Tag Archives: states rights

State legislatures matter

How much do State legislatures matter these days? A lot. DC is so bogged down by its own dead weight that it can’t get anything done — that is, other than launch another useless war. So who’s solving problems at home these days? The answer, increasingly, is the people of the States through their closest representatives. The trend is so robust that even the left-leaning Salon Magazine can’t help but notice it:

If there’s one truth of divided government, it’s that the most significant legislative action often happens on the state level instead of in gridlocked Washington. While the U.S. Congress has been bogged down in a morass, state legislatures with single-party rule have been hopping. In the last few years, for instance, the Republicans who control Texas’ legislature and governorship have passed bills banning abortion after 20 weeks, tightening regulations on abortion clinics, reducing the number of required standardized tests for students, running the table on tort reform, and requiring photo ID to vote.

And just like Republicans running for federal office are expecting a wave or wavelet of sorts next week, their state-level counterparts are aiming to take control of a few more legislative chambers—potentially with substantial policy consequences.

As DC sinks into obscurity and irrelevance, power will necessarily devolve to the local level. It happened in the USSR, and it’s happening in the USSA.

The Answer to Empire

Bill Kaufman describes the problem:

We are, today, subjects of an empire, not citizens of a republic. The idea of “citizenship” has been diluted from one of membership in an organic body in which each person matters, takes part in civic affairs, to the current condition, in which you are a cog in a machine, just another brick in the wall. The role of an American citizen, as viewed by our rulers in Washington, D.C., is to pay your taxes, cast a meaningless vote every four years, and shut the hell up. You have almost—almost—no say in U.S. foreign policy. As Dick Cheney once replied when told that the vast majority of Americans wanted our soldiers home from Iraq: “So?”

And, being the brave soul that he is, Kaufman outlines a response to the problem. Anything we can do to decentralize, to devolve, to reclaim local control of our lives — since we all live locally, not globally — is a step in the right direction. The good news Kaufman seeks to share is that those of us who grasp what the great problem of our time is and have an idea about how to tackle it are no longer alone. There are a number of movements afoot coming from different directions but heading toward a similar goal:

Wendell Berry, one of our age’s sages, has noted that hopeful signs are sprouting everywhere: life-giving, life-affirming movements… everything from community-supported agriculture to homeschooling to the New Urbanism to the return of the natives that is going on all over this homesick land. People are rediscovering—reclaiming—citizenship. Berry calls this a “redemptive” movement, though he acknowledges that “in terms of standing and influence [it] is hardly a side at all. It doesn’t have a significant political presence. It is virtually unrepresented in our state and federal governments. Most of its concerns are not on the agenda of either major party.”

As I’ve noted previously, the breakup of the DC Empire is inevitable. It has already begun in the minds of its subjects. As the administration of Barack Obama has made clear to all who will see, it makes no difference which organized gang is in power. The Empire will go on dropping bombs on innocent civilians in the name of spreading democracy, subsidizing billionaires in the name of prosperity for all, and illegally spying on us in the name of protecting our liberty.

As the man said, “Every day the bucket goes down to the well. One day the bottom will drop out.”

Is there one man with a spine in Raleigh?

Apparently not. In response to a federal judge’s diktat imposing same-sex “marriage,” thereby overturning the will of the people of the state, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, speaking at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday, issued this Official Grovel:

“It’s my job to enforce the constitution of North Carolina, and the constitution of the United States for that matter. My administration will be ready to execute the law, as the courts have told us to do. Some rulings go your way, some don’t, and that is the beautiful thing about our democracy.”

Yes, Pat, it’s a beautiful thing indeed. The above picture should remind folks what they’re pledging loyalty to when they parrot the Pledge of Allegiance.