- The Washington Times - Friday, December 14, 2012

We finally have reached a time in our history when our Constitution may well need serious changes, and it will be up to the citizens to start the process.

After the November elections, people started signing petitions to have their states secede from the United States. There are few methods short of another civil war through which this can be done, but our forefathers gave us one way that does not require either war or Congress to pass any laws: a constitutional convention.

The U.S. Constitution requires two-thirds of the states, a total of 34, to pass a law calling for a constitutional convention. If 34 states called for a convention, representatives from each state would convene to propose changes or offer new amendments to the Constitution.

Here is where I would start if I could amend the U.S. Constitution: Require a balanced budget except in times of a war declared by Congress, impose term limits of six years for senators, four years for House members, and 20 years for Supreme Court justices. In addition, only U.S. citizens or persons actively seeking U.S. citizenship through legal channels would be afforded protection by the Constitution.

The Constitution starts off with the words “We, the people of the United States.” If the citizens of this country want change, they should take those words to heart.

JOHN SHEELY

Martinsburg, W.Va.