by Walt Garlington
After all the Tea Party protests and town hall meetings, the question still lingers in the minds of many Louisianans: “What can I really do to stop the policies in Washington, D. C., that seek to make the federal government all-powerful in many areas of my life and the life of my state?”
I am happy to announce the creation of the Louisiana State Sovereignty Committee (http://lassc.wordpress.com) as one answer to that pressing question. A brief aside: It is not a secession movement.The federal government, as far removed as her officials are from the citizens they serve, should have responsibility mainly for those duties that affect us generally and remotely – foreign policy or helping to resolve disputes between states – as the Framers of the U. S. Constitution intended (or so they said).
However, when the Federal Register, which contains all federal laws and regulations, exceeds 70,000 pages, disorder has entered the republic – something unnatural and foreign to the traditions of the United States.
What is the natural political order of the United States? Divided government; power close to the voters. Fisher Ames explained their benefits during Massachusetts’s ratifying convention: “A consolidation of the States would subvert the new Constitution…. The State Governments represent the wishes and feelings, and local interests of the people. They are the safeguard and ornament of the Constitution; they will protract the period of our liberties; they will afford a shelter against the abuse of power, and will be the natural avengers of our violated rights.”
To have the federal government absorb the powers and responsibilities of the state governments into itself, warned Mr. Ames and others, would be detrimental to all but the rulers of the new centralized empire and those they favor. And this we have seen developing for the last 100 years as the federal government has grown to its present morbid corpulence.
So enters the Louisiana State Sovereignty Committee (LSSC). We are Louisiana citizens organized into parish chapters dedicated to state-level action to defend the rights and authority of Louisiana and her citizens against any further encroachments upon them by the federal government.
Our main strategy is to encourage the state legislators representing any part of our respective parishes to pass legislation or amendments to Louisiana’s Constitution to protect us from harmful and unconstitutional acts of the federal government. Other actions are contemplated in the charter on the web site.
State-level action of this sort has recently resulted in a major victory: The REAL ID Act of 2005 that would have turned state drivers’ licenses into a national ID card, signed into law by Pres. Bush, was abandoned by the Obama administration earlier this year after the 24th state passed legislation refusing to comply with its provisions.
Presently the states are moving forward with other initiatives to regain self-determination for themselves and their citizens: Firearms Freedom Acts to exempt guns and ammunition made, bought, and used solely within a state’s borders from federal regulations; and state constitutional amendments to exempt a state’s citizens from any socialized medical plan that is passed by the federal government – to name two.
None of this is novel. During roughly the first 75 years under the U. S. Constitution, states from all sections of the Union nullified federal measures they deemed unconstitutional – sometimes by quietly ignoring them; other times by energetically opposing them.
I invite everyone to become acquainted with this seldom mentioned part of our history. J. J. Kilpatrick has produced the best chronicle I have found in his book The Sovereign States (free HTML copy available at http://sovereignstates.org/books/The_Sovereign_States/SovStates_Contents.html). Forrest McDonald’s book States’ Rights and the Union is also recommended.
The legislators of the Virginia Assembly in 1790 declared themselves “guardians … of the rights and interests of their constituents, … sentinels placed by them over the ministers of the Federal Government,” determined “to shield [their constituents’ liberty] from [the Federal Government’s] encroachments, or at least to sound the alarm when it is threatened with invasion….”
The LSSC desires Louisiana’s legislators, and all of our state’s elected and appointed officials, to wear again the mantle of Guardian and Sentinel. I hope you will join us today in pursuing that goal at http://lassc.wordpress.com.