cross-posted from the Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center

On the heels of the passage of the Tennessee Health Freedom Act last year, Governor Haslam and the Tennessee General Assembly continue their quiet work spearheading the backdoor implementation of Obamacare in Tennessee.

Bills like HB2839 by Rep. Charles Sargent have been introduced into the legislature, designed to build the exchanges required to comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. While the bill was withdrawn today from the Tennessee General Assembly due to protest, this is still a sobering reality check with regards to the strength of will and character of our state government (or lack thereof).

In fact, Governor Bill Haslam has even accepted money from the federal government to build the health care exchange.

One of my colleagues in the liberty movement here in Tennessee sent me a copy of an e-mail thread between him and one of our Republican state legislators who casts himself as a proponent of liberty in regards to the exchanges. The legislator states:

Currently the state has received funds so as to begin the process of implementing a state run health insurance exchange. This does not commit TN to implementing the program.

Regarding the health insurance exchange, the states must either implement an exchange that is answerable to, and run by, Tennessee. If Tennessee does not implement this the the [sic] feds will come into our state and set this up for us. The feds will run this program and it will not answer to Tennessee or our citizens. [Name removed], your thoughts on this decision are welcomed, but it seem [sic] logical to me that TN should set this up not the feds.

So, let’s translate this e-mail into elementary school playground vernacular, shall we?

Feddy, the Playground Bully: Hey dogmeat, you better give me all your lunch money, every day, forever and ever, or else.

Little Billy Legislator: Well, I don’t agree that you have the power to take my lunch money. So instead I am going to protest by setting up and administering a brand new bureaucracy whereby my lunch money will be distributed to you on a daily basis. That way I am in control, not you.

Feddy, the Playground Bully: Whatever dogmeat. As long as I get my money I don’t care what you call it. But if I don’t get my money, I will beat you to a pulp. (Walks away)

Little Billy Legislator: (under his breath) Ha ha, I just stuck it to him didn’t I?

Our “fearless” Little Billy Legislator isn’t doing so hot, is he?

He’s patting himself on the back for standing up to the bully by … shocker … doing exactly what the bully wanted.

Unfortunately our real legislators here in Tennessee seem quite content to do the same. They are quite happy to puff out their chests and claim that they’ve stood up to the federal behemoth by doing exactly what the government wanted.

Some logic, huh?

James Madison, the Father of the Constitution and the author of the Virginia Resolution of 1798, had a different take on the role of the state legislature with regards to dealing with the federal playground bully.

“That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact, to which the states are parties; as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting the compact; as no further valid that they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact; and that in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.” – James Madison, Virginia Resolution of 1798

It is clear from James Madison’s statements that the Tennessee General Assembly and Governor Haslam have both the power and the duty to nullify the unconstitutional acts of the federal government and arrest the progress of these acts by refusing to comply. Quite simply, they must interpose themselves between the federal government and Tennesseans and do what any self respecting 2-year-old would do and say, “NO!”

Our legislators took an oath to uphold the Constitution, and it’s high time they started taking it seriously – starting with Obamacare. It is becoming clear that they are moving forward with the implementation of Obamacare, and that the vast majority of our legislators and our governor do not have the intestinal fortitude of a 2-year-old, much less the guts to uphold their sworn oath of office.

So what can we do?

We the people of Tennessee must demand that our state legislators and our governor take a REAL stand against the evil being forced on us by the federal playground bully. There is no more time or room for games. Enough is enough. If they refuse to uphold their oath of office and do what is right, then we need to work incredibly hard to make sure that they are not re-elected to office.

It is time for the Tennessee General Assembly to take a cue from Nancy Reagan, wife of revered Republican icon President Ronald Reagan – not to mention every 2-year-old who has ever walked the face of the earth – and “Just Say No!”

Lesley Swann

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