At any time, our country is either moving towards freedom or towards tyranny; Towards the founding American ideals or away from them; Towards the idea that we are all created equal and endowed with the natural rights to life, liberty and property or away from that idea. Sadly, throughout my life, government has grown and freedom has diminished. This is unsustainable, but no matter who wins the Nov. 6 election, expect the trend to continue. Our main problem is structural, not electoral.

The Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution says that powers which were not delegated to the federal government were reserved for the states and the people. This codified systematic checks into a design which James Madison referred to as a “compound republic”. As most know, the executive, legislative, and judicial branches were intended to check each other inside the federal government. Less known is that the states, the people, and the federal government were intended to act as checks on each other when one seized a power that should be held by another.

When we blindly support politicians because of the (D)s or (R)s after their names, or when our states become financially dependent upon federal handouts (which are taken, in part, from our children), this delicate balance of power is threatened.

People say that this is the “most important election of our life times”. Maybe, but if nothing changes except the guy in the White House, then nothing is going to change. The main political lesson in America over the last 40 years is that Washington, DC, is never going to fix itself. The responsibility for fixing Washington now falls to the American people and the fifty states — and it can’t be done on just one day every four years.

Madison wrote that when the federal government assumes powers which were not delegated, the states “have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose”. To interpose — to place themselves between the federal government and the objects of its abuse. Thomas Jefferson, wrote that when undelegated powers are assumed, “a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy”. Nullification — We say, “no”, when the government tries to exercise a power without legitimacy. Rosa Parks didn’t use the word, but she understood nullification.

So go ahead and vote on November 6. Vote for President Obama or Governor Romney or one of the third party candidates. But here’s the important part. Don’t go back to sleep on November 7. If we want change, we the people must do our part to enforce the constitutional checks and balances which were established by our compound republic.

For myself, I work for freedom on days that aren’t election day by volunteering with the Tenth Amendment Center (Pennsylvania.TenthamendmentCenter.Com). What do you do?

Steve Palmer

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