All across Texas citizens are calling for a renewed commitment to the 10th amendment and a reinvigorated adherence to the principle of Federalism and the doctrine of enumerated powers.
These Texans believe they were created in the image and likeness of God and endowed by Him – not Washington, not Austin — with certain inalienable rights. They believe that governmental power properly resides, first, with the people, who then grant or delegate their power, reserve it, or prohibit its exercise. They believe the Constitution assigns the federal government specific, but limited powers, and that most government functions are left to the states. They believe the doctrine of enumerated powers is the principal line of defense against an overreaching federal government and that the Bill of Rights, added two years after the Constitution was ratified, provides further protection.They believe the principal role of government is to advance the cause of individual liberty.
For them the Constitution is not just some document. And the Tenth Amendment means something. The strength of the words, “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” cannot be overstated. They are central to determining the legitimacy of the exercise of federal power.
At the heart of conversations around water coolers, dinner tables, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Tea Parties is this simple question – by what authority is the federal government doing what it’s doing? What’s the basis for the out-of-control spending, the bank and auto bailouts, the proposed takeover of healthcare, the specter of new taxes, and the vast and unchecked expansion of federal power?
Some seem not to realize that federal tax dollars do not grow on trees or fall from the sky; they come from taxing the American people. But hard-working Americans are already taxed too much, are struggling to reduce their debt and balance their budgets, and are wondering when their elected leaders will force the federal government to do the same.
Telling the people that all federally funded programs can and must eternally increase in funding and size, and that we need more of them, like nationalized healthcare, is proposing an economically unsustainable course, which is the polite expression for what it really is, which is fiscal insanity. The American people already understand this; they want politicians who understand it, too.
Casting false and malicious aspersions of racial motives on those who are decrying today’s out-of-control federal government is plainly disingenuous, and unjustifiably incendiary.
Moreover, making such fallacious racial accusations — which we also hear in the attacks on the Tea Partiers — distracts from and trivializes the serious issues we need to face as a nation.
Never should we forget the sorry compromise made by the Framers that allowed slavery to exist or the invocation of “states rights” to promote its continuation and the reign of Jim Crow. But there is nothing in current efforts to revive the Tenth Amendment and the doctrine of enumerated powers that is intended to return to such inglorious times.
The promise of the Civil War Amendments to ensure equal rights to all can be best realized, not in opposition to federalism, but in harmony with it.