By Lauren Minore
Rider’s chapter of Turning Point USA hosted Mark Meckler, president of the Convention of States Action, who discussed the organization’s advocacy for state legislatures to call on a Convention of States, a power granted by Article V of the U.S. Constitution on Nov. 27.
In order for states to utilize this power, applications from 34 states are required to call the convention, and approval from 38 states are required to ratify any amendments that are proposed.
In his talk, Meckler emphasized the importance of holding representatives accountable for policy-making in the nation’s capital.
“The problem is that we should not be making all of these decisions in Washington D.C.,” Meckler said. “We should not be always looking to Washington D.C. to solve everything for us. I have a lot more faith in the American people than in Washington D.C.”
If a convention is called, the states would only be allowed to propose amendments which “limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, impose fiscal restraints and place term limits on federal officials,” according to the Convention of States Action website.
Meckler assured that a call for a convention would be an opportunity to return power to the American people.
“I think the most important thing to remember is that we are not trying to reinvent the wheel,” Meckler said. “We are trying to go back to what the wheel was intended to be.”
There have been over thirty conventions in the history of the U.S. and Meckler remains hopeful that the next convention will take place in the year 2021.
“We are over one-third of the way there,” Meckler said. “Twelve states have passed this. We have a couple of states that I think there is a good chance will pass before the end of this calendar year.”
Joshua Aminov, a junior accounting major and president of Rider’s Turning Point USA chapter, was pleased with the turnout of the event, considering the controversial nature of the organization.
“During our approval process, we were unfairly ridiculed for working with neo-Nazis,” Aminov said. “We are proud that Rider [and the administration] has given us the benefit of the doubt and gave us a chance.”
Similarly, Meckler addressed the importance of fostering open dialogue on college campuses to encourage a greater sense of community.
“I think the first thing is to quit vilifying each other, this is something that really concerns me all across society but it is the worst on college campuses,” Meckler said. “[People are] called evil, Nazis, homophobes and racists for their opinions. When you do that to people, there is no possibility for dialogue, common understanding or community.”
Although he acknowledged the growing levels of polarization in America, Meckler asserted that calling a convention would provide the American people with power to create policy of their own.
“We are a divided nation. There is a lot of hatred rising in America that really worries me,” Meckler said. “We have a tool to stop that — the Convention of States — where we can get together and take power away from the federal government and get it back to the people.”
Clarification: Joshua Aminov noted that during the SGA club approval process last spring, while some suggested Turning Point worked with neo-Nazis, Aminov said that neither he nor the Rider group’s members have any connection to neo-Nazis.