Thursday, April 22, 2010

That troublesome Bill of Rights

A new label has sprung from the bowels of the liberal left: Tenther. A "tenther" is someone who believes that individual states should maintain most of the power to govern their respective peoples. It's not a new idea. In fact, it's that silly old Constitution that guarantees it. The tenth ammendment of your United States Constitution states:

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.

Let's put that into some simple language: The United States is to be governed by a small, limited government. The vast majority of power will exist at the state level. That means, my friends, that things like the Department of Education, Health Care, free mopeds, what have you, are to be voted upon at the state level. The federal government has far overstepped the boundaries established in the U.S. Contstitution so often that an semblence to the actual United States of America is purely coincadental.

You don't agree? Let's try taking that nasty old tenth ammendment apart. Remember these fun "skill builders" from 5th grade English?

"The powers NOT DELEGATED to the United States by the Constitution," That means, kids, that this amendment refers to everything, and I do mean everything, not mentioned in our 4 page Constitution. Specifically, Article 1, section 8. If the Constitution doesn't grant the power to the federal government, they don't just get to make one up under the guise of providing for the "good and welfare" of the general public. It's interesting to note here that our founders felt so strongly about limiting the powers of the central government that they felt the need to write an amendment to support what was already made clear in the original document. Apparently, it takes at least three documents to convince our current leadership.

"nor prohibited by it to the States," Unless the Constitution spefically prohibits something from the individual states, it's fair game. For the states, not the federal government.

"are RESERVED TO THE STATES respectively, or to the PEOPLE." Say, that's us! If we put the first and last part together and paraphrase, the tenth amendment says:

Any power not granted to the United States government by the Constitution may only be taken up by the individual state governments. 

The U.S. Constitution still exists as one the most endearing governing documents in human history. The men who wrote it were all too familiar with governments that grew out of control and, in essence, reduced their masses to servants of the government, instead of the other way around.

The founders of this nation established the levels of government from a "bottom up" viewpoint. The majority of the power would remain at the state and local level. That way, we could never end up with a system in which 300 million people were governed by a few. Because the founders understood the nature of men, they understood all too well the disaster of that scenario. Even if the current administration doesn't abuse the power it has granted itself, it has created the environment for such abuse to exist. Unless every President from this point forward is the absolute picture of morality, we're leaving the door to the hen house wide open. It only takes one fox.

Someone is taking issue...ah, you there in the back row. Yes? I see. The comment is that our nation today does not resemble that of the loosely scattered colonies to which our founders drafted the Constitution. At that time, each state had different economies, a different societal make-up, specific needs. Very true. No doubt, today's America is much more homogeneous than the America of the late eighteenth century. Clearly, back then, it would have been prudent to allow each state to master its own destiny.

The founders, however, weren't only concerned with maintaining socio-economic make-up of each state. By the way, I would argue that there are still large differences between the individual states today. If that statement is wrong, then we have no use for state level governments. 

What the founders understood better than most, like I've stated, is the nature of man. Those in power will invariably believe that their's is the only possible solution, and will take whatever steps necessary to maintain their position. We're not talking vicious dictators here. Those in power honestly believe they are doing the right thing, and will argue passionately their cause. In order to achieve those high levels of office, they must be well-spoken, charismatic, and convincing. This is why their power must be held strictly to what the Constitution allows. George Washington said that "we are not a nation of men, we are a nation of laws." The laws penned in the Constitution establish a solid foundation on which this country continues to stand. Today, we're chiseling away at that foundation. 

What, exactly, do we plan on replacing it with?

Check out the Constitution and other founding documents here.

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