Questions & Answers

Question 1:   Why start a new conservative organization when we have so many already?
After checking the Internet, there didn't appear to be any organizations, foundations, institutes, etc., which were truly advocating a review of the constitution. (07)
Question 2:   Why no direct detailed references in your justification?
Information is so easy to obtain on the Internet and from a few American history books it seemed unnecessary. For example, the Constitution, Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers are available at, and just about as quick you can type in "Federalist Papers" on any search engine. Multiple references are given in Lex Ferenda, A Constitution Modernization with Tea Party Bullets. (07, 11)
Question 3:   Is Abe's Indignation League a political action committee?
Not in a monetary sense; at least not yet. In a moral sense it is the conscience of America and fits the PAC definition, yes.
Question 4:   How is the League financed?
It started with $1000 of personal funds in 1999 for a web site and a few office supplies. As a grassroots, personal conscience, patriotic type organization it seems improper to actively solicit donations or engage in marketing sales endeavors. If mail or e-mail gets too heavy to handle, this could change. Your letters may inspire the media for some free publicity. Promotional entrepreneurs are welcome to participate; please no copyrights. (06)
Question 5:   If efforts fail to realize a convention, does the League have future plans?
It will probably carry forward several years, the basic issues aren't going to go away. For sure, the Congress isn't likely to do much on the fundamental problems, or they would have already done so. Two dishonest Presidents in recent decades (Clinton, Nixon) do not bode well for the future unless changes are made. The Constitution renewal needs to go forward regardless of who controls the Whitehouse or Congress. The Republicans new campaign finance and accounting laws have not gone far enough. (06)
Question 6:   Isn't the task a little naive, corny and even crazy?
Hopefully not. Somebody's famous quote goes like this; "all new and different ideas were pooh-poohed and called silly when they were first introduced." In addition, numerous suggestions have been made for amendments, and even conventions, ever since the Constitution was first ratified. (07)
Question 7:   Do you need to be a member of Abe's League to sign the petition?
Question 8:   If you sign the petition are you automatically a League member?
Question 9:   What if we have a rally and/or political meeting attendance is disappointing?
So be it. At least we can tell our grandchildren we tried to make their world better, instead of just driving up the national debt for them to pay. If state governors and secretaries of state get enough letters and petitions, things will begin to happen, even if participation is slow to develop. Also, see answer to question five. (07)
Question 10:   Isn't it presumptuous to assign dates and delegate numbers to the petition?
No! Well maybe, but it's time for the people to stand up and be counted. As George Mason wrote in the Virginia Declaration of Rights in 1776; "all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; that magistrates are their trustees and servants and at all times amenable to them." That's not all, without a time table, the legislatures, notorious for dragging their feet on controversial topics, will delay the issues until the people throw up their hands (or supper) and give up. (07)
Question 11:   Can you really save $5.00 bills without disrupting the money supply? Won't business people be upset when they can't easily make change?
The object here is to keep the issue fresh in the public mind. A couple of five's, with honest Abe's picture, pined to the kitchen bulletin board, will daily remind families that their freedoms and purse are at stake. Making change may be slightly slowed, and that is good, if it reminds citizens of our problems. The effect should be no more than that of people hoarding cash for Y2K. The Treasury will print more paper money if the supply gets too low. There is no known law which says you can't urge individuals to save money.
Question 12:   What's the background of the person who wrote the justification essay?
The author was born in1933, and grew up in eastern Kansas. He spent 20 years alternating between flying and engineering jobs, including duty as a forward air controller in Vietnam and managing deployment modifications of the Minuteman missile. He taught engineering at a small mid-west university for 14 years. Now retired, he remodels old buildings and does small engineering projects.
Question 13:   Does A.I.L. have any plans to become a political party?
Not really, although if the pork in bills passed by both parties does not stop, a new third party seems reasonable. The league is envisioned as an individual citizen effort, with petitions and small group discussions, without the hoopla and expenses of a major political party. If at some later date a patriotic public figure would step forward to lead the league, or an off-shoot third party, that would be great, and might change the concept. For now it's strictly grassroots. (07)
Question 14:   How can you raise money to pay for marketing without a large organization?
You can't; as explained in the administration section, distribution depends on personal involvement in a pyramid system to reproduce and spread the petitions. Other than that, the web site will be available for those who have computers and are on the Internet. Your children may be able to download the petition and justification at school (with the teacher's permission of course). If some person of means has cash to publicize the petition in the media, please feel free to do so, but don't forget the SOS caution. States Attorney Generals' may also be involved in some States. (11)
Question 15:   What is the Abe's League take on the United States becoming involved in foreign military skirmishes?
The League has no foreign policy analysis department or intelligence sources, but was envisioned only to address the Constitution issues addressed on the petition and discussed in the justification. There are, obviously, some indirect effects if taxes and budget are limited by constitution change. You may write in suggested limits to foreign meddling on the petition. At this point, a broader basic mission seems best.
Question 16:   Where is the best place to post the petitions?
Any place with a public bulletin board is good. Truck stops are possibly the best because the drivers travel all over America. Next would be grocery stores, department stores, hardware stores and restaurants. It's necessary to recheck these locations every few days to ensure petitions are still available. Some store managers may not be overly receptive to controversial issues, so if the store policy is that they review bulletin board material before posting, you may have to convince managers of the 1st Amendment need to petition if freedom and justice are to be preserved. Some large corporate organizations may not allow petitions on their bulletin boards for fear of offending some customers. For these "money first, freedom second" firms, about all you can do is hand out petitions in the parking lot.
Question 17:   How will so many delegates get anything done?
As with most complicated problems, the different areas have to be broken down into sections and addressed by smaller groups. Sophisticated management methods are available for such tasks and are used on engineering, production and government systems.
Question 18:   The Constitution has lasted more than 200 years, how can you possibly think of changing this document?
The "Justification" painfully explains why the Constitution is not working very well. Improving the Constitution is no crime. It can be revitalized in a positive way. Even the Bible has been rewritten several times. How long must the people wait, 300 years, 400 years, when? How many grievous topics do we need? What serious tyranny beyond devious and dishonest Presidents will be necessary to inspire us to act? Do we wait for some pure treason before we lock the barn door? The Founders were not deities, America still has plenty of brilliant people who are wise and eloquent with words. In the past 200 years the world has changed more than the 1000 years before. There has been an industrial revolution, two World Wars, major communications changes, and now a radical Islamic revolution. These are certainly changes enough to warrant another look at how we do business.(07)
Question 19:   Isn't the convention time frame of four and a half months too tight a schedule?
The State legislatures work for us, we must hold their feet to the fire to get this done. With modern management methods it can be done (see Q.17). Many of the grievous issues have been previously debated in depth by Congress or state legislatures and regurgitated in several books. These data can be made available to the delegates. For example, the term limit issue was studied in Colorado. In addition, we are now in the communications age, instructions to the delegates from their State leaders don't have to be delivered by horseback as they were in the four-month convention during the 1780's. (07)
Question 20:   Who is going to lead us into the 21st century?
Generation X is going to have to pick up the ball, they have the incentive to do something before the federal government spends them and their children into the poor house.
Question 21:   Sounds like the author hates lawyers?
Not true. We can't have a system of laws and justice without lawyers. The law profession is an honorable one and we all need their knowledge from time to time. Like any other part of society there needs to be moderation, honesty and reasonableness in their activities, and some control by their peers. Ambulance chasers and unreasonable class action litigation we can do without. (07)
Question 22:   What if there is no State official to receive petitions at my State Capitol?
Slide them under the front door or by the front door of your Governor or SOS, then call them and tell him/her where they are. You could also send them an e-mail with the petition attached. (11)
Question 23:   What time of day should rallies and marches begin?
Good question. My best guess is about mid-morning or mid-afternoon, or whenever the local politicians are likely to be in the area. (07)
Question 24:   For another league symbol, how about kitchen brooms to indicate dishonest politicians should be swept out of government?
Good idea. We should go for red, white and blue everything; clothes, cars, golf bags, you name it.
Question 25:   Aren't you afraid Abe's organization might be taken over by some nut cases on the far right?
There may be a slight risk, but remember that the still silent moral majority is strong and present and not likely to let it happen. Members should emphasize this is a conservative, bipartisan, NON-VIOLENT, effort. If rowdy individuals get too vocal at the rally it might be a good idea to have a bullhorn ready to put them in their place. (11)
Question 26:   Aren't we opening Pandora 's Box--won't other, not so great, changes be made in the Constitution if a convention is held.
The risk is minimal for the progress. Only the things that need redress will get changed, not the good ones. If the convention included some weird new change, the state legislatures aren't likely to ratify it. If you are worried about the Second Amendment, don't. Given the support of the NRA and other patriotic gun owners, there isn't one in ten thousand chance it would be deleted or significantly changed. The new book, Lex Ferenda, A Constitution Modernization with Tea Party Bullets, has a full chapter on how to avoid this problem. (07, 11)
Question 27:   How did the July 1999 rally go?
Not as well as expected. Biggest problem is that very few citizens trust politicians or convention attendees to be honest enough to improve the Constitution in convention. A second major problem is (was) that an insufficient number of people have studied or understand the Constitution well enough to realize there is a serious problem. Third is the lack of publicity about the effort. Fourth is just plain apathy towards the situation claiming insufficient time to get involved.
It is a sad commentary on American politics and our society that hardly anyone trusts politicians. Perhaps a Constitution Convention should have taken place after Watergate/Nixon and before Monica gate/Clinton while the American people still had some trust in politicians. The only way to address the problem now, it seems, will be for citizens to actually write out the recommended Constitution Amendments or revisions and demand the politicians use them--similar to the Bill of Rights demands after the Constitution was originally written. Your recommended amendments should be e-mailed or post-mailed to Abe's League at the addresses in the administration section and include a justification and discussion section similar to the justification section for the petition.
As for the knowledge gap, the methods voiced thus far are; making sure we attend school board meetings and insist that the Constitution is thoroughly taught in grammar and high schools, with hopes that the discussion and homework there from will filter down into the homes of America. The second method is the continuing letter writing campaign to local newspapers on subjects related to the Constitution renewal effort and mentioning the Constitution in letters on other issues until people become interested and concerned about their freedoms and liberties.
The apathy problem is tougher to crack and persons in this category probably don't vote or seldom read the newspaper. Only personal contacts are likely to have much effect on them. Your suggestions and ideas are welcome. Highway signs, grocery/department store posters, and TV ads are some ways to reach these citizens, but very expensive for an organization with no budget. (07)
Question 28:   Why do you shoot the effort in the foot by challenging the control of the media by liberal corporations? Doesn't this cause the media to ignore the problem and Abe's League?
Much mashing and grinding of teeth went into this decision (item 10 on the petition). The overriding consensus at the time seemed to be that Abe's League should be straight forward, above board and honest in all endeavors, even at the cost of some publicity. A second reason is the fact that the three major newspapers in South Dakota are all owned and controlled by out-of-state corporations, albeit with editors who are reasonably in tune with their constituents. In retrospect, without some press support, the effort will be very difficult to publicize. The item could be replaced with others. What do you think?
Question 29:   Who is going to write new Constitution Amendments if this is the only way to go?
You are! Citizens will have to become experts in the problem areas through library and Internet research and come up with reasonable words that a two-thirds majority will buy. Retired persons with experience in the basic subjects are the most likely to excel in writing amendments, but there is no reason we all can't contribute. (07)
Question 30:   Doesn't the League need money to do all the things proposed?
The beauty of the Internet is that you really don't need much money to reach a lot of people, provided the search engine managers will carry your site. A pure democracy may be closer than we think and Al Gore may rue the day he invented the Internet!
Question 31:   Doesn't seem to be much improvement since 1999?
Several books have been written but then on the negative side we have the financial crash of 2008 that was forecast by many authors. President Obama's election may indicate a new reason for a convention. (11)

Note: Lex Ferenda, A Constitution Modernization with Tea Party Bullets will be published in the later part of November 2011.