Webster’s defines “governor” in two ways:There is the governor in an engine, which controls (limits) the engine’s speed so that it doesn’t burn itself up. And there is the other, more commonly known use of the term governor, which is that of a political appointee.who heads up a state or region; a state in our system of government.
In the latter definition, the governor is like the CEO of a state. Governors have the duties and responsibilities that are granted by their state’s constitution. They also swear an oath to the U.S. Constitution, which was created by the states to do those things that were better tackled by a body that is beholden to the states–its collective boss. Those duties are spelled out in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.
A state’s governor is the state’s primary representative or emissary to other states, the federal government, and to other nations when trade is involved. Governors have a lot on their plates as they attend legislative sessions, attend governors conferences, attend miscellaneous functions, tour disaster areas (and then present an open hand to the federal government), etcetera.
With all of that, there is one thing that is largely missing from the plates from almost all of the U.S. governors: the protection of the people they represent from an overreaching federal government. I realize that governors’ hands are largely tied by their duties, but there is still one big thing that they can do without fear of a legal hassle, and that is to speak out loudly and often against unconstitutional federal incursions against their state.
Sadly, too many governors either do not acknowledge these incursions, or they do not want to bite the hand that feeds them. (They certainly don’t mind getting slapped by the same hand.) In either case, the Constitution be damned. But these governors need to speak up. They need to act as governors in the mechanical sense and control the federal government so that it does not burn up and burn up the states in the process. The way things are, they really have no choice–even if they don’t respect the same Constitution to which they swore an oath.
There is also the moral responsibility that governors bear to the citizens of their state. The federal government, acting way outside its Constitutional shackles, tells people what kind of lightbulb, toilet, glass, et cetera that they can buy and install, what type and color of uniform they can wear in certain jobs, and what they can’t do with their own land. It also tells them that they have to purchase health insurance or pay a fine. I know I’m leaving out a lot, but I’ve made the point that these mandates all fall outside of the tasks spelled out in Article 1, Section 8.
Governors’ (indeed practically all politicians) moral culpability also extends to the oath they swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution, and which most brazenly ignore. Apparently, this oath is useless and is for ceremony only. It is too bad that the same import isn’t attached to it as is attached to the oath one takes in the courtroom. If that were the case in practice, we’d have a much leaner federal government and a much happier and less dependent, citizenry.
As citizens of the various United States, let’s utilize our governors as necessary governors in today’s political machinery. We can do that by periodically e-mailing or calling them–or at least their staff–to voice our concerns and lend our support of any actions that they take that will push back against an encroaching federal government. Let’s be governors ourselves.
Where have all the gov’nors gone indeed. Long time passes.