’t be publicly disclosing the exact process, except to prospective funders, until all funding has been secured.
5. What’s Next: Funding
What YOU CAN DO now that would be really helpful is assist me is identifying and scheduling meetings with prospective funders—and I ask that you forward this communication to anyone you think may be interested.
Finally, it’s very important to secure adequate funding by the end of June so we can use the current political campaigns as catalysts in producing significant and valuable results by the end of this year.
I look forward to your questions and recommendations.
Blair C. Henry JD, Executive Director
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