Submit or Triumph

by Mark Meckler and Rita Dunaway

When Americans think of Montana, they think of “Big Sky Country.” They think of majestic mountains, rugged beauty—and citizens who have such a hunger for freedom and independence that they would gladly give up the luxuries of a more temperate climate or gentler terrain to experience the satisfaction of self-reliance and self-governance.

While most Americans today still celebrate the concept of liberty, most neither appreciate nor enjoy freedom in the way envisioned by those who signed the Declaration of Independence at our nation’s founding.

The revolutionary vision was a nation whose government would protect the natural, unalienable rights of the people, keep us safe from foreign and domestic enemies, and provide the most basic systems and structures necessary to an ordered society. But beyond that, our government was designed to leave us free to flourish.

To prosper by means of hard work. To better our own position in society through education. To provide for the needs of our own families by the work of our own hands, and, as we have opportunity, to also provide for the needs of those around us who are unable to work hard themselves. To pursue Truth through an open, uninhibited exchange of ideas. To worship according to the dictates of our own consciences, without sacrificing our livelihood on account of our beliefs. To bear arms. To experiment with public policy at the state and local government levels, where our representatives are most responsive to our needs and desires.

Our national government, in particular, was strictly limited to performing a handful of very specific functions listed in the Constitution. All other powers were reserved the states or the people.

Thomas Jefferson described the basic plan this way:

“The true theory of our Constitution is surely the wisest and best, that the states are independent as to everything within themselves, and united as to everything respecting foreign nations. Let the general government be reduced to foreign concerns only, and let our affairs be disentangled from those of all other nations, except as to commerce, which the merchants will manage the better, the more they are left free to manage for themselves, and our general government may be reduced to a very simple organization, and a very inexpensive one; a few plain duties to be performed by a few servants.”
Sadly, many modern Americans are all too eager to trade their birthright—the birthright of liberty—for a drastically different kind of government. And Washington, D.C., has been all too willing to oblige, achieving a fundamental transformation in the role, size, and reach of the national government by creatively “interpreting” its constitutional powers.

What we have today is a national government that assumes responsibility for our basic human needs, hijacks state governments to “regulate” productive industries out of existence in pursuit of illegitimate national policies, orders states to license “love” between individuals, and is hard at work to engineer “income equality” for us all.

While this government may be well-suited to a people incapable of governing themselves, it is no government for the sons and daughters of Liberty.

That’s why you need to know about the Convention of States Project, an actual plan to use the constitutional power given to the states to rein in an out-of-control national government.
That’s right; Article V outlines the states’ sole but sufficient process for directly asserting their collective sovereignty over federal actions. When 34 states agree to do this, they can trigger a meeting of state delegations charged with drafting amendment proposals to settle pressing issues of government at a constitutional level. Any proposals that are approved by a majority of states at the convention are then submitted to the states for ratification. They only become part of the Constitution upon approval by 38 states.
The Convention of States Project’s goal is to trigger an Article V convention with the limited agenda of proposing amendments to restrain federal power. Twelve states have already submitted their applications for the convention, and Montana needs to follow suit.

After the Boston Tea Party, King George reportedly said, “The die is now cast. The colonies must either submit or triumph.” We know how that battle ended—the colonies triumphed because they had the courage to fight for the worthy cause of liberty and self-governance.

Now it is time for the states to triumph, again, by standing their ground over the constitutionally illegitimate acts of an imperious national government. For the choices are only two: triumph, or submit.

If Montana is, as we believe, a place where the people’s love of freedom is as big as the blue Montana sky, ask your state legislator to support the Convention of States Project resolution and add Montana to the list of 12 states that have already applied. To learn more, visit

Mark Meckler is President of Citizens for Self-Governance. Rita Dunaway is National Legislative Strategist for the Convention of States Project.

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