Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Tenth Amendment Movement

From the 13 April 2009 Greater Niagara Newspapers

By Bob Confer

I always keep a copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution in my pocket. You could say that it’s my Bible.

It never ceases to amaze me that these documents, which clearly define what our federal government is supposed to be, can so neatly fit into a small, unobtrusive booklet. Our Founding Fathers knew full well that an oversized government would do us in. They were fearful that a federal entity of any real size would bring to American soil the very ills they tried to escape from. Before freedom was declared, Great Britain’s oppressive governance stripped them of their liberty, stifled their prosperity and robbed from them their hard-earned money. So, they carefully outlined a federal system quite small in scope, yet, at once, vast and restricted in its importance.

The founders believed that proper rule begins locally as that is the only way that power can truly be vested in the people. In their plan the state was supposed to be the most powerful ruling force, each state being, in theory, its own nation. The purpose of the federal system was limited to only three tasks: managing the unity of those states, overseeing the trade between them, and providing for their collective defense.

Much has changed since the 1700’s. My Bible has become but an afterthought. Local rule is near-powerless and the states – and therefore, we - are subjects of our federal government. Thousands of agencies and departments have sprung up over the years, each assuming ultimate power and dictating to the states and citizens what we can and cannot do. Related to that, laws and regulations created and enforced by a federal system that has become non-representative are virtually without limit, and a million documents the size of the Constitution could not contain them. It can be said that the Founding Fathers’ greatest nightmares have been realized…the USA is the Great Britain of old, and then some.

The time has come to take back our rights. We should have done that many decades ago, but now, more so than ever, it has become evident to the layman that the US has turned into a rabid beast, uncoordinated but deadly. We see the economy falling apart around us, a collapse that was based on excesses. Yet, in some perverted fashion, the government in its effort to “save” us finds it necessary to unleash unprecedented excesses in the form of trillions of dollars in loans, giveaways, spending, corporate and social welfare, and things misnamed as stimulus packages, all such tasks weakening our dollar, our economy, and our prosperity. If anything, the USA is only driving another nail into our coffin.

Before the next nail can be set, we must weaken the beast. To do so, power must be returned to us. And, there is a movement afoot to do just that. The grassroots effort called the Tenth Amendment Movement focuses on getting back to the basics of the Constitution which so succinctly and effectively says: “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.”

When you read that amendment you become aware that over the years our entire system has become unconstitutional – illegal – because of a flip in power: Rule was supposed to go from the bottom up, and, now, it goes from the top down. The Movement hopes to flip it once again.

Quite a few elected officials have seen the well-founded logic behind the Movement’s efforts to return a semblance of legality to our nation and they have introduced bills reclaiming their state’s sovereignty. Such legislation has been brought to the Capitol floor in nearly two-dozen states (New York is not one of them). In two of them victory has been achieved: Just last month, sovereignty resolutions were signed by both houses in Oklahoma and South Dakota.

It would behoove every state to follow suit and take back that which was once theirs. It is in the best interest of the people. Trillions of dollars are wasted annually on the redundancy and bloat that is the federal government and if that money were in our hands, the economy would be on the fast track to recovery. But, more important than the financial rewards of the Tenth Amendment are the rewards of Liberty that it grants us: If power was wrested from the government and put back into our hands, we’d be able to live the life we want, the life we deserve and the life our Founding Fathers had intended for us. Then, maybe, just maybe, my “Bible” might once again mean something.

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