Lanterns: How To Drain the Swamp Without Washington DC Getting Involved


How To Drain the Swamp Without Washington DC Getting Involved

We can Drain the Swamp without Washington DC getting involved. It’s true.


”Drain the swamp,” was a fantastic campaign slogan which captured the nation's imagination. At this point in his Presidency, it's probably not fair to expect much progress in that direction, and we can all agree, Trump has his work cut out for him. I don’t understand why so many Republicans are incensed that Liberals are throwing up roadblocks in all directions? It's their job and should come as no surprise. It was our representative's job for the last eight years, but they just didn’t do it.

Checks and balances outlined in the Constitution prevent one administration from pushing forward mountains of legislation. To safeguard against tyranny, government requires an almost constant state of gridlock.

We don’t want or need to cancel any present checks and balances; we need to enact additional limits to deal with things our representatives have screwed up as we sat by and allowed them. There are already provisions within the document to amend the Constitution. First, we can amend it through Congress, but it’s most unlikely they’d vote to abdicate their power. Secondly, an Article V Convention may convene if two-thirds of the states vote for it—  a difficult but not impossible threshold to reach, and as such, a last resort to halt runaway federal overreach.

No Respect, I Tell Ya….


Now, if the crux of the problem is government’s blatant disregard for Constitutional Law, why are we to expect renewed respect for the law after an Article V Convention? After all, the Constitution is one of the most perfect documents the world has seen. Changing it, thinking our current representatives could improve upon it, is ridiculous. They show no predilection to genius or excellence.

Nevertheless, I am a strong advocate for a convention. The country’s representatives require additional boundaries, and a strong message: “Get on the ball, or get out.”

Though few ideas actually hold the prospect of relief from government tyranny, I suggest three Amendments receive a Convention vote: Term Limits, a Balanced Budget, and One Line-Item Congressional floor votes. I’ve addressed an additional change, A Digital Congress, separately.

Thank You, Sir, May I Please Have Another…  


Term limits mean the periodic infusion of new blood and new ideas. Our Constitution calls for citizen government, for representatives to briefly set aside their careers to serve the public’s interest. They’re to return to their families, communities, and careers afterward.

Currently, they can push through a fat pork project for their state, and for all intents and purposes, their job is done. This is our fault. We are lazy and want someone else to deal with government. The public isn’t paying attention and has no real expectation of success from their legislators. Some vote, and then have no interest until the next election. Many never cast a vote. It’s incomprehensible, with such precipitous approval ratings, we elect them back in at the rate of 93% when re-election comes around. They’ll enjoy the perks of the job as long as they can, of course.

Trust Congress With The Checkbook? Surely, You Jest…


A Balanced Budget Amendment has become a necessity because, again, legislators have no incentive to roll up their sleeves. They’re doing great with expense accounts, pensions, and incentives. We’re hurting, and we’re paying the bills. I pray for the government to shut down during “debt ceiling crisis,” when only “non-essential” offices are affected. Why in the world does the government have “non-essential” employees and “non-essential” offices? Because the federal government has its hands in everybody’s cookie jars. Anything non-essential is superfluous and should be handled at the state or local level. Many problems exist because the roiling mess that is DC is so gargantuan.  It’s become impossible to locate fraud, much less determine the cost. Do any of them care why a toilet seat costs $1000, or how many dead people are collecting Social Security…and voting? We can only hope a Balanced Budget Amendment would keep federal spending “within the lines.”

No More Bait and Switch...


One Line-Item Congressional floor votes: now, this sounds daunting, but it’s simple. By the time a Bill gets to the floor for a vote, it’s been loaded with pork. Pork is a nonsensical or unnecessary project added to a bill, usually in exchange for a vote on another bill. There’s lots of wheeling and dealing going on in DC between our legislators and their “friends across the aisle.” Pork can literally take a bill costing in the thousands of dollars, to one costing millions, even billions of taxpayer money by the time it gets a vote. Many times, this Senator or that Congresswoman votes “No” on a seemingly essential bill. When this occurs, you can bet the bill is pork-laden. Looking at a representative’s voting record tells only part of the story. Allowing bills to come up for a vote with a single line item, would cut Pork like nobody’s business, freeing the money for other eventualities.

These basic changes would make a difference if we have the spine to keep pushing. The legislature doesn’t want these Amendments, which would certainly and forcefully change the status quo in the nation’s capital. The risks are far less than some would have us believe. Some are dead set against Article V. I’ve read their arguments and find they don’t hold much water. In fact, I was greatly encouraged by a mock Convention held last summer. They were able to accomplish much more than I expected.

Sure the politicians are all screaming to change the status quo, but we can do it without them. This is our government, and it’s up to us to call the shots.


Written by Julie Custer

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