When listening to today’s far right-wing of the Republican Party, one hears the echoes of the anti-federalist arguments of the past. Just to remind everyone, the anti-federalist were against the ratification of the Constitution.
State’s rights, and state sovereignty were arguments used to justify rejecting the Constitution, and now we hear these old discredited arguments, once again. A key anti-federalist, Brutus, understood the consequences of what it would mean to ratify the Constitution. He stated quite clearly, ” This government is to possess absolute and uncontrollable power, legislative, executive and judicial, with respect to every object to which is extends, for by the last clause of section 8 article 1st, it is declared “that the Congress shall have power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this constitution, in the government of the United States, or in any department thereof.” And by the 6th article, it is declared “that this constitution, and the laws of the United States, which shall be made un pursuance thereof, and the treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the constitution, or law of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.” It appears from these articles that there is no need for any intervention of the state governments, between the Congress and the people, to execute any one power vested in the general government, and that the constitution and laws of every state are nullified and declared void, so far as they are or shall be inconsistent with this constitution, or the laws made pursuant to it. The government then, so far as it extends is a complete one, and not a confederation.”
Brutus clearly recognized the ramifications of what a ratification would result in. He clearly and accurately stated what passage would mean to the individual states and to individual rights. Individuals such as Mark Levin quote Brutus extensively as a person from whom an argument was made that one could support state’s rights and state sovereignty, but sorry the barn door has been closed for a long time now. The majority of states ratified the Constitution and our Constitution is the law of the land.
But the current seeds of disunion continue like they did prior to the Civil War.
This December we will witness the 6th meeting of the Southern National Congress. They claim to be the voice for the Southern people to use their words. Their manifesto sounds eerily similar to other movements during difficult economic times. In their manifesto they talk about state’s rights, and state sovereignty.
They speak to the idea of preserving their cultural life and the distinctive existence of a southern way of life. They claim that they are a nation of occupied people. On one hand they ask us to “forget slavery,” but in the same paragraph they ask us to accept the fact that they do not “apologize for it.”
Along with the Tea Party they have a fear of foreigners. They fear that their way of life is threatened by the influx of illegals in the 14 states of the original Confederacy.
Their first Congress just happened to occur about a month after President Obama’s election. But there’s no racism, RIGHT! And I have a bridge for sale.
People on the right champion, the idea of finding a place to live where the rule sets and laws are different, and how individuals should have the right to live in America where they choose to, based upon some libertarian notion of individual sovereignty. The words don’t tread on me are used to describe their feelings of not wanting to have the government, our government rule over their lives. The concept of self-governing is used to give a rationale to those who would sew disunity and disunion. They claim that their personal liberty is being infringed upon. Freedom is limited when a person through their actions hurts another person. Anarchy and lawlessness can result if this abstract view of absolute freedom caught on. It is naive not to recognize because of man’s fallibility, that government and laws are needed to regulate bad behavior.
The ratification of the Constitution set forth a new nation and changed the relationship between states and our central government.
It is instructive to recall what people were saying back when the debates were taking place as to why we needed to change from a people governed by the Articles of Confederation to a Constitution. A proper perspective is needed now, due to the artful lies that are being told by so-called conservatives as to why we needed a Constitution, and why our system of checks and balances was created.
“Marcus” in his brief letter in support of the ratification of the Constitution, wrote of the self-interest involved in having a nation rather than 13 sovereign states. He spoke of how it was to the interest of merchants, farmers, landowners, public creditors, to all men of property, lawyers and others, to have a nation.
Well, the politics of personal destruction continues. Talk radio and rags like the Tea Party Tribune are on the same page each day as if someone from mount high gives them their talking points. The President continues to be portrayed as someone who is not one of us. Some people still hold on to the illusion that President Obama is from Kenya. The President is continually dehumanized and pictured as a modern-day Hitler. Since President Obama’s election in 2008, they never refer to him as President Obama they only call him Obama. They question his legitimacy, constantly.
President Obama’s mother was from Kansas, an American citizen, and the President is therefore a citizen. Hawaii went as far as breaking their own law to verify his birth place.
Perhaps, we as a people will always have racism in our country. Since the Connecticut Compromise, which allowed slavery to continue, the seeds of disunion have always existed. Thomas Jefferson once pondered if the former slave owner and the former slave could ever live together in peace.
The reality is that we are a nation and not 50 sovereign states independent of the Constitution. We are a nation of laws and we are not a theocracy.
The American people are starting to wake up to the fact that our country can not function as a nation with the level of extremism that now exists not only in Congress but in our nation.
As we approach Veterans Day, let us re-dedicate ourselves to the proposition that all men and women are created equal, endowed with certain inalienable rights and that among those rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
We are all Americans no matter what color of skin we have, or what beliefs we share. We are a nation peopled by immigrants from every country on the face of the earth, but the one thing we have in common is that we are all Americans.