“Campaign Launched Against RI Constitutional Convention”
Citizens for Responsible Government, a coalition of Rhode Island individuals and organizations including the AFL-CIO, has launched a campaign to defeat a potential Constitutional Convention in the Ocean State.
“A Constitutional Convention is a significant threat to our civil rights,” stated coalition spokesman Pablo Rodriguez, who is also President of Latino Public Radio. “Across the country, issues like affirmative action, reproductive rights, gay rights, worker rights, senior citizen rights, and immigrant rights, have become fodder for expensive statewide campaigns mounted by well-funded, out-of-state special interests.”
George Nee, President of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO, said, “We cannot let wealthy individuals and corporations buy our Constitution. A Constitutional Convention, for all intents and purposes, puts our Constitution up for sale. In states across the country with voter initiative, deep-pocketed special interest groups and wealthy individuals are distorting issues and hijacking local campaigns. Rhode Island does not need a constitutional convention to change our governance. Constitutional changes may be done, and have been done in the past, by questions placed on the ballot by the General Assembly. A Constitutional Convention is expensive, and our money can be better spent elsewhere.”
Coalition members include RI ACLU, RI AFL-CIO, RI Alliance for Retired Americans, AFSCME, Central Falls Teachers Union, RI Commission for Human Rights, RI Commission on Occupational Safety and Health, RI Economic Progress Institute, Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals, Fuerza Laboral, Humanists of RI, IATSE Local 23, Jobs With Justice, National Association of Letter Carriers, National Council of Jewish Women RI, Providence Central Labor Council, Providence NAACP, Planned Parenthood Southern New England, RI National Association of Social Workers, RI NOW, RI Pride, RI Progressive Democrats, Secular Coalition for Rhode Island, UAW Local 7770, USW Local 16031, UWUA Local 310, UFCW Local 328, UNITE HERE, United Nurses and Allied Professionals, Warwick Teachers Union Local 915, and the Women’s Health and Education Fund.
Paula Hodges, Director of Planned Parenthood Southern New England, stated, “Women should be very concerned about a Constitutional Convention because ballot measures have been used disproportionately across the country to impact and restrict reproductive rights. The 1986 Constitutional Convention in Rhode Island quickly spiraled from ‘good government’ to abortion politics. This is not the way to debate and decide these issues.”
Jen Stevens, of Rhode Island PRIDE, stated, “One year after winning equal marriage rights through our state legislature we remember our long struggle and recognize that the same groups and individuals who opposed gay rights, and funded our opposition, will wish to play a role in a constitutional convention. Every Rhode Islander should be concerned about attempts by these same organizations to leverage a Constitutional Convention in order to roll back or stifle LGBTQ and other minority rights. A Constitutional Convention cannot provide a better alternative to our current state legislature’s ability to ensure LGBTQ rights. We are gravely concerned that those who would be elected in a small turn-out, special election will not reflect the wishes or diversity of the LGBTQ community. That is why Rhode Island Pride stands in solidarity with this coalition.”
Rodriguez stated, “While our opponents claim a constitutional convention could improve our governmental structure, we believe this is a red herring that will certainly serve as a vehicle for socially divisive amendments. Passage of a constitutional convention will lead to disastrous results for Rhode Islanders.”
Not being from RI, I’m unclear on whether or not what is being proposed is an actual state constitutional convention — that is, that it has only to do with RI’s own state Constitution — or if the objection here is to the larger trending movement to gather 2/3 of the states for a convention of the states, which is provided for in our own Constitution as a remedy to potential federal overreach and a tyranny of the centralized government, and allows for the states to draft amendments to the Constitution that could not be blocked by the federal government it is intended to rein in. That particular plan, introduced to a broader public by Mark Levin in his book The Liberty Amendments, has as its purpose to re-empower states and to allow individuals in those states to throw of fthe yoke of bureaucratic oppression and federal authoritarianism buttressed by a complicit progressive media and a growing activist judicial oligarchy.
And the reason I’m unclear is that the story itself gives no voice to any opposition: Nowhere in the piece is a spokesperson for a “Constitutional convention” represented. Nowhere in the piece do we have any idea exactly what the motivation is behind this “Constitutional convention” — save for the typical demonization of big monied outside forces looking to force their agendas on put upon Rhode Islanders (ironic, I’d say, given that the groups so clearly against the idea are the same types that cheered on as NY’s Michael Bloomberg essentially bought the Colorado Democratic Party and forced gun laws on us that we, the people, roundly rejected).
Either way, one has to ask: at what point did it become a winning proposition to actively profess your fear of the citizenry of your own state? To complain that, at the local level, those in your state may have too much control over how it is they choose to govern their own lives?
As we watch our country melt into a manipulated, racially-charged “Springer Show” episode, it’s worth asking the question: do we still believe in representative government and federalism? Are we still interested in constitutional republicanism?
Or are we really at that point where it is considered a healthy political strategy to essentially demand that we no longer have any say at all over how we’re compelled to live — that is, that we have officially turned our lives and fortunes over to the supposed enlightened whims of political animals simply because they were able to get themselves elected to national office?
It’s stories like this that frustrate and depress me to no end. And the fact that the media is complicit in this surrendering of our sovereignty to a ruling elite that they act as an appendage of makes it all the more infuriating.
Somewhere, people in tri-cornered hats and long white stockings weep into their celestial beers.
(h/t RI Red)