03.31.2009 0

Forgetting what the S Stands For

  • On: 04/15/2009 09:45:25
  • In: Federalism
  • By William Warren

    Oftentimes, those high atop the federal monolith forget what the “S” in “USA” stands for. Or perhaps they regard the letter with flippancy or triviality. Or, even disdain.

    Fortunately, many across the “fruited plain” are now standing up to defend what is arguably the most important letter of world’s most important acronym.

    As ALG News Bureau has previously reported, a growing number of states are raising their voices to reaffirm their sovereignty under the 10th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. As the crucial—yet rued and ravaged—amendment reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited to it by the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    In the opinion of state residents from Michigan, Washington, New Hampshire, Missouri and others, the powers exercised by the current federal government grossly exceed the powers delegated. And now another state—with a particularly iconic history of sovereignty struggles—has thrown its (in this case, cowboy) hat into the ring, challenging the ever-expansive centralized government in Washington D.C.

    The Lone Star State now has a resolution of its own—reaffirming its 10th Amendment sovereignty over powers not allocated to the federal government. HCR 50 out of the Texas legislature is yet one more resolution adding to the growing chorus of state-led dissidence that is becoming increasingly hard for Big Government advocates in Washington to ignore.

    As Texas Governor Rick Perry articulated:

    “I believe that our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state. That is why I am here today to express my unwavering support for efforts all across our country to reaffirm the states’ rights affirmed by the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I believe that returning to the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution and its essential 10th Amendment will free our state from undue regulations, and ultimately strengthen our Union.”

    To Perry and others, returning to the letter of the law—and reaffirming the aforementioned 2nd letter of “USA”—is essential for the survival of the Union. And they support their position by citing what happens when they cede ground to the federal government.

    Whether it’s in the area of federal fuel standards, federal healthcare standards, federal education standards, or federal environmental standards—or even federal food preparation and ditch-digging standards—the states are being forced to relinquish their ability to govern their own affairs in a manner they deem appropriate. Rather than letting Governor Perry’s Texan constituents to govern themselves according to Texas ideals and values, bureaucrats in Washington believe their mandates are the best fit.

    And, of course, the federal government’s one-size-fits-all dictates apply to Michiganders, Washingtonians, New Hampshirites, and Missourians as well.

    The so-called “stimulus” package is a case in point. Like making a deal with the devil, states are finding that accepting the recent infusion of billions of dollars in federal stimulus money sounds attractive—until one gets to the catch. And what a catch it is.

    The “stimulus” money provides the federal government with insurmountable leverage to dictate what the states are to do and how they are to do it. And even when so-called “fiscally conservative” governors buckle and accept the tainted money “with reservations”—such as Charlie Crist of Florida and John Huntsman of Utah—it only reaffirms the effectiveness of the federal government’s stimulus strong-arming.

    Clearly, sovereign states across the country are beginning to feel that the government takeover at the hands of Barack Obama, Tim Geithner, and the Democratic Congress has gone far enough. One by one, they are waking up and realizing that their authority as co-equal members of these United States may be the last defense against a centralized, all powerful federal government. The reassertion of the 10th amendment—borrowing the words of Lincoln—may be “the last, best hope” for the people of this nation.

    Without the States, all that remains is “U.A.”—which could one day stand for “Under Authority.”

    William Warren is a Contributing Editor of ALG News Bureau.

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