States rights is the rally cry raised by 19 states currently suing the federal government. The states are suing over new federal provisions that mandate citizens to purchase health care insurance with proscribed minimum benefits, chosen from plans offered by private companies. The mandate egregiously violates the rights of citizens of their states, the 19 claim. The federal mandate infringes on individual liberties, grabs power, takes a step toward socialism, and tramples on the Constitution’s guarantees.
This tension between individual rights and government actions finds a philosophical and practical home in the Tea Party movement. More engaged currently in mass rallies and sloganeering than in developing detailed policies on issues of their concern, the Tea Party mantra is the Constitution, which they see as limiting government. The Tea Party plans to work to elect members who support their views of government and the Constitution.
- Gov. Mike Rounds of South Dakota, a Republican, signed a bill declaring that the federal regulation of firearms is invalid if a weapon is made and used in South Dakota.
- Wyoming’s governor, Dave Freudenthal, a Democrat, signed a similar bill.
- Oklahoma’s House of Representatives approved a resolution for a vote on a state constitutional amendment allowing its citizens to opt out of federal health care reform. Louisiana is considering similar legislation.
- Utah lawmakers declared health care reform could not carried out in Utah without legislative approval and declared state authority to take federal lands under eminent domain. A resolution asserted the “inviolable sovereignty of the State of Utah under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution.” Utah also passed a bill that declared federal law enforcement authority, even on federal lands, can be limited by the state.
- Alabama, Tennessee and Washington are considering bills or constitutional amendments that would assert local police powers to be supreme over federal authority.
Other examples: In Minnesota, the first state to send volunteers to defend the Union in 1861, 3 officials have introduced legislation requiring a two-thirds approval before any federal law can be implemented in the state.
Abortion rights are also being abridged and amended in a number of states, in the face of countervailing federal authority.
This is not a grandstand charge, but put forth thoughtfully, with careful considerations of the Virgina resolution and SC’s John C. Calhoun’s US Senate speeches, among other arguments made in our nation’s history. Nor is it made with harsh words, acrimony, or slogans; or without cited examples and evidence.
In a resolute struggle of the good against evil, there are, however, definite rules that must not be disregarded, if it is to succeed. First, resolution must be based on a union of strength and friendliness. Second, a compromise with evil is not possible; evil must under all circumstances be openly discredited. Nor must our own passions and shortcomings be glossed over. Third, the struggle must not be carried on by force. If evil is branded, it thinks of weapons, and if we do it the favor of fighting against it blow for blow, we lose in the end because thus we ourselves get entangled in hatred and passion. Therefore it is important to begin at home, to be on guard in our own persons against the faults we have branded. In this way, finding no opponent, the sharp edges of the weapons of evil become dulled. For the same reasons we should not combat our own faults directly. As long as we wrestle with them, they continue victorious. Finally, the best way to fight evil is to make energetic progress in the good.
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(Photos: US Constitution, Constitutional Hall, Utah Legislative Hall; fair use.)
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