When I think about this country, I don’t think about our current administration and the false promises it consistently shoves down our throats. And I have little to no interest in national politicians “ideas” about what the country should be.
Why you may ask?
Simple – because most of the solutions and ideas they advocate are not decisions they have the authority to make in the first place.
Now you may be saying to yourself, “But they’re doing it anyway.” You’re absolutely right, But I think if there is one thing most, if not all of us, can agree on it is the fact that nobody knows how you should live your own life better than you do!
So, if we can agree that you should be in charge of your own life, and that government has, and will continue, to operate outside its authority, what’s the solution that will keep them in check when they pervert their own power?
It’s important to understand that when the people of the several states gathered to ratify the Constitution, not only it understood that individuals were still to retain their sovereignty, but also government was in no way to become a sovereign entity. It is unarguable that the people of the states were only delegating certain enumerated powers expressly written in the document to the federal government and all others would remain with the people of the states that drafted this binding contract.
Just the idea that Article 6, in some way, is supposed to grant the federal government the power to pass any law, regulation, rule or mandate it wants is completely absurd. It makes no sense, and it doesn’t align with anything the founders said in the ratifying conventions, the federalist papers or in the Constitution itself. Not to mention the fact that common sense should tell you this would be a horrible idea.
The Constitution is completely saturated with the idea of state sovereignty. Some references include; Article 1 Section 3, Article 1 Section 8, Article 2 Section 2, Article 4, Article 5, the 9th and 10th amendments, just to name a few. We quote the Tenth Amendment frequently, for obvious reasons, but that’s because it’s plainly written and reaffirms the intent of our governing system.
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
This makes it clear that the federal government does not possess all ultimate decision-making powers.
STATES ARE PUSHING BACK
With the recent government “shutdown”, one of the first things the federal government decided to do was to close all federally funded parks. This was a strategic move to sell the idea that the federal government is desperately needed. Fortunately, what we got were states asserting themselves by keeping the parks open, and taking over the finances and operations. The Alaska Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell commented on the government’s tactics, saying the federal government was guilty of “seriously ridiculous overreach” regarding their state land. He reiterated his support for opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration and his opposition to a national oceans policy.
He also said that he would like to see a transfer of more federal land to the state, and progress on federal revenue sharing. Treadwell also said that “when dealing with the federal government, Alaska should not be afraid to invoke the Tenth Amendment, which has been used in legal challenges over state sovereignty.”
He’s absolutely right.
Why is this worth mentioning? Because as Madison advised, the governors should play a key role in state nullification. Even though Treadwell is a lieutenant governor, he’s still 2nd in command and works directly with the Alaskan governor. This is a huge step.
James Madison (the father of the constitution) had advice on how to deal with a federal government that overstep their powers. This same plan was executed along with Thomas Jefferson in the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions of 1798. His plain was basically as follows:
First – the people would get upset when the federal government usurped power it was not agreed on to be delegated.
Second – state noncompliance, since the federal government relies on state cooperation.
Next – the governors of the states would formally protest federal actions to raise awareness.
Finally – the states would use legislative devices that would solidify state law for noncompliance.
We agree with Madison’s advice at the Tenth amendment Center and believe the best way to fix Washington D.C is not by going to Washington D.C. Moves such as the states taking control of their own land and resisting unconstitutional acts at the state level are the very things Madison and Jefferson called for. The way to hold the federal government accountable is to start at the local level. This is why it’s so important that the people like Treadwell start to stand their ground and uphold the Constitution they swore an oath to.
Power has to counteract power. You can’t expect the constitution to enforce itself.