I don’t know if I’ve written about it anywhere, but privately, I’ve expressed wariness of a constitutional convention. It has seemed to me that opening up the constitution at a time when the power of opposition voices has managed to fade beyond what seemed an impossible whisper is to risk a final roll. Partly by virtue of working on the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s initial analysis of the convention, and partly owing to the growing vehemence with which people are advising each other to leave the state, I’m starting to reevaluate.
As the conclusion of the Center’s analysis says:
Although it often depends whether or not they have the advantage in a given circumstance, activists on both the left and the right see the risk of direct democracy as a general principle on which to base government. However, for some issues, and at some points in history, letting the people make final decisions is appropriate, the best available option, or even absolutely necessary.
The Ocean State is at such a point in history, with many Rhode Islanders feeling that the solutions are as obvious as the problems are intractable. A constitutional convention would present an opportunity to settle some of the relevant questions.
Maybe a constitutional convention could motivate the people who understand the direction in which the state needs to head before there are just too few of us left in the state to make a difference. Maybe working around the normal, corrupted, rigged electoral system will prove that there are more of us than insiders in government and the media would have us believe.
And maybe if all of that is so much misplaced optimism, it’d be better to let the inevitable happen sooner than later. It would be clarifying, anyway, for Rhode Islanders currently agonizing over decisions about what to do with their lives and where to live.